CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Tennessee middle schools looking to improve their physical education programs can get a new PE curriculum, training for their teachers and equipment for their students through the Shape the State program of the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation.

Now in its third year, the program has awarded 40 Shape the State grants, valued at $10,000 each to Tennessee schools serving middle grades students. Twenty more schools will be selected this year. Applications will be accepted on the Shape the State website April 15 through May 3. Winning schools will be announced May 17.

“Tennessee educators are eager for avenues to improve their students’ health status and we are pleased to be able to offer them this opportunity,” said Calvin Anderson, BlueCross senior vice president and executive director of the foundation. “It has been gratifying to see the first 40 Shape the State schools take their students health to a higher level.”

In addition to supplying the acclaimed SPARK physical education curriculum, teacher training and equipment, schools earning the grants get an additional $1,000 to spend at their discretion on their health, nutrition and wellness programs.

The Shape the State program was launched in 2011 with the middle school grants. It expanded in 2012, partnering with Tennessee Coordinated School Health to place the OrganWise Guys nutrition and wellness program into 80 elementary schools. The Foundation has made supporting programs designed to fight childhood obesity in Tennessee a major priority.

About BlueCross

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's mission is to provide its customers and communities with peace of mind through affordable solutions for health and healing, life and living. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on reinventing the health plan for its 3 million members in Tennessee and across the country. Through its integrated health management approach, BlueCross provides patient-centric products and services that drive health improvement and positively impact health care quality and value. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company's website at www.bcbst.com.