Fit to Learn



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Scientists are gaining a better understanding of the complex interplay between exercise, nutrition, and mental health on healthy brain development. Educators since Socrates have understood that kids learn best when healthy and fit.  Sadly, at the same time studies highlighting the importance of fitness on academic success are gaining national attention, physical fitness classes are being reduced to provide more time for core academic subjects that are measured by high stakes tests. The lack of physical fitness in schools is compounded by a lack of exercise in our increasingly sedentary society. As a result many of today’s youth are not getting the amount of exercise that research tells us leads to healthy development – and that helps students reach their full academic potential.

In Fit to Learn, the May installment of NET’s two-year initiative examining The State of Education in Nebraska, national and state leaders discuss this research and the important role that partnerships between schools, community organizations, and other caring adults in our communities can play to expand access to healthy environments – ensuring that all Nebraska youth are fit to learn.

“Exercise is really for turning our brains on; the wonderful side effects are helping our body to be healthy.”
    — Dr. John Ratey, Author & Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School




The Whole Child

Schools in Nebraska have prioritized health and wellness programs to help students and teachers achieve their best in a more effective school environment.

Bouncing to the Beat

Adams Central teacher Kristin Lukow is determined to get all of her students involved, whether singing, dancing, or bouncing basketballs to learn about music.




Kelly Bouxsein, MPH, MS, CPH
Alegent Creighton Health Healthier Communities Administrator
Kate Heelan, PhD, FACSM
UNK Kinesiology & Sports Sciences Professor & Human Performance Laboratory Director
John Ratey, MD
Harvard Medical School  Psychiatry Associate Clinical Professor & Author
John Spatz
NE Association of School Boards Executive Director & Partnership for a Healthy Lincoln Board Member




NET Learning Services
Nebraska Children and Families Foundation
Nebraska Loves Public Schools
First Five Nebraska
America’s Promise Alliance Grad Nation
Avenue Scholars Foundation
Beyond School Bells
Buffett Early Childhood Fund

Center on Children, Families, and the Law
Coalition for Community Schools
Lincoln Community Foundation
Nebraska Department of Education
Nebraska Trucking Association
Urban League of Nebraska
United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County

United Way Readers, Tutors, and Mentors

© 2014

American Graduate is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in partnership with America's Promise Alliance, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.