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P.E. as a Pathway to the Future: The Story of Afya Public Charter School

Afya Public Charter School in Baltimore, MD was honored in 2018 as one of America’s Healthiest Schools by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Find out why!


One step inside Afya Public Charter School in Baltimore, MD is all it takes to recognize the school’s commitment to health and wellness. Motivating affirmations adorn the walls. Treadmills, spin bikes, and air assault bikes fill the fitness room. Teachers like Mike Morgan, one of the school’s four physical education teachers, focus on offering non-traditional programming that maximizes fun and learning. At Afya, which means “health” in Swahili, students benefit from at least 60 minutes of physical education per week—combined with other opportunities to move before, during, and after school.

Bolstered by a strong district wellness policy, Afya was honored in 2018 as one of “America’s Healthiest Schools” by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. In order to achieve this distinction, Afya met a rigorous set of wellness criteria including:

  • Prohibiting using physical activity as punishment or using food as a reward or punishment
  • Requiring middle school students to take more than one academic year of physical education
  • Maintaining moderate to vigorous physical activity for at least 50% of physical education time
  • Requiring all physical education teachers to participate in annual professional development in physical education

For Afya’s 350 adolescent students, 85% of whom come from economically disadvantaged households, the strong emphasis on health is fueling their physical, emotional, and academic success.

Just ask Brikaya, a confident eighth-grade student who dreams of becoming a scientist. An avid cross-country runner and basketball player, Brikaya radiates health, and she inspires those around her to follow suit. At Afya, Brikaya isn’t just learning math and biology but also how to move her body and fuel her mind.

Watch Brikaya’s story to learn more about Afya’s unique approach to wellness:

To learn how your school can become one of America’s Healthiest Schools, visit