In a political climate where most public schools have reduced or eliminated physical education (PE) entirely in response to budget cuts and increased pressure to improve academic test scores, Naperville High School in Illinois stands out as an anomaly. The school’s already robust daily PE program is specifically designed around the notion that physical activity enhances, rather than detracts from children’s intellectual development.

As the country confronts the dual challenge of childhood obesity and improving academic outcomes in our public schools, policy-makers and educators can learn from Naperville’s approach, which treats fitness, health, wellness, and classroom learning as holistically interdependent.