VA’s Alexandria City Public Schools Launches New Health/PE Initiatives Using ESSA Funds

ESSA-CaseStudy Louisiana PE
Issue:
In 2015, Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) became one of the first school divisions in Virginia to adopt a health and wellness goal as part of its strategic plan. The goal states: ACPS will promote efforts to enable students to be healthy and ready to learn.

Although ACPS includes some wealthy communities, it also has many areas with high poverty rates. Overall, 63 percent of students in this urban school district are eligible for free and reduced-price meals. Many students have parents who work two or three jobs and are not able to provide transportation or supervision for outsideof-school sports or activities.

ACPS leaders knew that in working toward their strategic health and wellness goal, it was important to ensure that students in higher-poverty areas received the same level of support as those coming from the district’s wealthier communities.


ACPS’ “Catch a Rainbow Every Day” program teaches students about the importance of fruits and vegetables.
The Big Idea:

Mike Humphreys, SHAPE America member and ACPS instructional specialist for health, physical education and family life education, knew that under the recently reauthorized Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), schools and districts would be able to allocate Title IV, Part A dollars to enhance the “health and wellbeing” of the students they serve.

He soon made it his mission to claim those funds in the name of health and physical education initiatives.

“What this took on my end was developing positive relationships with my colleagues at the Central Office and constantly pestering the financial gatekeepers so they would know I was in search of extra funding,” says Humphreys. “I would routinely check in with our grants coordinator to see if he knew of any emerging opportunities which might allow for dollars in my direction. Once he had input into the Title IV grant and its destination, he was happy to contact me!”

In the first year of receiving their Title IV, Part A funds, ACPS chose to target its West End community, which had not only the highest poverty rates but also the highest BMI (body mass index) rates.

Implementation:

After careful consideration, ACPS decided to utilize its Title IV, Part A funds in three ways:

1. The district purchased heart rate monitors and the latest software to give students at four Title I schools extra motivation to get active and stay active. Teachers have been trained on how to use the equipment, and they can now project real-time readings for heart rate and other measurements pertaining to student activity levels, such as movement in various activities and games.

2. First-, second- and third-grade teachers at the four Title I schools were trained in the “Catch a Rainbow Every Day” nutritional program, which was adopted from the Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program at the University of Rhode Island. Using this funding, the schools have been able to purchase a colorful variety of vegetables for students to sample during weekly lessons about how fruits and vegetables are part of a balanced diet that can help them grow into healthy adults.

3. Title IV, Part A funds were also used to enhance the division’s Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) framework. PBIS is a proactive approach to establishing the behavioral supports and social culture needed to achieve academic and behavioral success. The funding was used for professional development for PBIS coaches and their school teams to support the schools’ nutrition and fitness efforts.

Results:

Taken together, the use of the ESSA Title IV, Part A grant funds has assisted ACPS in meeting its strategic plan goal, which is to enable students to lead healthier lives and to come to school each and every day ready to learn.

The district was recently awarded increased funding under Title IV, Part A for the 2019-2020 school year, which will
allow for continued support and expansion of the existing initiatives. At least four more physical education programs will receive heart rate monitors and at least four more schools will use the nutritional education program. In addition, ACPS plans to continue developing its PBIS program with the goal of increasing the health and wellness of ACPS students.

Takeaway:

“Our students must be taught how important it is that they are physically active and committed to their own well-being,” says Humphreys. “We in ACPS are confident that these initiatives will combine to move the needle related to the growth of our students’ health and physical literacy. We consider ourselves lucky to have been able to secure these funds.”

icon-thumbs-up-1SHAPE America’s National Standards for Physical Education

The physically literate individual:

  • Demonstrates competency in a variety of motor skills and movement patterns.
  • Applies knowledge of concepts, principles, strategies and tactics related to movement and performance.
  • Demonstrates the knowledge and skills to achieve and maintain a health enhancing level of physical activity and fitness.
  • Exhibits responsible personal and social behavior that respects self and others.
  • Recognizes the value of physical activity for health, enjoyment, challenge, self-expression and/or social interaction.
  • Above: Alexandria City Public Schools is finding more ways to keep students active during the school day.

    What this took on my end was developing positive relationships with my colleagues at the Central Office and constantly pestering the financial gatekeepers so they would know I was in search of extra funding,

    Mike Humphreys, Instructional Specialist for Health/Physical Education & Family Life Education

    Download A PDF

    Alexandria-ESSA-case-study

     

    Program Team

    Mike Humphreys,
    Instructional Specialist for Health/Physical Education & Family Life Education

    Marcia Jackson,
    Director of K–12 School Counseling

    Terri Mozingo,
    Chief Academic Officer

     

    In-Service Days Inspire Louisiana PE Teachers to Up Their Game

    Case-study-image-New Jersey Adventure Ed Program
    Issue:

    While many schools recognize the importance of quality in-service training to keep teachers abreast of new instructional methods, technological advances, and changes in laws and standards, this type of professional development is far from a “given” — especially in the field of physical education. In many states, PE teachers may not receive the training necessary to keep up with an ever-changing field.

    “Someone could teach PE for years in an isolated environment and not receive professional development,” says Emily Pineda, manager of Early Childhood and School Health for the Well-Ahead Louisiana, Louisiana Department of Health (LDH). “During the in-service days, there is no one to give assistance to these PE teachers — they might have to attend a session geared to an English teacher instead of their own subject.”

    The Big Idea:

    Well-Ahead Louisiana is working collaborative with the Louisiana Department of Education, Louisiana Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance other key partners to remedy this issue locally by provided professional development for physical education teachers. In 2016, the Healthy Schools Training Krewe (Training Krewe) was formed to bring professional development to schools and school districts. The Training Krewe is a group of expert trainers from different organizations that have joined forces to support healthier schools. At no cost, the Training Krewe provides professional development to those working to create healthier schools.


    An estimated 2,500 teachers attend the Training Krewe workshops last year. Since the program’s inception in 2016, 59 school districts have received professional development.

    This effort is a part of a broader initiative, Well-Ahead Louisiana, launched by the Louisiana Department of Health in 2014 to promote chronic-disease prevention efforts across the state. Currently, Louisiana is currently ranked No. 8 in the nation for childhood obesity.

    An estimated 2,500 teachers attend the Training Krewe workshops last year. Since the program’s inception in 2016, 59 school districts have received professional development. The 13-person cadre presents no-cost professional development workshops at state conferences and schools throughout Louisiana, often teaming up with agency partners such as Action for Healthy Kids, Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Health Enrichment Network, EatMoveGrow, and Fuel Up to Play 60.

    The trainers include SHAPE America members Joanna Faerber and Andre Dicharry, who are passionately dedicated to helping their peers understand the concept of physical literacy and meet SHAPE America’s National Standards for K-12 Physical Education.

    Implementation:

    The workshops integrate components of the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model and focus on promoting evidence based strategies that support healthy eating, physical activity and physical education in schools, says Pineda. This work is support by the Department of Education through the CDC grant (Improving Student Health and Academic Achievement through Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Management of Chronic Conditions in Schools).

    “The secret is in peers teaching peers,” she adds. “Some people you’d least expect to get excited about teaching PE really get inspired and realize why it’s so important.”

    The work has been a real eye-opener for Faerber, a 2009 Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year, whose 31 year teaching career was spent in a K-12 lab school for the College of Education at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Today, many of the schools she visits are in isolated, underserved communities that have difficulty recruiting certified teachers who are newly entering the profession.

    At one K-12 school with fewer than 250 students, she watched the 14 first-graders line up after class and walk to the hall, where they spent their 15-minute recess sitting on the floor, whispering to each other. It had never occurred to the teacher that the classroom break should include active play.

    “The teachers are in desperate need of professional development and inspiration to support healthy and active students,” Faerber says. “Some schools don’t even have the resources to buy inflatable balls or beanbags for students to play with.” According to Faerber, it’s common for PE teachers in these areas to be pulled from football coaching — and conduct their classes using the same drills.

