March 26, 2014
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Dear IAPO, 
The "Measuring Fitness to Improve Health" bill, HB 5397, has made it to the House floor and now we need your help to get it passed.

As you may know, physical education and physical fitness are critical to the health, academic achievement, and behavior of our children and youth across the state. We know that fit kids learn better, but what we don't know in Illinois is how fit our kids are. HB 5397 will implement fitness testing in Illinois school curricula by the 2016-17 academic year to help improve the health of our youth and provide students, teachers, school districts, parents, and our entire state with some of the tools we need to improve fitness through physical education classes.

This bill will help us measure progress on fitness by focusing on developing physically literate students in life-long fitness and health through the implementation of physical fitness assessment, commonly called FITNESSGRAM, in every school across the state. FITNESSGRAM is a FREE fitness testing methodology resource available to schools through the Presidential Youth Fitness Program that helps students assess and achieve their fitness goals. FITNESSGRAM was recommended for use in schools by the Illinois Enhance P.E. Task Force and is a criterion-referenced assessment, helping students identify areas of self-improvement and not comparing them to others.

This bill would also create a fitness data tracking system for the state to help track improvements over time and create a Task Force to develop protocols for fitness testing and reporting to ensure reliability across the state. Lastly it would give schools more than two years to prepare P.E. teachers to administer the test to students as part of their class curriculum and fitness improvement programs.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions or if you would like to get more involved in advocating for P.E. in Illinois.