The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Educational Administration and Leadership, K-12: Ed.D.


Educational Administration and Higher Education


School of Education

First Advisor

Kay Worner

Second Advisor

Roger Worner

Third Advisor

David Lund

Fourth Advisor

Ric Dressen

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Executive Function, Exercise, ACTIVATE, Elementary, Case Study


The purpose of this case study was to explore how three elementary schools located in the eastern region of the United States of America implemented the ACTIVATE executive function intervention program. The researcher investigated the practices used in these schools, the perceived benefits for children, the barriers to implementation and recommendations for schools initiating an implementation of this program. The case study format provided for the collection of responses, perspectives and insights through semi-structured interviews from seven individual educators most responsible for implementation of the program. Transcripts were coded for themes and frequency counts of the data were gathered. Analysis of the data for research question one indicated that physical activities used in the case study schools using the ACTIVATE program matched those articulated in the research as having beneficial effects on executive function. The selection of physical activities was driven by student feedback, space, and resources. The district wellness policy was not found to be a driver for the ACTIVATE implementation and training of teachers to implement the program was deemed insufficient. The conclusion from the second research question was that perceived benefits to children participating in the ACTIVATE program included improved executive function, reading and mathematics achievement scores. The analysis from the third research question identified scheduling, space and training as barriers to implementation of the ACTIVATE program. The findings and conclusions from the fourth research question identified recommendations for implementation to include establishment of the rationale with all stakeholders, more robust training for classroom teachers and integration of ACTIVATE programming into the school schedule. Limitations of the study, recommendations for professional practice and future studies were presented.


Thank you to my wife Jennifer, for your encouragement, compassion, loven, and support throughout this study. Thank you to my children Alec, Hunter, Savanna, Emman, and Tanner for inspiring me every day to be a better person and father. Thank you to my mentors, dissertation committee, instructors, family, friends, colleagues, and former students who cheered me on and said, “get it done.” Thank you to my mom and dad (Marguerite and Donald Smasal) for valuing education. You taught me well.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.