April, 2014                                                               The CATCH Programs
Welcome from CATCH USA!
A Busy Month for CATCH

It seems the closer we get to the end of the school year the more CATCH heats up! We have stories on new CATCH designed schools (yes, no joke), CATCH around the world, Shannon Health and Wellness and CATCH at this year's AAHPERD.

We also have a 5 question survey we would like everyone to participate in to get your feedback to help us improve all of the CATCH Programs. Click here to help us out! 


Dr. Andrew Springer and I visit a local
secondary school in Montevideo, Uruguay

I recently returned from a great trip to Montevideo, Uruguay where I worked with 20 PE teachers to help them promote and incorporate more physical activities in their schools. The training is just a part of a larger project and study called "'Activate Ya!" (Activate Yourself Already), a study designed to reduce tobacco use and promote physical activity. You can read more about this five year study funded by the National Institutes of Health in this newsletter.


As always, feel free to contact me with any questions or comments or just to let us know what's new at your school or after-school organization. We love to hear your stories. And be sure to visit CATCH USA.


Peter Cribb, National CATCH Director 


Spring is a busy time for CATCH 

AAHPERD in St Louis- Over 5,000 Health and physical education champions around the country gathered in St Louis  April 1-5, and the CATCH Team was thrilled to be there! Local CATCH Trainer Jo Ambrose from Illinois commented, "this was a great opportunity to really see how far reaching CATCH has become.  So many CATCH school staff and CATCH partners from across the nation and the world stopped by the CATCH booth to say "hi" and share their stories of success! I really enjoyed the opportunity to re-connect with my Illinois CATCH friends, and to help further spread the word about the CATCH program to many new friends I made at the conference".

The CATCH Team in St. Louis!
A highlight of the convention was meeting the OASIS CATCH Healthy Habits Team. CATCH Healthy Habits is an inter-generational adaptation of CATCH, which encourages children (grades K-5) to increase physical activity and improve nutrition. Activities are led by adult volunteers in place of paid staff in after-school settings, and they are currently in 19 cities and 15 states. Read more about OASIS volunteers and sisters, Evelyn and Rose, CATCH Champions and AAHPERD session leaders from St. Louis...It was great meeting you! 


$19,000.00 Per Child

Childhood obesity comes with an estimated price tag of $19,000 per child when comparing lifetime medical costs to those of a normal weight child, according to an analysis led by researchers at the Duke Global Health Institute and Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore. This recent study supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation makes us realize even more that CATCH, at an annual cost of around $9 per child is a pretty good bargain. To read more about this recent study please visit the Duke Global Health website.  

Last Week to Apply 

This is the last week for schools to apply for the 2014 -2015 School Grants for Healthy Kids. The grants, funded by partners CSX Transportation, Kellogg Company, Kellogg's Company Fund (and more), range from $500 to $5,000 and are designed to help schools like John Dilbert Community School in New Orleans create or expand school breakfast programs, pilot universal breakfast programs or enhance their physical activity programs. Schools may now apply for the universal breakfast grants.  

The deadline is May 2nd and you can go here for more information and to apply online for this important funding. 


Around the country

Designing a CATCH school health environment:

From the ground up! 

Photos courtesy of CannonDesign 
Photography by James Steinkamp 

In Savoy, Illinois, there is an elementary school that was literally designed to incorporate elements of CATCH when the new replacement school building was built for Champaign Unit School District 4. A visionary concept for child health, school wellness, and innovative education. We caught up with designer Wendy Watts of CannonDesign, and the school health and wellness champions, Principal Jeff Scott, and Physical Education Coordinator, Wendy Starwalt, of Carrie Busey Elementary School (CBES).  The 63,000 square foot school on 6 acres opened in August 2012. The school houses 425 students from Kindergarten through 5th grade.


CATCH: When did the district adopt the CATCH Program and what prompted you to do so?   How did CATCH evolve as part of the school design?

CBES: We adopted CATCH in the Fall of 2009. I was prompted by a former Principal from Texas who had the program in her building.  She tipped me off that our local Public Health Dept was looking for schools who might be interested.  Of course after hearing about the program the only question in my mind was "Why wouldn't we do this?"  I presented it to the staff and they had the same response and were all on board.  Unheard of in most schools.  We took with programming throughout the school.  Everything we did had some element of CATCH embedded in it and we started to get a lot of attention for it in the community.  Our kids and their families had an overwhelming response to all the things we were able to do.  In the Fall of 2010 we are informed that we would be building a new school and would have a great deal of input.  CannonDesign spent a lot of time learning about our programming with CATCH and through some very deliberate collaboration we were able to tailor the building around health and wellness.  We are a school of choice district and our families were starting to choose us for our CATCH programming, as they saw it as an enhancement beyond the regular curriculum.