    The three-hour, in-service workshops are welcomed “with open arms,” Faerber says. “The teachers are starving for professional development and eager to discover opportunities to expand. I’m constantly asked, ‘Will you come back?’ ‘Can you send us more support material?’”

    Pineda typically pairs Training Krewe members such as Faerber and Dicharry with representatives from organizations like Action for Healthy Kids, Healthy Alliance, and the state DOE, which can help teachers access additional resources.

    Dicharry is an expert trainer for the Training Krewe in addition to working his full-time job as a PE teacher at Caddo Parrish in northern Louisiana, near the borders of Arkansas and Texas. With nearly 20 years of experience and a master’s degree in education leadership, he thrives on the challenge of helping schools understand and align with the new state and national PE standards.

    “We have a lot of work to do,” he admits. “In these rural areas, there aren’t a lot of new teachers, and teacher pay is a real issue. It’s very difficult to change an entire school culture around what PE should look like and to introduce the concept of physical literacy.”

    In order to deliver effective in-service training, Dicharry must capture and hold the participants’ attention. His personal interest in applying technology in the classroom is reflected in his workshops, which incorporate entertaining YouTube videos. He introduces teachers who aren’t tech-savvy to social media outlets such as Twitter, which he uses regularly to find resources and connect with others in the field.

    Results:

    An estimated 2,500 teachers attend the Louisiana Healthy Schools Training Krewe workshops last year, according to Pineda. Since the program’s inception, 59 school districts have received professional development on the implementation of physical education and physical activity programs, impacting some 593,559 students. The initiative’s efforts to create a healthy school nutrition environment has reached some 676,132 students in 89 school districts.

    This year, the Training Krewe will focus on providing follow-ups to attendees and gather feedback after every presentation. “From past trainings, we have found that teachers say they are really inspired,” she
    says. “Often they come into the training not wanting to be engaged and come away with an understanding of why physical activity is so important. One of the most common comments we hear is, ‘If I’m enjoying these activities, then I know my students are going to love it.’”

    Takeaway:

    “Everyone deserves a job where they can learn and grow,” Pineda says. “So much has changed in physical education, and what teachers learned 15 or more years ago is often no longer relevant or sufficient to meet today’s standards. There is so much more available to them if they know how and where to find it.”

    “Because of the environment I came from, I can’t imagine not having professional development,” adds Faerber. “I’ve been very fortunate in my own career, and I’m passionate about teaching both teachers and children. This opportunity has showed me how much need is out there. We need to all work together to make sure we are reaching and educating all schools and all students.”

    The Training Krewe is looking for additional trainers who are passionate about providing professional development to schools and school districts. To learn more or get involved, please visit http://wellaheadla.com.

    icon-thumbs-up-1SHAPE America’s National Standards for Physical Education

    The physically literate individual:

  • Demonstrates competency in a variety of motor skills and movement patterns.
  • Applies knowledge of concepts, principles, strategies and tactics related to movement and performance.
  • Demonstrates the knowledge and skills to achieve and maintain a health-enhancing level of physical activity and fitness.
  • Exhibits responsible personal and social behavior that respects self and others.
  • Recognizes the value of physical activity for health, enjoyment, challenge, self-expression and/or social interaction.
  • Above: Physical educators in Louisiana can attend no-cost professional development workshops at state conferences and schools hosted by the Healthy Schools Training Krewe.

    “The secret is in peers teaching peers. Some people you’d least expect to get excited about teaching PE really get inspired and realize why it’s so important.”

    Emily Pineda, Manager of Early Childhood and School Health for the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH)

    Download A PDF

    Case-study-image-In-Service Days Inspire Louisiana PE Teachers to Up Their Game

     

    Program Team

    Emily Pineda, Manager of Early Childhood and School Health for the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH)

    Joanna Faerber, NBCT, Krewe Member

    Andre Dicharry, Krewe Member

     

    icon-thumbs-up-150 Million Strong by 2029

    is SHAPE America’s commitment to put all children on the path to health and physical literacy through effective health and physical education programs. Across the country, HPE teachers and other supporters are making an impact by taking action in the following areas:

    • Effective Instruction
    • Healthy Behaviors & Physical Activity
    • Advocacy

    Want to know how you can make an impact? Learn more at shapeamerica.org/50million.

    Mock ‘Trials’ and ‘Accidents’ Teach IL Middle Schoolers Hands-On Health Know-How — and a Lot More

    Case-study-image-Hands-On Health
    Issue:

    Guiding students through the middle school years is a daunting task for educators and parents. Socially insecure and emotionally vulnerable, “tweens” are striving for social standing while possibly grappling with other issues, including poverty, child abuse and neglect, bullying, violence, obesity and eating disorders, sex and pregnancy, suicide, and drugs.

    Students perceived as “different” from the social norm may become targets of their attackers’ own insecurities. And, the body and hormonal changes accompanying adolescence can make young people feel self-conscious, embarrassed and ashamed.

    As educators have learned, it can’t be assumed that parents will necessarily model healthy behaviors — or give their children the tools to cope with stress, anger and hurt. In addition, parents may be unaware of current fads that are unhealthy, or even dangerous, and might be uncomfortable discussing certain topics.

    Middle school health teacher and SHAPE America member Ben Leven recognizes the enormity of this challenge. For the past 18 years, he has taught students in grades 6-8 about physical, mental, emotional, and social health issues, tweaking his health curriculum annually to become ever more effective.

    “It’s a critical time, when the decisions students make can affect the rest of their lives,” says Leven. Knowing this, he always ensures that his 590 students at Twin Groves Middle School in Buffalo Grove, IL, have fully absorbed and mastered specific lessons before moving on to the next topic.

    The Big Idea:

    To ensure that Twin Groves is meeting the highest health curriculum standards, Leven combines the overlapping national and state standards, using that information to drive his instruction.

    “Students move at their own pace,” he says. “Some may master the material in two days, while others will take two weeks before they go on. Students may sit in the classroom and take in information, but they need to apply it to learn.”

    Students who rotate through the nine-week health units are pulled from PE classes three days a week for three weeks.

    To make sure he knows where each student is on the learning curve, Leven gives a pre-test in Google Forms at the start of each unit.

    “If most students already know about a specific health standard, then I don’t have to spend much time and can move to a topic that students do not know much about,” he says. “Individual students who’ve mastered a specific learning standard are given an opportunity to further explain or go beyond the requirements to demonstrate their knowledge of a subject or topic. If a student is not understanding the material, I can adjust it until I’m confident he or she has mastered it.”

    How does Leven capture students’ interest in topics that range from first aid to drugs to sexual harassment and assault? He uses his physical education background and training in both education and technology to stage fake disasters, competitions, mock trials based on actual court cases, and other activities and games that require hands on problem solving.

    Besides presenting health knowledge in fun, engaging ways, the lessons may incorporate English, writing, public speaking, debate, research, analysis, decision-making, collaboration, and other valuable life skills.

    Implementation:

    To tackle the topic of sexual harassment, Leven’s eighth grade unit involves a mock trial inspired by the recent trial of Lawrence Nassar, former USA Gymnastics national team doctor and Michigan State University physician convicted in 2017 on several counts of sexual assault. The middle schoolers’ “trial” focuses on a similar case in Illinois.

    “Every student participates — we have an 12-member jury, court reporter, judge, plaintiff, defendant, defense and prosecuting attorneys, and news reporter,” says Leven. “The students have to come up with opening and closing statements, build evidence, interview witnesses, deliberate, and decide if the defendant is guilty or innocent. The kids get all dressed up and really get into it.”

    The cases and outcomes differ with each class and sometimes result in a hung jury.

    Seventh-graders at Twin Groves study the effects of prescription and recreational drugs in a March Madness-style competition. “Each student chooses and researches a specific drug, which might be anything from caffeine to Ritalin to cocaine,” Leven says. “They have 45 seconds in each round to present their material, offering their conclusions about whether it is potentially dangerous or harmful and whether it has an impact on society. Students then decide in each round who moves on.” The unit concludes with students telling what they learned about each of the drugs they and their classmates researched.

