Teachers Training in New Way for Upcoming Year

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WAYNESBORO, Va. (WHSV) -- If you haven't started already, you're probably getting your kids ready for school.

Meanwhile, some teachers in Staunton, Waynesboro and Augusta County are getting ready with a new game plan for the upcoming year. Call it a new twist on these teachers' lesson plans.

"Most kids don't want to sit at a desk and listen to somebody talk to them," said Michael Freeman, the physical education teacher at Berkeley Glenn Elementary School.

Enter SPARK abc's, a new pilot program at North River, Bessie Weller and Berkeley Glenn elementary schools.

Teachers from the three schools are trained on ideas and equipment to get their kids active during the school day because most aren't getting enough exercise.

"Either they only get one P.E. class a week, they're not in a sport or on a team. They go home, maybe they're not riding their bike. A lot of them watch television or play a video game. So we need to find ways to bring activity back into the day, throughout it, and keep them moving," said Kara Meeks, a registered dietitian at Augusta Health.

Meeks said a needs assessment showed obesity and diabetes are a big problem in Augusta County and believes this program could help solve those problems, "We're hoping to see some healthier outcomes, some happier students, some happier teachers."

"This is a way for the teacher to be more creative, it's a way for the children to express themselves in a different way and learn in a different way," said Freeman.

That different way hoping to get kids' feet as busy as their brains this school year.

Meeks said while the focus this year will be physical activity, in the future, they look to branch out and add nutritional components to the program as well and possibly expand to more schools.