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School Specialty Advances Inclusive PE with New, Comprehensive Resources for Physical Educators, including Guidebook and Specialty Workshop from SPARK™, and Starter Pack from Sportime®
Company to showcase latest solutions for physical education teachers at the 2017 SHAPE America Convention

GREENVILLE, Wis., March 07, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Sportime® featuring SPARK™, the award-winning physical activity equipment and PE curriculum brand of School Specialty, Inc. (OTCQB:SCOO) (“School Specialty”, “SSI” or “the Company”), today announced the availability of its innovative offerings for physical educators looking to create an inclusive environment where all students, including those with disabilities, can successfully participate. The latest resources include the SPARK Inclusive PE Guidebook, Inclusive PE Specialty Workshop and Sportime Inclusive PE Starter Pack which support teachers in delivering the highest standards and most beneficial instruction to each and every student.

SPARK Inclusive PE Guidebook
Designed for educators who teach general PE classes that include students with disabilities.


Sportime Inclusive PE Starter Pack
Provides expert-selected products, specifically designed to substitute for a variety of physical education equipment.


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Photos accompanying this announcement are available at

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“We’re very excited about these new resources and expect they will have a tremendous impact on teacher development and student experience through evidence-based, carefully curated solutions that reinforce best practices in inclusive PE instruction,” stated Jeff Mushkin, SPARK Curriculum Development Director. “Specifically, the latest tools were developed for general PE teachers to address the need for support in adapting activities when there are a few students with disabilities in their classes. Teachers have asked for help in understanding disabilities and how to make modifications to their lessons in order to engage all students. We have responded to their call. The resources were developed by educators with experience working with students with special needs in both the adapted PE and the inclusive PE setting, and reflect their expertise for building a positive learning environment for all students.”

SPARK Inclusive PE Guidebook
Written by leading experts in the physical education field, including SPARK specialists, SHAPE America National Adapted PE Teacher of the Year, Texas Woman’s University, and the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability, the SPARK Inclusive PE Guidebook provides over 200 pages of resources designed for educators who teach a general PE class that includes students with disabilities. The guidebook serves as a resource for educators to plan skill assessments and determine the best methods for student evaluation. Lesson plans offer instructional content that help teachers address the SHAPE America National Standards for Physical Education. 

The guidebook includes 24 sample SPARK lesson plans and 14 skill-building activities with integrations that demonstrate how to modify and adapt the activities for students with disabilities. It also contains valuable fact sheets for 12 disability categories that include background material about each disability and information about how a student with the disability learns best. The SPARK Inclusive PE Guidebook can be used on its own or in conjunction with a SPARK Physical Education or After School Curriculum. The guidebook is available in print and/or digital format.

Sportime Inclusive PE Starter Pack
Additionally, educators will benefit from the Sportime Inclusive PE Starter Pack which provides expert-selected products, specifically designed to substitute for a variety of physical education equipment to keep all students physically active and successfully engaged during PE. The pack includes a variety of tactile balls and bell balls, as well as a pop-up target, foam noodles, juggling scarves, jingle bracelets, directional arrows, numbered spot markers, CatchPads, a lightweight exercise band, and a Califone hearing protector.

This Starter Pack also includes the SPARK Inclusive PE Guidebook Set 3 for grades K-12 instructional strategies, skill adaptation activities, lesson plans, and recommendations for assessments, class management and equipment.

Inclusive PE Specialty Workshop
The Inclusive PE Specialty Workshop is a half or full day, on-site workshop that provides strategies to create an inclusive environment, adapt activities and equipment, and accommodate students during skill-based instruction. Workshop participants learn how to modify lessons plans for specific disabilities and how to better meet the needs of their students. Workshop activities provide opportunities for hands-on learning in order to create an inclusive environment that benefits all students.

Commenting on the expanded resources, Tari Garner, SPARK Elite Trainer and 2013 SHAPE America Central District Teacher of the Year said, “General Physical Educators are looking for disability-specific knowledge and ways to actively engage all students in their physical education classes. The Inclusive PE guidebook and training gives teachers the know-how, general and specific adaptations and strategies, not previously available, to better support and inspire students of all abilities!”