    The culminating activity of Leven’s sixthgrade first-aid unit is a staged accident or other disaster, where victims are assessed and “treated” by “paramedics.”

    “This is the age where many students start babysitting or taking care of their brothers or sisters, and this teaches them how to deal with choking, burns and other emergencies,” says Leven.

    The students who rotate through Leven’s nine-week health units are pulled from the mandatory five-day-a-week PE classes five days a week for three weeks rather than quarterly, which gives them just enough time to accomplish the standards without impacting students’ fitness, says Leven.

    “We experimented with different times to see what worked best,” he says. “Last year was the first year of this new system of rotating every trimestser, and we found that cardiovascular fitness scores increased from previous years.”

    The program gets full support and unlimited funding from the Kildeer Countryside School District 96 and its PTO.

    Results:

    To gauge mastery, students are given a Google Forms post-test, and the results are compared to the pre-test. “The goal is for 90 percent of all students to master each learning standard,” Leven says. The program’s positive results helped earn three consecutive Health Blue Ribbon Awards from the Illinois Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

    Takeaway:

    Creative, hands-on activities, coupled with ensuring mastery of each topic before moving ahead, has proved to be a winning formula for Twin Groves. “Our data is overwhelmingly in favor of this model,” Leven says. “It’s much more effective than reading a textbook — and the kids love it.”

    icon-thumbs-up-1SHAPE America’s Appropriate Practices in School-Based Health Education

    The physically literate individual:

  • Creating a positive and inclusive learning environment that engages students in learning the skills they need to live healthy lives
  • Implementing a sequential, comprehensive curriculum — aligned with the National Health Education Standards and other relevant frameworks— that is skills based, with an emphasis on developing health literacy
  • Employing instructional practices that engage students in learning and in developing their health-related skills
  • Using assessments that measure student growth, knowledge and health related skill development
  • Advocating for a positive school culture toward health and health education.
  • Above: At Twin Groves Middle School in Buffalo Grove, IL, SHAPE America member Ben Leven uses the national and state standards to build his units and drive instruction.

    “This is the age where many students start babysitting or taking care of their brothers or sisters, and this teaches them how to deal with choking, burns and other emergencies.”

    Ben Leven, Health Teacher

    Download A PDF

    Case-study-image-Hands-On Health

     

    Program Team

    Ben Leven, Health Teacher
    Jessica Barnes, Principal
    Jeff Cummings, Wellness Team Leader
    Nadine Dimare, School Social Worker

     

    icon-thumbs-up-150 Million Strong by 2029

    is SHAPE America’s commitment to put all children on the path to health and physical literacy through effective health and physical education programs. Across the country, HPE teachers and other supporters are making an impact by taking action in the following areas:

    • Effective Instruction
    • Healthy Behaviors & Physical Activity
    • Advocacy

    Want to know how you can make an impact? Learn more at shapeamerica.org/50million.

    Weightlifting Nurtures Strength, Patience and Character in Colorado Students

    Case-study-image-Weightlifting Nurtures Strength
    Issue:
    “My kids have always been active, but they have been pushed in other programs to advance too quickly, causing them to quit or sustain injuries,” notes a parent of two high school students in Windsor, CO. It’s a familiar scenario for many parents eager to nurture their child’s athleticism by enrolling them at a young age in a competitive sports league or program. As the stakes get higher, the pressure to win and be the best can lead to emotional burnout and injuries that can plague them for a lifetime. Some may give up on sports and exercise altogether.

    How about a sport that teaches patience and consistency, encourages students to work within their own comfort level, and demands they fully master a technique before advancing to the next one?

    Matt Cooper had this vision five years ago when he began teaching physical education at Colorado’s Windsor High School. Both a competitor and USA Weightlifting National Coach, Cooper knew firsthand about the sport’s physical benefits — balance, flexibility, speed, raw strength and core stability — and the emotional benefits such as patience, confidence, and motivation to adopt a nutritious, healthy lifestyle.

    “In weightlifting, students learn how to work toward something and focus on the details,” says Cooper, a SHAPE America member. “They learn that if you’re going to commit yourself to something, you need to do it exactly right to achieve your full potential.”

    Having heard many competitors lament that they wish they had started weightlifting earlier, he decided to bring the Olympic style sport to his own students.

    The Big Idea:

    Cooper’s plan was to introduce students to the sport as an elective in his PE class curriculum and create an after-school club, where more serious students could train for local and national competitions. But, much like the nature of weightlifting, he had to pass a series of hurdles himself before realizing his vision.

    “The first thing I had to do was completely change the weight room, which was a hodgepodge of old machines,” he says. “Most, like the leg press, were ‘one-trick ponies’ that took up a lot of space and didn’t allow the class to work on the same thing at the same time.”

    With no budget for an overhaul, Cooper teamed up with the local CrossFit gym to stage a fundraising competition. The publicity garnered the attention of a local truckyard owner, who gave another $3,000 after club members spent a day picking up trash and pulling weeds. In addition, a fitness equipment manufacturer donated a $2,000 gift card.

    The money allowed to Cooper to dismantle the weight room and start from scratch. Students now train in an uncluttered, 2,400-square-foot space, with adjustable benches and weights along the wall that offer “efficient platforms with infinite possibilities.” And, the CrossFit event has become an annual fundraiser, netting about
    $15,000 in the last four years.

    The other obstacle was a liability issue: The school district’s liability insurance did not cover unpaid positions. Because the weight room supervisor stipend position happened to open up at the time of Cooper starting the club, it allowed him to run the after school club while being covered under the district’s liability insurance.

    “I’m not doing it for money,” he says. “I’ve fallen in love with it. I have kids who trust me and dedicate themselves to it, and as I watch them get stronger and more motivated, that makes me more motivated. I’ve also been very fortunate to have an open-minded principal and administration.

    Implementation:

    NOTE: The USA Weightlifting High School Development Committee wants to help more teachers get weightlifting into their schools. They are offering $150 discounts to any PE teachers who want to get certified. For more information, write to Suzy Sanchez at suzy.sanchez@usaweightlifting.org.

    Hundreds of students every year are introduced to weightlifting in Cooper’s five elective PE classes each semester, and of those, 12 to 15 commit to the club’s training regime, which requires 1 1/2 hours after school three days a week and four days a week throughout the summer.

    Everyone begins with a one-on-one orientation in which they learn how to “snatch” and “clean and jerk” — the two basic techniques involved in hoisting heavy weights in one swift movement from the floor to their shoulders and over their heads. “They must be able to do it consistently and correctly before they can add any weights,” Cooper says. “Some students work on those techniques for a year, while others take to it immediately.”

    No one is ever pushed to advance — for example, one student with mobility issues spent weeks increasing his ankle mobility before ever touching a bar.

    Although weightlifting used to be male-dominated, it has emerged as the fastest growing sport among females, says Cooper, whose club is an even mix of boys and girls. There are even a few junior high students, including three incoming freshmen who have trained with him for a year.

    Results:

    The Windsor High School Weightlifting Club already has had 14 students qualify for Nationals, 12 of whom competed in cities around the country. Four have finished in the top 10 — including Donte, a senior who has made weightlifting his primary focus. “He will not miss a day and trains year-round,” says Cooper. “His family went to the mountains for a summer vacation and I reached out to a local gym so he could train there while he was away.”

    Donte’s dedication has paid off: Weighing just 128 pounds himself, he can snatch 170 pounds, clean-and-jerk 230 pounds (placing third overall at the 2018 USAW Junior National Championships) and backsquat 315 pounds. His younger brother Jeremiah followed him into the club, prompting their mother to write Cooper a letter of appreciation.

    “The individual strength, physically and mentally, that weightlifting requires is priceless,” the students’ mother said. “You must push yourself to be the best you can or want to be. So, when Donte asked if Jeremiah could join him in the weight room, I was overjoyed.” At age 11, Jeremiah has already qualified for Youth Nationals.