CATCH: Did the teachers and community have a "wish list" of design elements they wanted incorporated ?


CBES: We had very specific needs in the design, and CannonDesign was able to think outside of the box for us and make it happen.  I will say that we taught CannonDesign a few things about Elementary Phys Ed in the process. 


CannonDesign:  At the former school we saw CATCH being represented in the gymnasium and outdoors.  We realized this was a huge opportunity to build even more aspects of CATCH into other spaces to support the curriculum. It was very rewarding to find simple low cost ways of extending the program to other areas of the building, such as the gathering areas at each grade level.

CATCH: What are some of the unique school design features that support CATCH health and wellness messages?  


CBES: One of the things that are incorporated into the design is the flooring in the gym.  It has a bit of cushion for the little ones but also the line design on the floor is not typical. CannonDesign was accustomed to basketball lines. We need circles rectangles and other various markings all in unique colors to enhance our instruction and streamline our transitions during instruction. This increases MVPA - moderate to vigorous physical activity.


As we described to CannonDesign what the classroom aspect of CATCH looked like they came up with the idea that we would have these central pods at each grade level with sinks and student level counters to teach the CATCH nutrition curriculum.  They then added a prep kitchen that is designed so all students can be hands on cooking and prepping food.  The CATCH kitchen is indescribable.  You have to almost see it in action to believe it.


Gardens: One of our goals was to have a school garden. They designed and incorporated space for 4 big raised beds and then another large garden.  We also have a concrete slab for our garden shed of equipment.  Last year was our first CATCH garden.  We even planted sweet corn that we harvested in the fall and our 4th graders cooked for lunch in September.


Sound System: A mic system and wireless music system with an airport just for CATCH implementation.  Music is a big part of the PA program.


Taste testing with food service so kids have input into the menu. 


CannonDesign: Running club was also a long standing part of their culture during recess.  We worked a path into the play area as the site plan was being developed.   Seeing what the school has done with their multipurpose space is really inspiring.  We are thankful that the gymnasium has the ability to open up to the Dining/Commons space via a large movable motorized wall.  This multipurpose gives them ample room for endless physical movement group events.  Having  the Art and Music rooms directly adjacent to this Commons space extend the ways that those rooms can be used as well.  I'm sure this space will evolve as they come up with new ideas to add to the program.   


CATCH: How often do students get to use these aspects? 


CBES: All students get to use all of these elements on a regular basis.  We rotate using the prep kitchen,  every class has an aspect of the garden that they are responsible for. The gym is used from iMove club at 7:30 AM before school all the way throughout the day.

CATCH: Describe notable changes since implementing CATCH and how you know CATCH is working in the new building.


CBES:  Our kids can talk the talk. GO SLOW WHOA they know it. We constantly get testimonials from families about kids calling out their parents on nutrition and exercise.  We do a yearly parent and student survey to check how we are doing and the impact we are having.


CATCH: Does the physical space extend the CATCH program to the community?  Please explain.


CBES: We hold a minimum of 2 major events that extend CATCH into our families and community.  One is our Garden and the other is our free to anyone who shows up 3K event and Health Family Picnic Competition in the fall.

CATCH: What are the keys to your success? 


CBES: Imagination, hard work and networking for new ideas to keep it fresh.


CATCH: What advice can you offer to those just beginning or who have already implemented the CATCH Program?


CBES: Network to come up with ideas and write press release for everything you do.  A lot comes your way when people see all that is happening in the school.


CATCH: What was your most significant barrier and how did you overcome the challenge?


CBES: I didn't have any barriers, which I know is unusual.  I could always use more money but CATCH has allowed me to qualify for other grant opportunities that have only enhanced the program.


CATCH: What has been the reaction from parents, administration, students and community?


CBES: As I said before we pretty much have celebrity status in Urbana - Champaign.  Companies and people use our program to film, photo, and model for other schools.


CATCH:  What are your plans for the future at this school location and elsewhere in the district?  What is your school health and wellness vision?


CBES: The biggest challenge is keeping it fresh. New ideas, new funding. We have our fundamental successes but we like to tweak it and add things each year. This year our new focus has been on PA and the brain. We have been incorporating brain breaks throughout the academic day in all sorts of ways. We have had some brain break incentives and just celebrated with a Fiesta Dance Party with fresh fruit and veggies for our snack. 


CATCH: Is there anything else you would like to add? 


CBES: Our facility is like teaching in Disney World for PE teachers.




CATCH Around the World
CATCH is Global
Peter Cribb and his first CATCH Certified Students in Uruguay!

