The Atlanta Falcons want to introduce more kids to the game of football, and Atlanta Public Schools is helping them do it.
APS is partnering with the Falcons on the organization’s “Rise Up 159” initiative, named for the 159 different counties in Georgia. The program is designed to introduce the sport of football to young students through playing flag football. “Rise Up 159” has a full curriculum that relates to several required core standards taught in physical education classes in elementary and middle schools in Georgia.
Last Friday, John Lewis Invictus Academy hosted physical education teachers from 78 counties around the state for a professional development session on teaching the Rise Up 159 curriculum. This is the second year for the APS-Falcons partnership in the implementation of Rise Up 159. The district’s physical education teachers used the curriculum last year.
“The curriculum is fun for the kids and allows them to be creative in coming up with their own [football] plays,” said Isaac Haynes, a physical education teacher at Hollis Innovation Academy, who attended the training and won an autographed Matt Ryan jersey in a raffle. “This is a fun way to get kids interested in football. They are playing and learning at the same time.”
Chris Millman, director of Community Relations for the Atlanta Falcons, said fun is key to the success of Rise Up 159. Schools that implement the Rise Up 159 curriculum receive football, flag football belts and cones, all courtesy of the Atlanta Falcons.
“Football has to be fun or kids won’t want to play – flag or tackle [football],” Millman said. “Rise Up 159 has fun activities so boys and girls will want to play this game.”
Daryl Rice, coordinator of Health and Physical Education for APS, said the district and the Atlanta Falcons are committed to the Rise Up 159 partnership for the long term.
“It helps our kids stay in shape and increases their cardiovascular endurance, and helps them learn football at the same time,” Rice said. “We’ve implemented the program in our elementary and middle schools, and we want to move it into our high schools as well. We want everything we do in APS to be sustainable and this is one of those programs.”