    “The boys now constantly encourage each other, not only in the weight room, but also at home,” adds the dad. “They push each other to better themselves in everything they do, from chores to school to sports. They
    talk to each other about accomplishments and fails. But fails are now mere trials for the next opportunity, because, in their perspective, there is no hurdle (or weight) they can’t overcome, they just keep trying.”

    Takeaway:

    Another parent, whose son and daughter have embraced weightlifting, observed that the patience and commitment that the sport requires translates to all areas of students’ lives:

    “The confidence my kids have gained has enabled them to resist peer pressure, learn to make independent decisions, and speak more confidently with others,” he said. “It’s fun to watch them have lengthy conversations with adults instead of the typical, one-word responses of teenagers. They also seem to be
    more resilient when things don’t go well. They focus on the positive, adjust their workout, review their technique, and move on. This attitude has helped them with disappointments outside of lifting and will certainly serve them well as they move into adulthood.”

    icon-thumbs-up-1SHAPE America’s National Standards for Physical Education

    The physically literate individual:

  • Demonstrates competency in a variety of motor skills and movement patterns.
  • Applies knowledge of concepts, principles, strategies and tactics related to movement and performance.
  • Demonstrates the knowledge and skills to achieve and maintain a health-enhancing level of physical activity and fitness.
  • Exhibits responsible personal and social behavior that respects self and others.
  • Recognizes the value of physical activity for health, enjoyment, challenge, self-expression and/or social interaction.
  • Above: At Colorado’s Windsor High School, students can elect to take weightlifting as part of the physical education curriculum.

    The individual strength, physically and mentally, that weightlifting requires is priceless, you must push yourself to be the best you can or want to be.

    Matt Cooper, Physical Education Teacher

    Download A PDF

    Weightlifting-Case-study-image

     

    Program Team

    Matt Cooper, Physical Education Teacher

     

    icon-thumbs-up-150 Million Strong by 2029

    is SHAPE America’s commitment to put all children on the path to health and physical literacy through effective health and physical education programs. Across the country, HPE teachers and other supporters are making an impact by taking action in the following areas:

    • Effective Instruction
    • Healthy Behaviors & Physical Activity
    • Advocacy

    Want to know how you can make an impact? Learn more at shapeamerica.org/50million.

    Individual Attention and District-Wide ‘PE Culture’ Keeps New York Students Moving Through Life

    Case-study-image-New Jersey Adventure Ed Program
    Issue:

    The nature of physical education creates a unique grading challenge for teachers who want to foster a lifelong love of physical activity. Should passing grades be awarded simply for showing up, participating and not misbehaving — or should knowledge, performance and mastery serve as the major criteria? How much weight do you give each of the factors involved in a physical activity? And, given that students will not excel at everything, will a low grade in one activity potentially discourage their participation in that activity (and maybe others) in the future?

    Performance comprises 60% of students’ PE grades at Victor Senior High School in New York’s Finger Lakes region, where students understand they must achieve certain outcomes — whether they are aiming arrows at a target, summiting a wall, or navigating fat tires down a mountain trail.

    For 15 years, the high school’s recently retired director of physcial education, health & athletics, Ron Whitcomb, helped build a diverse, skills-based program that gives assessments at every level. Whitcomb, a SHAPE America member, believes that with clear expectations and individual work, you can hold students accountable for PE and ignite a passion for activity that will carry them through college and beyond.

    The Big Idea:

    “By having a rubric for every activity, we know what the most important skills are that every teacher has to teach, and students clearly know whether they are meeting the challenge,” he says. It sounds simple — until you see the variety of activities offered at Victor Senior High School, including swimming, canoeing, kayaking, rock climbing, mountain climbing, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, ice skating, ballroom dancing, tennis, badminton, archery, golf, baseball, basketball, pickleball, volleyball, spinning, yoga, self-defense, and, starting next year, paddleboarding and fly-fishing.

    The Victor Central School District has always prioritized PE — so much so that it built a large aquatic center and indoor climbing wall. The high school’s 85-minute PE classes are offered four days a week, allowing time to bus students to local lakes, parks, mountain biking trails, a nearby skating rink, and other surrounding natural and man-made resources.

    Activities the school offers change every five weeks, except aquatics, which is required for all of the district’s 4,000 students in grades 1-12.

    Activities change every five weeks and almost all are optional — except aquatics, which is required for all of the district’s 4,000 students in grades 1-12. Whitcomb wrote the original K-12 curriculum based on the 1994 “Goals 2000” program and then spent 15 years “putting the pedal to the metal” to ensure its continued improvement.

    “We’ve worked with the district to add new equipment, like kayaks, bows and arrows, and mountain bikes, a few at a time,” he says.

    Implementation:

    Offering a plethora of activities is only one solution for hooking students on physical activity for life, says Whitcomb.

    “They key is finding a way to connect to those kids who say they don’t like PE. You need to knock down that wall by making them feel comfortable — talking with them and understanding who they are,” he says. “You have 25 kids in a class and you need to treat each one differently.”

    All students in the district become proficient swimmers, for example, because the two aquatics teachers and seven PE teachers work with them individually to make sure they have mastered each stroke before “getting in over their head.” Proficiency comprises 60% of the grade; the rest is equally divided between demonstrating personal and social responsibility and cognitive mastery of an activity’s skills, rules, etc.

    “Like English, math or any other class, we deliver information, content and knowledge,” says Whitcomb. “Students understand they need to earn their grade.”

    Each activity’s expectations, which have been approved by the administration and Board of Education, are clearly outlined during parent orientation at the start of each school year.

    “If a parent has a question, they can call a teacher and the teacher will explain why the student got that grade,” Whitcomb says. “It is so well-defined up front that teachers get almost zero calls, and students always get the grade they expect. Each student knows we will work with them to be successful.”

    Results:

    Although Whitcomb believes his curriculum is one of the best in the U.S., he says the real “measuring stick” of its success is seeing students get excited about physical activity and choose to continue it beyond high school.

    “When you hear them talk about how they learned to do an Eskimo roll in a kayak and reach the top of a rock wall or a mountain, you know you have made a big impact on their life,” he says. “Our kids often say that PE was one of the most influential classes they took in school, and some even go on to become PE teachers.”

    Takeaway:

    The continuity of a 15-year-old program creates a school culture that celebrates physical education, Whitcomb says. “Kids grow up in an environment where activity is part of their school experience from preK on,” he says. “Every teacher believes in it and does it themselves. As a result, I could count on one hand the number of kids who aren’t participating.”

    icon-thumbs-up-1SHAPE America’s National Standards for Physical Education

    The physically literate individual:

  • Demonstrates competency in a variety of motor skills and movement patterns.
  • Applies knowledge of concepts, principles, strategies and tactics related to movement and performance.
  • Demonstrates the knowledge and skills to achieve and maintain a health-enhancing level of physical activity and fitness.
  • Exhibits responsible personal and social behavior that respects self and others.
  • Recognizes the value of physical activity for health, enjoyment, challenge, self-expression and/or social interaction.
  • Above: Victor Senior High School in New York offers 85-minute physical education classes four days a week.

    “The key is finding a way to connect to those kids who say they don’t like PE. You need to knock down that wall by making them feel comfortable — talking with them and understanding who they are.”

    Ron Whitcomb, Director of Physical Education, Health & Athletics (retired)

    Download A PDF

    Case-study-image-PE Culture’ Keeps New York Students Moving

     

    Program Team

    Ron Whitcomb, Director of Physical Education, Health & Athletics (retired)

    Trevor Sousa, Physical Education Teacher

    Shelly Collins, Physical Education Teacher

    Kelly Ahern, Physical Education Teacher

    Gina Potenza, Physical Education Teacher

     

    icon-thumbs-up-150 Million Strong by 2029

    is SHAPE America’s commitment to put all children on the path to health and physical literacy through effective health and physical education programs. Across the country, HPE teachers and other supporters are making an impact by taking action in the following areas:

    • Effective Instruction
    • Healthy Behaviors & Physical Activity
    • Advocacy

    Want to know how you can make an impact? Learn more at shapeamerica.org/50million.

