WE WERE pleased to read the editorial “Classes come first, but schools must add more physical activity’’ (Oct. 3). Under the leadership of Superintendent Carol R. Johnson, the Boston Public Schools have taken steps toward combating the obesity epidemic and closing the academic achievement gap by increasing physical activity during school. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showcased Boston’s innovative efforts at a recent national conference.
Last year, Johnson created the Health and Wellness Department to increase the quantity and improve the quality of physical education and physical activity during school. Even in the face of budget pressures, the city increased the number of schools that offer phys ed by 22 percent. Currently, 80 percent of Boston public schools offer phys ed and 56 percent offer physical activity programs during the school day. By the end of this school year, we expect that all of Boston’s public schools will offer phys ed, physical activity programs, or both.
School leaders in the Boston Public Schools recognize the relationship between physical activity and academic achievement. It’s no coincidence that five out of the six Boston schools recognized by the district for outstanding growth in MCAS scores offer their students both physical education and physical activity programs during the school day.
Executive director Health and Wellness Department Boston Public Schools