CHICAGO, April 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- IlliniCare Health today announced a partnership with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) that will help more than 20,000 students stay active during the school day and perform better in the classroom. The public-private partnership will bring an innovative move-and-learn fitness technology called GoNoodle to 65 city elementary schools.
IlliniCare Health made the announcement today at an event at Willa Cather Elementary School in Chicago's Garfield Park neighborhood. Fourth-grade students demonstrated GoNoodle and participated in interactive challenges called "Brain Breaks," which help kids channel their natural energy to focus on math, spelling and vocabulary. Alderman Walter Burnett, Jr., of Chicago's 27th Ward was among the dignitaries on hand for the event.
"Chicago's students deserve access to quality education as well as innovative wellness opportunities," said Jeff Joy, President and CEO of IlliniCare Health. "GoNoodle makes learning and being active fun for kids and teachers. We're so pleased to partner with CPS to ensure this technology is available to students in the communities we serve."
IlliniCare Health has committed to funding GoNoodle Plus through the end of the 2015-2016 school year for 65 CPS elementary schools identified as needing assistance in meeting CPS LearnWELL goals. The premium edition of GoNoodle will allow teachers to log and track students' physical activity, as well as customize GoNoodle's content to their curriculum.
"GoNoodle was built in response to research that shows short bursts of physical activity can positively impact academic achievement, cognitive skills, behavior, and overall health," said David Hanzlik, Regional Director for GoNoodle. "Students at schools who are using our technology have made tremendous progress, and we are very grateful to IlliniCare Health for ensuring that CPS will continue to be able to access this tool for the coming school year."
Wanda Carey, Principal of Willa Cather Elementary School, said the benefits of the more than 200 physical activity breaks students and teachers have logged so far this year are evident.
"GoNoodle aligns with CPS' LearnWELL initiative and has been very successful in helping our school provide increased opportunities for students to get active during the school day, in addition to physical education and recess," said Carey. She also noted that GoNoodle has been enthusiastically adopted by a variety of staff at the school, from classroom teachers to recess supervisors.
Willa Cather School teachers said they have already witnessed a difference in kids, particularly those who do not have access to rec sports leagues, fresh, nutritious food or safe playgrounds and parks – the go-to recommendations for improving kids' wellbeing.
"By sponsoring GoNoodle in CPS, IllinCare Health is looking out for the health and wellness of the next generation in Chicago," said Joy. "We couldn't be more proud to play a part in boosting the confidence of 20,000 students across our city – all while helping them improve their overall health."
About IlliniCare Health
IlliniCare Health is one of the leading Medicaid health plans in Illinois, providing services under the Integrated Care Plan (seniors and persons with disabilities), the Family Health Plan (pregnant women and children) and those who are newly eligible for Medicaid under the ACA. IlliniCare Health was one of six plans chosen to participate in the Medicare-Medicaid Alignment Initiative in the greater Chicago area, providing coordinated services for those individuals dually-eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. In addition, IlliniCare Health was selected to provide the back office and operational infrastructure to CountyCare Health Plan - a Medicaid managed care plan of the Cook County Hospital and Health Care System. In 2015, IlliniCare Health offers plans on the 2015 Illinois marketplace targeting low-income individuals who are seeking affordable, quality health coverage on the Illinois Marketplace. For more information, please visit www.illinicare.com.
About Chicago Public Schools
Chicago Public Schools is the third largest school district in the United States with more than 600 schools providing education to approximately 400,000 children. CPS' vision is that every student in every neighborhood will be engaged in a rigorous, well-rounded instructional program and will graduate prepared for success in college, career and life.
GoNoodle is an online resource for elementary school teachers to improve student engagement and youth health through physical activity breaks or "brain breaks." Helping to increase energy and focus while improving classroom behavior, GoNoodle's activities can be played on an interactive whiteboard, projector or computer screen. Since its launch in August 2013, more than 5 million kids have played GoNoodle physical activity breaks. Teachers can sign up for free at gonoodle.com.
SOURCE IlliniCare Health