    CT Elementary Students to Learn ‘G.R.E.A.T’ Decision-Making Skills for Health and Personal Safety

    Case-study-image-Great Decision-Making Skills
    Issue:

    As Time magazine pointed out in a past issue devoted to health, “The road to wellness begins in childhood and twists and turns over time.” But where do children learn the tools for navigating this winding road and its unseen pitfalls?

    If parents are not successful navigators themselves, it’s unlikely they will teach their children the skills needed to maintain physical and mental health — including nutritious eating, weight control, personal safety, safety prevention skills, tobacco use deterrence, stress control, disease prevention and management, emotional and social health, and alcohol and drug abuse prevention.

    That leaves a big job for schools — and one that many districts are taking seriously. New Canaan Public Schools in Connecticut is one of the districts that is transforming the way it approaches health education to ensure that students get the skills they need for lifelong wellness.

    The Big Idea:

    “The New Canaan Public Schools established a district goal to review the district’s health curriculum two years ago and formed a research action committee to review and analyze it to identify any gaps there might be,” says Jonathan Adams, SHAPE America member and K-8 health and physical education coordinator in the New Canaan Public Schools (NCPS).

    “The idea is to reinforce the skills by having students ‘live’ them throughout the year,” says SHAPE America member and K-8 health and physical education coordinator Jonathan Adams.

    In addressing state mandate’s, the committee identified that the district needed to provide health education at the elementary level. “Personal safety was identified as one of the gaps in the third and fourth grades,” says Adams.

    Implementation:

    Beginning in the 2019-20 school year, NCPS’s three elementary schools will pilot a grade 3-4 health curriculum that will focus on teaching communication and decision making skills to ensure personal safety.

    “Giving knowledge isn’t enough — there is no guarantee that students will apply that knowledge in various situations,” says Adams, who taught health education and adaptive PE at NCPS for eight years before taking over as health and physical education coordinator two years ago.
    “Skills are critical.”

    The acronym deconstructs the decision making process into five components:

  • Give thought as you identify each scenario.
  • Review/brainstorm your options.
  • Evaluate the outcome of each.
  • Assess each one and choose the best option.
  • Think it over afterward. Would you make the same decision next time?
  •  

    While developing the unit and lessons, the health education teachers take a backwards design approach and use curriculum resources from SHAPE America as well as two books: The Essentials of Teaching Health Education and Lesson Planning for Skills-Based Health Education, both by Sarah Benes and Holly Alperin.

    The lessons will include “carpet time,” when the third- and fourth-graders gather on the floor to review what they’ve learned before going off to practice its implementation. The lessons will align to the National Health Education Standards. As the curriculum continues to develop, lessons will address sexual assault and abuse prevention, drug awareness and prevention, healthy eating, childhood injuries, seat belt and pedestrian safety, healthy relationships, disease prevention, saying no to dares, and other critical topics.

    “We also will give all the lessons and materials to the classroom teachers to embed and integrate into other content areas,” Adams says. “The idea is to reinforce the skills by having students ‘live’ them throughout the year.”

    Results:

    Although NCPS’s pilot program doesn’t launch until next year, Adams views the district’s growing health education program as a tangible success. “We have identified gaps and are implementing state mandates with overwhelming support from parents, the community, and the administration,” he says. “We’ve seen a lot of movement in a very short period of time.”

    The elementary school pilot will help round out the district’s programs already in place for older students. Currently NCPS fifth-graders can become TV “news anchors,” reporting news segments on various health issues. They get to be filmed in front of a green screen, backed by footage and images of statistics and prevention steps on their chosen topic.

    In addition, high school students research health topics to present to elected “government officials,” which includes writing grants for hypothetical $100,000 programs designed to address societal issues such as underage drinking and drug use. “They put their health knowledge into action, as they learn how to access valid and reliable information, write grants, work in groups, and present their cases to groups in written and verbal form,” says Adams.

    Takeaway:

    The district believes it is never too early to teach students the skills they need to improve their health literacy and foster
    the capability to make informed decisions. “By shifting to a skills-based program, we are transforming the way we look at health education,” Adams says. “We are developing a program where Skills. Build. Health.”

    icon-thumbs-up-1SHAPE America’s Appropriate Practices in School-Based Health Education

    The physically literate individual:

  • Creating a positive and inclusive learning environment that engages students in learning the skills they need to live healthy lives
  • Implementing a sequential, comprehensive curriculum — aligned with the National Health Education Standards and other relevant frameworks— that is skills based, with an emphasis on developing health literacy
  • Employing instructional practices that engage students in learning and in developing their health-related skills
  • Using assessments that measure student growth, knowledge and health related skill development
  • Advocating for a positive school culture toward health and health education.
  • Above: At New Canaan Public Schools in Connecticut, three schools developed a pilot health curriculum for grades 3-4 health curriculum that focuses on teaching communication and decision-making skills to ensure personal safety.

    “The New Canaan Public Schools established a district goal to review the district’s health curriculum two years ago and formed a research action committee to review and analyze it to identify any gaps there might be.”

    Jonathan Adams, K-8 Health and Physical Education Coordinator

    Download A PDF

    Case-study-image-CT Elementary Students to Learn GREAT Decision-Making Skills

     

    Program Team

    Dr. Jill Correnty, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment

    Jonathan Adams, K-8 Health and Physical Education Coordinator

    Jay Egan, Athletic Director and Wellness Coordinator

    NCPS Health Education Teachers

     

    icon-thumbs-up-150 Million Strong by 2029

    is SHAPE America’s commitment to put all children on the path to health and physical literacy through effective health and physical education programs. Across the country, HPE teachers and other supporters are making an impact by taking action in the following areas:

    • Effective Instruction
    • Healthy Behaviors & Physical Activity
    • Advocacy

    Want to know how you can make an impact? Learn more at shapeamerica.org/50million.

    “To Belay or Not to Belay?” Is Never a Question in New Jersey Adventure Ed Program

    Case-study-image-New Jersey Adventure Ed Program
    By the time many students graduate from New Jersey’s Millburn High School, they can attribute much of their growth, self-confidence,and critical life skills to “tests” that are far from conventional — like traversing a shaky cable suspended 30 feet above the ground. Or sailing through the air upside down on a zipline. Or climbing an intimidating wall, net or pole — and trusting a harness, fellow students and inner resources to get back down safely.

    Challenging student’s comfort zones is the name of the game in Mark Friedrich’s adventure education class, which students in grades 9-12 can take several times as part of the school’s unique Elective Physical Education Program.

    The Big Idea:

    When Daniel Brundage, former Millburn K-12 health and physical education supervisor, first proposed the idea of adventure education to the local Education Foundation in 2004, getting community, parental and administrative support for a program no one knew anything about was virtually unprecedented. Neither Friedrich nor the two other teachers who were handpicked to teach the new class had adventure education training or experience. But, the Foundation’s $26,200 grant made many things possible.

    Brundage worked with Universal Ropes Course Builders Inc. to design and install the indoor and outdoor challenge courses, and Friedrich and his colleagues went off to learn the ropes — literally — at a fourday Project Adventure training program in Covington, GA. As the teachers became acquainted with course elements like the “Catwalk,” “Pirates Crossing,” “Two Line Bridge,” and “Pamper Pole,” they also learned that adventure education demands 100 percent of a teacher’s energy and attention.

    The class uses the “experiential education” approach, which is based on the research of John Dewey, the pre-eminent educational theorist of the 20th century, Friedrich explains. Dewey found that people learn the most when they are actively involved in their learning and feel a sense of control over what they are learning.

    “Experiential learners also find relevancy and attractiveness in their learning material and are given opportunities to reflect on their experiences, so they can make connections with other life aspects and future learning,” says Friedrich, a SHAPE America member and 23-year teaching veteran. Besides ensuring students’ safety and creating activities that foster cooperation and communication, instructors must provide emotional support to help allay students’ fears and self-doubt.

