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School Specialty SPARK Program Recognized for Combating Childhood Obesity

GREENVILLE, Wis., Sept. 15, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- School Specialty's (Nasdaq:SCHS) research-based SPARK(R) program has been identified as a successful model for combating childhood obesity by The HSC Foundation. The Washington, DC-based health care organization issued a report entitled, "Fighting Obesity: What Works, What's Promising," and the SPARK program was one of the models identified as having produced tangible success in addressing what Foundation President and CEO Thomas Chapman referred to as "the obesity epidemic."

SPARK provides evidence-based physical education, after school, early childhood, and coordinated school health programs to teachers and recreation leaders serving Pre-K through 12th grade students. Each SPARK program is a coordinated package of curriculum, teacher training and content-matched equipment. The SPARK pedagogy is focused on highly active games, dances and sports that maximize physical activity, while also incorporating nutrition and health instruction. "We are honored that The HSC Foundation has recognized SPARK as an effective program to help reverse the childhood obesity trend and promote lifelong wellness among our youth," said Paul Rosengard, School Specialty SPARK Executive Director. "The foundation's validation of SPARK joins those of many other organizations, such as the National Institute of Health and the U.S. Surgeon General, in recognizing the positive impact our program can have as a school-based solution for the nation's health care crisis."

Report author Elliot Segal said the programs referenced in his report demonstrate that there are real ways to have an impact on childhood obesity. "These models show the power that can be gained by leveraging existing programs," noted Segal. "The models also show the effectiveness of focusing on high-stakes places where a big difference can be made quickly and yield life-long results."

About The SPARK Programs

SPARK is a research-based organization that creates, implements, and evaluates programs that promote lifelong wellness. The SPARK Programs consist of Early Childhood, K-12 Physical Education, After School, and Coordinated School Health. Each SPARK program provides curriculum, teacher training, follow up support and consultation, and content-matched equipment sets through the School Specialty Sportime business line. For more information on SPARK, visit www.sparkpe.org; or email: spark@schoolspecialty.com; or call 1-800-sparkpe.

About School Specialty

School Specialty is a leading education company that provides innovative and proprietary products, programs and services to help educators engage and inspire students of all ages and abilities to learn. The company designs, develops, and provides PreK-12 educators with the latest and very best curriculum, supplemental learning resources, and school supplies. Working in collaboration with educators, School Specialty reaches beyond the scope of textbooks to help educators, guidance counselors and school administrators ensure that every student reaches his or her full potential. For more information about School Specialty, visit www.schoolspecialty.com.

About The HSC Foundation

The HSC Foundation is dedicated to improving access to services for individuals who face social and health care barriers due to disability, chronic illness, or other circumstances that present unique needs. The Foundation's non-profit operating subsidiaries are the HSC Pediatric Center; HSC Home Care, LLC; and Health Services for Children with Special Needs, Inc. For more information about The HSC Foundation, visit www.hscfoundation.org.

CONTACT:  The SPARK Programs
          Billy Beltz, Marketing Manager
          800-772-7573 x2247

          School Specialty, Inc.Mark Fleming, Corporate Communications
          920-882-5646