Uruguay- that small South American country known for its strong democracy and low levels of corruption-has made important strides in recent years in promoting the health of its population by being among the first countries in the Americas to regulate the consumption, sale and advertising of tobacco products. Despite these important accomplishments, tobacco use rates among Uruguayan youth remain high, with approximately one in five youth reporting that they currently smoke cigarettes. In exploring approaches to curb youth tobacco use, Dr. Melissa Stigler, Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Texas School of Public Health-Austin, is conducting a five-year, National Institute of Health funded study entitled "ˇActivate Ya!" [Activate Yourself Already!] to design, develop, implement, and evaluate a school-based health promotion program to reduce tobacco use and promote physical activity among secondary school students in Uruguay.  

Dr. Andrew Springer and Peter take a break 
from their class on SOFIT
In partnership with CIET, a local nonprofit organization that helped lead the passage of legislation against tobacco in Uruguay in 2006, Dr. Stigler and colleagues are exploring the effects of increasing adolescents' engagement in physical activity and development of a healthy self-concept on reducing initiation of tobacco use. In support of these efforts, Mr. Peter Cribb, National Director of the CATCH Program and Research Coordinator at the University of Texas School of Public Health, and Dr. Andrew Springer, Co-Investigator on the Activate Ya project, traveled to Uruguay in March 2014 to train Uruguayan school leaders in effective approaches for promoting and incorporating more physical activity into the school day. Twenty PE teachers and school faculty participated in the one-day training, which took place at the Crandon Institute in Montevideo. Participants in the training engaged in an array of interactive activity dynamics and management techniques aimed at increasing physical activity levels and promoting adolescents' enjoyment of physical activity.


Peter and Dr. Springer visit with some of the students
Lucia Martinez, Project Director of the Activate Ya project in Uruguay, shared her thoughts about the training: "The experience was really enriching. We enjoyed the activities in a fun environment. The response from the people who were in the training was positive and will be helpful for implementation. We felt that with small changes in PE management, we could do a lot to improve the time of activities and increase the intensity. Thanks Peter, for sharing this knowledge with us".

 In 2014, the ˇActivate Ya! project is conducting pilot studies of the proposed program strategies, prior to the two-year intervention trial that will commence in 2015 and takes place in and around Montevideo.    



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CATCH Webinars
Don't miss this week's webinar
April 30th, 2pm (CST)
Dan Marek and Whole Kids Foundation-Supporting Schools and Inspiring Families to Improve Children's Nutrition and Wellness (Pre-Register
Please join us April 30th as we talk with Whole Kids Foundation Dan Marek.



CATCH in the News!
JCC in San Diego


National CATCH Coordinator Kathy Chichester attended the JCC's (Jewish Community Centers) of North America Biennial Conference to support their international movement. Discover CATCH is a customized early childhood physical activity and nutrition program that features CATCH components.  

Kathy pictured with JCC's Steve Becker (L) and 
Mark Horowitz (R).

"Discover CATCH is a program that has taken on a life of its own" said Kathy. "The JCC's have built an infrastructure of support and training that has allowed for continued growth, and success. JCC's have been able to document a measurable difference in health related habits with Discover CATCH , and that has certainly attracted additional supporters. CATCH is so happy to be a part of it".   

For more about Discover: CATCH please visit the
 JCCA website. 


CATCH in Motion
Kids Marathon
Shannon Health and Wellness team has partnered with San Angelo Independent School District and 17 local elementary schools to celebrate physical activity and health lifestyle habits. The CATCH in Motion Kids' Marathon provided an opportunity for student's kindergarten through sixth grade to participate in a program that encourages healthy habit formation early in life. The kickoff of Kids' marathon is where each student is encouraged to run or walk the total distance of 26 miles before the last lap celebration which happened on April 17, 2014. 

The Last Lap Celebration is a celebration in every sense of the word, says September Summers, event director.  Students are cheered on by their parents and hometown heroes (local athletes) as they finish the last .2 of their marathon goal.  All students participating will receive a finishers t-shirt and medal.  Students can then play games with local community organizations while parents gather important information about summer programs and camps to keep kids busy and active all summer long.

"Last year we tore race tags from at least 600 plus race numbers, which is how we keep up with the school who sends the most kids" said September. "All athletes from both HS in the district are invited out and most do so that they can be there to cheer kids on and play games with them. But I will tell you it is the Angelo State University Athletes that get the biggest praise they all come too. It is simply put, a big shout out to Physical Activity and how being active is fun!"
There is one simple goal for the CATCH in Motion Kids' Marathon Final Lap Event, to show how fun physical activity can be.   The evidence is on each and every child's smiling face.



Yarbrough Elementary
Auburn, Alabama


Our friends in Auburn have come up with some new great games to get their kids moving. This month, Coach Reginald Smith shares a link with us to their GO-SLOW-WHOA games they play at Yarbrough Elementary.
Coach Smith has also created an APP for Droid Smart Phones that will link to their Vimeo site. This is the first of its kind for CATCH as far as we know and all we can say is Wow!

Way to go Auburn Alabama!

Here are the links:

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