    “You constantly have students saying, ‘I can’t do it,’” says Friedrich, who has a master’s degree in adventure education and also teaches it at a summer day camp for younger students. “You can’t be standing on the sidelines — you have to be nurturing, comforting and encouraging students, while continually assessing whether a situation constitutes a genuine emergency or is just an emotional crisis that can be overcome.”

    Implementation:

    Students at Millburn High can choose adventure education as a PE elective for up to three marking periods each year, but driver’s education and health classes during that time slot usually preclude 10th-12th graders from year-long participation.

    The mixed-grade classes, averaging 24 students each, meet four days a week for eight weeks. Fall and spring classes are held on the outdoor challenge course, which has more than 25 low (under 12 feet), middle (15 feet) and high (16-35 feet) elements, and winter classes use the seven indoor, (25 feet) stationary climbing elements.

    “Students don’t change their clothes, so we save 10 minutes of locker-room time,” says Friedrich. They bring athletic shoes and must cross three sports fields to reach the outdoor course, which provides 10 minutes of walking.

    All classes begin each marking period with ground-level activities, where students work on social-emotional skills, such as collaboration, communication, trust-building and problem-solving, as well as technical skills such as tying climbing knots and belaying, says Friedrich. Climbing teams include head and back-up belayers, and students must learn all positions before they venture up the wall or other apparatus.

    “Students work under the ‘Challenge by Choice’ philosophy, which allows them to monitor their personal level of comfort in all class activities,” he adds. “It emphasizes student choices and promotes group interaction at their own personal level of comfort to prevent panic or stress. Getting students’ buy-in on activities early on allows for more success when technical skills and climbing are introduced.”

    Friedrich uses what he calls the “‘telemarketer’s principle,” asking students three times to consider taking the next step before coming down, and encourages them to set slightly higher goals for themselves each time. “Students are motivated by their classmates’ accomplishments and are thrilled when they ‘first-time’ something,” says Friedrich.

    The annual cost of about $2,000, paid by school district, includes staff training and ground-level props and equipment, as well as yearly inspection and maintenance or replacement of expired equipment. Friedrich estimates that about $50,000 has been invested since 2005, which has helped fund four large additions to the course.

    Results:

    Adventure education supplies innumerable benefits, including physical and mental acuity and emotional and social skills that serve students in college, the workforce, and family life, says Friedrich. “Students learn how to trust themselves and their classmates. I watch self-confidence building and friendships forming as students conquer their fear of heights and learn they can accomplish anything they set out to.” Program T-shirts/Apparel reinforce the concept of teamwork with the word “Ubuntu,” which is Zulu for “I am because we are.” Students know their success is based on helping and caring for each other.

    Each marking period, about 60 percent of the class roster is made up of students who have already taken the class at least once. The record-setter is Katelynn Bissett, a senior who has enrolled eight times. She will join Friedrich after graduation as a high ropes instructor at Camp Riverbend in Warren, NJ. “Katelynn came to the program in Fall 2014 and never looked down again,” Friedrich says. “She immediately fell in love with the program and has grown as a student, climber and leader.”

    Millburn High School’s Adventure Education Program has received national media attention, including a recent segment on Fox News as part of Teacher Appreciation Week. Friedrich has presented his program at SHAPE America conventions and other workshops around the country, and in 2016 was named Secondary Physical Education Teacher of the Year by the New Jersey Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (NJAHPERD).

    Takeaway:

    The Millburn High School Adventure Education Program was fortunate to have allies from its inception, starting with an Education Foundation that prioritizes physical education, as well as a supportive school administration, says Friedrich. “The program would not exist without administrators who believed in the program and the values it instills in the students who take the course,” he says. “Superintendent Christine Burton has been one of its biggest supporters and has even taken on some of the adventures herself by climbing on our challenge course.”

    icon-thumbs-up-1SHAPE America’s National Standards for Physical Education

    The physically literate individual:

  • Demonstrates competency in a variety of motor skills and movement patterns.
  • Applies knowledge of concepts, principles, strategies and tactics related to movement and performance.
  • Demonstrates the knowledge and skills to achieve and maintain a health-enhancing level of physical activity and fitness.
  • Exhibits responsible personal and social behavior that respects self and others.
  • Recognizes the value of physical activity for health, enjoyment, challenge, self-expression and/or social interaction.
  • Above: At Millburn High School, students such as Katelynn Bissett can choose adventure education as a PE elective.

    “Students work under the ‘Challenge by Choice’ philosophy, which allows them to monitor their personal level of comfort in all class activities,” he adds. “It emphasizes student choices and promotes group
    interaction at their own personal level of comfort to prevent panic or stress.”

    Mark Friedrich, Instructor of Adventure Education, Millburn High School

    Download A PDF

    Case-study-image-New Jersey Adventure Ed Program

     

    Program Team

    Mark Friedrich, Instructor of Adventure Education, Millburn High School

    Daniel Brundage, Assistant Principal, Millburn Middle School, and former Millburn K-12 Health & Physical Education Supervisor

    Millburn/Short Hills Education Foundation, Community-led organization responsible for funding the majority of the Adventure Education Program since its 2005 inception

    Dr. Christine Burton, Superintendent, Millburn Schools

    Dr. William Miron, Principal, Millburn High School

    Mark Miller, Installer/Course Designer/Equipment Supplier, The Adventure Guild (formerly Universal Ropes Course Builders Inc.), Albrightsville, PA

     

    icon-thumbs-up-150 Million Strong by 2029

    is SHAPE America’s commitment to put all children on the path to health and physical literacy through effective health and physical education programs. Across the country, HPE teachers and other supporters are making an impact by taking action in the following areas:

    • Effective Instruction
    • Healthy Behaviors & Physical Activity
    • Advocacy

    Want to know how you can make an impact? Learn more at shapeamerica.org/50million.

    When Zombies Appear, Fitness Comes to Life at Maryland Middle School

    Case-study-image-Tennessee K-4 Students’ Daily Dose of Physical Education
    Issue:
    Is technology the enemy of physical activity and fitness for today’s students — or a valuable tool in getting them to embrace it? Bob Russell, physical education and health teacher at Cockeysville Middle School in Maryland, believes technology, when used properly, may hold the key to changing young people’s exercise behaviors for the better.

    Russell, 65, decided to become a PE teacher at age 40 after working for years in heating and air-conditioning and raising five children. “I told my wife I was dissatisfied with my job and wanted to go back to school,” he says. “She was completely supportive and held down the fort for two-and-a-half years while I became a PE teacher. I wanted to be a better teacher than what I had seen.”

    The Big Idea:

    When he entered the teaching profession, Russell watched kids in PE classes standing around disengaged, and thought, “I need to change this game.” He spent a total of 13 years at a high school, six of which he was a coordinator for the Sports Science Academy, a magnet program. This program was for students who wanted to pursue sports-related careers. He finally found his niche in middle school, where he taps creativity and technology to modify traditional activities like flag football, orienteering and swing dancing.

    “Smartphones are here to stay, so we need to find ways to use them in an educational environment,” the tech-savvy teacher noted in a video presentation for SHAPE America that demonstrated how to control cell phone use, find useful apps, generate QR codes, and create a YouTube channel to enhance fitness teaching. Russell, a SHAPE America member, points out that smartphone apps, including pedometers, global positioning system
    (GPS) units, workout videos, performance trackers, physically active games, and other tools, can easily “sneak” fitness into students’ lives.

    Implementation:

    Russell had learned orienteering in elementary school and decided to give it a technology upgrade for his middle-schoolers, who now use their smartphones to pinpoint GPS coordinates, and maps and compasses to locate 70 painted markers placed on trees and poles. “They learn navigation, gain cardiovascular conditioning through interval workouts, acquire fitness knowledge, and solve math equations,” he says. “Technology can be extremely useful when it furthers or deepens the students’ learning.”

    Heart rate monitors show them how their heart functions and how physical activity enhances cardiovascular health.

    The idea of creating entertaining and instructional videos came from his oldest son, who works for the Discovery Channel. One of Russell’s more than two dozen videos, which features student “zombies” dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” kicks off the much-anticipated Zombie Run at the start of each school year. It’s basically a game of tag, but “when you add the zombie component, students run their tails off,” Russell says.