Inclusive PE Specialty Workshop Contest
In partnership with Let’s Move! Active Schools, Sportime featuring SPARK will also be hosting an Inclusive PE Specialty Workshop Contest which presents the opportunity to win an Inclusive PE Workshop, Guidebook, and Equipment Pack! Teachers are encouraged to enter the contest for a chance to bring an interactive professional development experience to their school/district. The winning school will also receive a $500 voucher to purchase PE supplies for the workshop. Entries will be open from March 14 through April 30, 2017 and applicants will be required to complete a short contest entry form to share how an Inclusive PE Workshop and resources would help their school/district create a more active school environment and increase physical education and physical activity opportunities for all students. Eligible participants are K-12 schools in the U.S. that must be enrolled with Let’s Move! Active Schools and have completed the Let’s Move! Active Schools school assessment by April 30, 2017. The winner will be announced on May 19th. Learn more and enter to win at sparkpe.org/inclusive.

In addition, meet with the Sportime featuring SPARK team and view the Inclusive PE Guidebook and equipment at Booth #703 at the SHAPE America National Convention & Expo, March 14-18 in Boston, MA! Share in a special presentation with Jeff Mushkin, “Strategies for Including Students with Special Needs in General PE” on Friday, March 17th. Sportime featuring SPARK is a Gold Medal sponsor of the convention, and sponsor of the Claudine Sherrill Adapted PE Awards Breakfast slated for Thursday morning (March 16th) during the conference.

Following the conference, Sportime featuring SPARK will host a free public webinar entitled, ”Inclusive PE: Strategies for Including ALL Students in PE”, on March 22nd at 8pm ET/5pm PT. Hear more about how general physical educators can adapt skill-building activities and games to include students with disabilities in enjoyable and meaningful ways.

“As we see increasing demand from teachers for Inclusive, as well as Adapted, resources that help support students with special needs, School Specialty under its Sportime featuring SPARK brand for physical education, is committed to providing the most innovative, end-to-end solutions and services to meet those needs,” stated Doug Welles, Vice President, Specialty Businesses. “We remain focused on driving 21st century, inspired learning for the overall wellness and success of all end-users -- expanding our product assortment; leveraging our subject-matter expertise; and building strategic partnerships with advocacy leaders such as SHAPE America and the Adapted PE consortium. I’m very enthusiastic about the tremendous benefits our new Inclusive PE guidebook, training and equipment solutions will bring to teachers and students nationwide!”

About Sportime featuring SPARK
Sportime featuring SPARK is the premier physical education brand of School Specialty, Inc., a leading distributor of innovative and proprietary products, programs and services to the education marketplace. Physical fitness is critical to student success and the Company’s products, including Sportime PE Equipment and innovative physical education curriculum from SPARK are carefully selected to enhance physical development, help children enjoy physical activity and show them how to be active throughout their lifetime. Through Sportime’s complete selection of high-quality fitness and sports equipment, including balls, jump ropes, and bean bags, we are able to help educators engage and energize students to get active today and sustain a healthy lifestyle tomorrow.

For more information on Sportime featuring SPARK, go to www.sportime.com. Follow us on social media: @Sportime_SPARK for Twitter and /SportimeSPARK for Facebook.

About School Specialty, Inc.
School Specialty is a leading distributor of innovative and proprietary products, programs and services to the education marketplace. The Company designs, develops, and provides educators with the latest and very best school supplies, furniture and both curriculum and supplemental learning resources. Working in collaboration with educators, School Specialty reaches beyond the scope of textbooks to help teachers, guidance counselors and school administrators ensure that every student reaches his or her full potential. Through its SSI Guardian subsidiary, the Company is also committed to school, healthcare and corporate workplace safety by offering the highest quality curriculum, training and safety and security products. Finally, through its SOAR Life Products brand, the Company offers thousands of products that sharpen cognitive skills and build physical and mental strength in fun and creative ways. From childhood through adulthood, they help individuals live life to the fullest – engaged, happy and well.  SOAR Life Products is a customized offering for hospitals, long-term care, therapeutic facilities, home care, surgery centers, day care centers, physician offices, and clinics. For more information about School Specialty, visit www.schoolspecialty.com.

@SchoolSpecialty
Connect with School Specialty on social media; search School Specialty on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. For Ideas and resources, educational trends and inspiration for today’s educators – visit the Schoolyard blog.

Company Contact:
Katie Fenton
Marketing Manager, Sportime featuring SPARK
Tel: 800-772-7573 ext. 2212
Email: katie.fenton@sportime.com

Media Contacts:
Glenn Wiener and Dionne Manchester
GW Communications (for School Specialty)
Tel: 212-786-6011 / 212-786-6068
Email: gwiener@GWCco.com / dionne@GWCco.com

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School Specialty, Inc