    The “Pokemon a-Go-Go” Unit, which also launched with a fun video, is a large-scale scavenger hunt that sends student teams on a competitive chase to find Pokemon cones. Some cones direct them to perform other fitness activities, like a series of jumping jacks, before they can race off in search of the next one. Students must use their phones to photograph one Pokemon for each team member before time runs out.

    The Social Dancing Unit doesn’t rely on technology — just popular music that sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders can’t resist dancing to. Russell says he’s more of a dance promoter than a dance teacher, but his demonstration video shows he knows his way around the dance floor. His students have learned a variety of “old-school” dance styles in a non-competitive setting. “They especially love swing,” he says.

    Russell works the National Standards into the fast-paced line dance routines to songs like “Cotton-Eyed Joe,” “Footloose,” and “Uptown Funk.” Middle-schoolers are not typically early risers, but they have no problem showing up for the 7 a.m. Wednesday Dance Club.

    Results:

    Cockeysville Middle School’s innovative PE program recently won a Maryland PE Demonstration Award, following a long process of refinement. “Our county PE supervisor suggested we apply for the program six years ago, but we all felt we needed to tighten up on a lot of things that were lacking,” says Russell. “We have improved activities and disciplines that fall under SHAPE America’s National Standards for K-12 Physical Education and discarded those that did not. It was an incredible challenge, but also very rewarding. We are still working and fine-tuning activities to get the best educational results from our students. This will always be an ongoing process.”

    Russell would love to see all middle school students receive a heart rate monitor as part of their PE uniform. “Our fourth- and fifth-period eighth-graders wore heart rate monitors for over a month and participated in four weekly eight-minute run/walk assessments,” he says. “Their total laps, percentages of laps, average heart rate, and maximum heart rate were recorded on each run. It proved that by participating in a variety of cardiovascular activities on a consistent basis, they could increase their running distance, as well as possibly lower their average heart rate.”

    Takeaway:

    Russell believes that sixth grade is the ideal time to introduce students to new fitness activities. “There are huge changes by seventh grade, and you get rebellion,” he says. He also recommends finding activities you already have equipment for (his entire budget is $3,000), using the technology tools at your disposal, and modifying or inventing games that engage students while meeting the National Standards. Above all, keep tapping into what kids like — and don’t hesitate to rewrite everything as you go along. “What you are teaching today may be different tomorrow, so you must remain flexible,” says Russell.

    When you introduce unconventional methods for teaching PE and fitness, it’s also important to have the backing of administration, adds Russell, whose characteristic rule-bending, while liked by students, had met with administrative resistance in a former job. “I don’t think outside the box; I have no box,” he says. “Without a supportive principal who was willing to listen and make it work, this never could have happened.”

    icon-thumbs-up-1SHAPE America’s National Standards for Physical Education

    The physically literate individual:

  • Demonstrates competency in a variety of motor skills and movement patterns.
  • Applies knowledge of concepts, principles, strategies and tactics related to movement and performance.
  • Demonstrates the knowledge and skills to achieve and maintain a health-enhancing level of physical activity and fitness.
  • Exhibits responsible personal and social behavior that respects self and others.
  • Recognizes the value of physical activity for health, enjoyment, challenge, self-expression and/or social interaction.
  • Above: At Maryland’s Cockeysville Middle School, the “Zombie Run” is a highly anticipated part of the PE curriculum.

    “Thriller,” kicks off the much-anticipated Zombie Run at the start of each school year. It’s basically a game of tag, but “when you add the zombie component, students run their tails off.

    Russell LeBlanc, Department Chair, Physical Education & Health

    Download A PDF

    Case-study-image-When Zombies Appear, Fitness Comes to Life at Maryland Middle School

     

    Program Team

    Bob Russell, Physical Education/Health Teacher

    Russell LeBlanc, Department Chair, Physical Education & Health

    Sherry Green, Physical Education/Health Teacher

    Jen Bestenheider, Physical Education Teacher

     

    icon-thumbs-up-150 Million Strong by 2029

    is SHAPE America’s commitment to put all children on the path to health and physical literacy through effective health and physical education programs. Across the country, HPE teachers and other supporters are making an impact by taking action in the following areas:

    • Effective Instruction
    • Healthy Behaviors & Physical Activity
    • Advocacy

    Want to know how you can make an impact? Learn more at shapeamerica.org/50million.

    Tennessee K-4 Students’ Daily Dose of Physical Education Teaches Fitness Skills for a Lifetime

    Case-study-image-Tennessee K-4 Students’ Daily Dose of Physical Education
    Issue:
    Nearly 35 percent of Tennessee adults are considered obese, which ranks it sixth in the U.S., according to a national study released in August 2017. Up 21 percent since 2000, the obesity rate also brings many related health issues, including diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, heart disease, and obesity-related cancer.

    But there is evidence that things may be changing for the better: Obesity rates among students in grades K, 2, 4, 6, 8, and high school have declined 6.3 percent since the early 2000s. Partial credit may be given to the Tennessee Department of Education’s Office of Coordinated Student Health (CSH), which was established in 2001 to improve students’ health and capacity to learn.

    Bolstered by state funding and a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all Tennessee public schools have implemented CSH measures since 2007-08, one of which is the requirement that schools provide 90 minutes per week of physical activity time. Since CSH’s implementation, 289 schools have set up in-school fitness rooms; 331 schools have new or updated playgrounds; and 467 schools have developed walking tracks or trails.

    The Big Idea:

    A few Tennessee school districts have chosen to go well beyond the CSH requirements. Such is the case with the Franklin Special School District, whose 504-student Moore Elementary School has historically chosen to make physical education a priority. Since 1979, the school district has included daily PE classes in its curriculum in K-4, says PE teacher Kathy Clark, SHAPE America member and one of three full-time, certified PE teachers at Moore Elementary School.

    Clark and another current PE teacher have taught at Moore Elementary since it opened.

    She believes their longevity lends a stability that has created a culture of appreciation and expectation for effective PE among students, parents and staff. Although the PE program only has a $600-a-year budget, extra funding always seems to be available for special projects.

    “We are able to get what we need, no matter how big the dream,” says Clark. “It just takes a while sometimes. We use the American Heart Association’s Jump Rope For Heart resources, apply for grants, or utilize school fundraisers.”

    When Moore was built, there was no designated space for physical education classes — just a multipurpose room that proved inadequate for the type of program the PE teachers envisioned. “We used the ‘commons’ area outside the classrooms,” says Clark. “Nineteen years later, we finally got the gym we had asked for.”

    Implementation:

    Despite having no gym for nearly two decades, Moore Elementary still managed to create a daily PE program, restrict class size to 20 or fewer students, and make optimal use of outdoor space.

    At Moore, physical education starts in kindergarten with an innovative brain development and stimulation program called readyK, developed by the school’s PE, art, library and music staff.

    “The readyK program builds a strong foundation for moving and learning that continues throughout fourth grade,” says Clark. The daily, 30-minute PE program for grades 1-4 includes a progressive and sequential curriculum that meets state and national standards.

    “Our students don’t receive grades on their report cards for PE,” Clark says. “We assess and report to parents their kids’ fitness with FitnessGram every fall and spring.” Not having grades doesn’t mean students aren’t motivated, she adds. “Most parents know that their kids’ favorite part of the day is going to the gym.”

    With a staff of three full-time PE teachers, the school is able to offer several before- and after-school fitness programs, including walking and running clubs and jump rope club. For the past 25 years, fourth-graders also have participated in the 28-mile Walk to Wellness on the Natchez Trace, a historic national parkway that extends from Nashville to Natchez, MS. About 90 percent of the class takes part in the challenging, two-day event each May, which requires eight weeks of after-school training. No buses run after hours, so students need to arrange for private transportation to get home.

    Participants walk 18 hilly miles the first day, accompanied on highway stretches by a deputy sheriff escort. They stop at 5 p.m. and spend the night in the school gym, rising early to complete the final 10 miles by 1:30 p.m. the following day, when a bus returns them to school.

    “It’s a huge accomplishment that is life-changing,” Clark says. She’s helped train students who are obese and students who have disabilities that require a wheelchair. “Very few students are disinterested in the walk,” she says. “I’ve had one or two kids who opted out because they were morbidly obese. The kids learn that nobody is going to bring them back — they have to finish the walk themselves.”

    Results:

    One former student’s testimonial illustrates the impact of the 28-mile walk:

    “The experience shaped the person I am today, because I was able to conquer a challenge that in my young mind seemed near impossible,” wrote one student years later as a senior in high school. “It really drove home the concept that ‘I can do anything I put my mind to,’ and I have continued to strive to do so ever since, both in academics and outside the classroom. I honestly believe that there is no mental wall that I cannot scale. Not only that, but the friendships and bonds I made with the people I walked with are still standing strong today.”

    Takeaway:

    Now in her 40th year of teaching, Clark has witnessed the health improvements and growth that daily physical education can foster. “When you have only one or two days of PE a week, you can’t begin to accomplish what you can when you see your students every day. It is the greatest determining factor in our effectiveness.” She says that having three full-time PE teachers with varying interests and expertise helps them keep the program fresh and fun for students. “We are constantly evaluating our program and seeking to improve what we teach and how we teach,” she notes.

    The programs implemented at Moore Elementary School may not be enough to reverse the adult obesity rate throughout Tennessee, but the school’s online FitnessGram results show that progress is being made — and that students are learning from a young age that fitness is both fun and rewarding.

    icon-thumbs-up-1SHAPE America’s National Standards for Physical Education

    The physically literate individual:

  • Demonstrates competency in a variety of motor skills and movement patterns.
  • Applies knowledge of concepts, principles, strategies and tactics related to movement and performance.
  • Demonstrates the knowledge and skills to achieve and maintain a health-enhancing level of physical activity and fitness.
  • Exhibits responsible personal and social behavior that respects self and others.
  • Recognizes the value of physical activity for health, enjoyment, challenge, self-expression and/or social interaction.
  • Above: Tennessee’s Moore Elementary School has included daily physical education classes since it opened 28 years ago, and thrives despite an annual budget of $600.

    We are able to get what we need, no matter how big the dream, it just takes a while sometimes.

    Kathy Clark, Physical Education Specialist

    Download A PDF

    Case-study-image-Tennessee K-4 Students’ Daily Dose of Physical Education

     

    Program Team

    Kathy Clark, Physical Education Specialist

    John Parks, Physical Education Specialist

    Tiffany Carlton, Physical Education Specialist

    Alicia Barker, FSSD School Board Member

    Tim Stillings, FSSD School Board Chair

     

    icon-thumbs-up-150 Million Strong by 2029

    is SHAPE America’s commitment to put all children on the path to health and physical literacy through effective health and physical education programs. Across the country, HPE teachers and other supporters are making an impact by taking action in the following areas:

    • Effective Instruction
    • Healthy Behaviors & Physical Activity
    • Advocacy

    Want to know how you can make an impact? Learn more at shapeamerica.org/50million.

    With Nowhere to Go but up, Louisiana PE Advocates Tip the Scales in Their Favor

    ESSA-CaseStudy Louisiana PE
    Issue:
    “Louisiana is the highest-ranked state for both childhood and adult obesity,” notes Bonnie Richardson, physical education teacher at the Baton Rouge Foreign Language Academic Immersion Magnet (FLAIM) elementary school for the past three-and-a-half decades. While that grim statistic might seem to be reason enough to ensure funding for robust health and physical education (HPE) programs in Louisiana schools, she knew from experience that it wasn’t that simple. The only way to keep the state’s students active was to be an activist herself.

    Richardson, a SHAPE America member, was president of the Louisiana Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (LAHPERD) when the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) passed in late 2015. By finally recognizing that health and physical education were critical components of a student’s well-rounded education, the legislation was considered a major victory, but the battle was far from over. Health and physical education could be included among the 18 subjects in the “well-rounded” realm, but funding allocations would be decided at the state level — and getting a proper share would require aggressive and strategic action.

    The Big Idea:

    Shortly after the passage of ESSA, Richardson and LAPHERD Advocacy Chair JiJi Jonas went to SHAPE America’s SPEAK Out! Day in Washington, D.C., which included a two-day training session on ESSA and advocacy, as well as an opportunity to speak to the Louisiana congressional delegation. The experience was beyond inspirational. “We got on fire,” she says.

    Back in their home state, they attended a town hall meeting arranged by the Louisiana Department of Education (DOE) designed to gain input on educational funding options.

    “We didn’t get recognized to speak until the very end, when DOE Superintendent John White asked, ‘What can I do for you?’” Richardson recalls. “I said, ‘Actually, it’s what we can do for you. We can help you come up with a cost-effective plan that would include physical education.’”

    Intrigued, the superintendent asked LAHPERD to form a committee and devise a plan — which they would present to the DOE — for including physical education in the state’s ESSA. Richardson reached out to her Kentucky counterpart and friend Jamie Sparks, then president of the Kentucky Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (KAHPERD), which already had undertaken a massive lobbying effort to secure state funding for health and PE.

    Based on Sparks’ experiences and recommendations, Richardson pulled together a team that included the state physical education coordinator, three LAHPERD past presidents, educators from Louisiana State University (LSU), and representatives from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, an advocacy organization working to support childhood health through education, engagement and partnerships.

    “They can help you bring all the data together and work with you to improve your health and PE programs,” she says. “Getting their support was a win-win — and it helped to get the state DOE excited.”

    Implementation:

    With her foot in the door, Richardson was going to take full advantage of every opportunity to make her case for health and physical education. In the spring of 2017, she was asked to testify before the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education in support of her group’s efforts with ESSA. “The Board was evenly split on whether to accept the Louisiana ESSA framework, which incorporated our suggestions, and send it on to Washington — or keep it on the back burner,” Richardson says. As one of the last to speak, she knew the pressure was on.

    She had brought along a poster by Charles Hillman, professor of kinesiology and community health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which included graphics showing the connection between childhood aerobic fitness and learning and memory. “A picture is worth a thousand words,” she says.

    Richardson spoke passionately about the impressive results she had witnessed in her own elementary PE program (recognized in a 2017 SHAPE America case study), and shared that students who did specific cross-body exercises at the start of the school day had greater focus and were ready for learning. At the end of Richardson’s five-minute presentation, the audience broke out in applause.

    Takeaway:

    “As the president of LAHPERD, I had to be vocal and visible and take on a leadership role,” Richardson says, acknowledging that speaking in front of decision makers is out of her “comfort zone.” She is determined to keep lobbying as long as necessary, knowing that Congress has yet to decide next year’s ESSA allocations, and that the future of health and physical education is far from secure. “I’m trying to get more people to take on an advocacy role, because I’m not going to be around forever doing this,” she says. “We need to finish doing what we need to do.”

    Results:

    Louisiana was one of the first states to have a physical education component included in its ESSA Framework, which was sent to Washington, D.C., in April 2017. So far, only eight states have had similar success.

    Richardson continues to crusade to keep health and PE in the forefront of state decision makers’ minds. “I’ve since been asked to be one of the 10 members of the Interest and Opportunities group, which meets quarterly with the Louisiana DOE to develop a plan to include all of the different areas and subjects in ESSA,” she says. “It is innovative in that they have asked teachers, supervisors and others to be a part of this planning, so that Louisiana presents the best to our students.”

    Richardson and Jonas recently returned from SHAPE America’s 2018 SPEAK Out! Day, where Richardson participated in a panel discussion about Louisiana’s successful advocacy efforts. Both women met with congressional aides to impress upon them how important it is to gain full ESSA funding in the future. “They saw how passionate we were about health and PE and the need for physical literacy among our students and promised that they would take our case to the senators and representatives,” she says. “We will keep doing whatever we need to do to help our state reverse obesity.”

    icon-thumbs-up-1SHAPE America’s National Standards for Physical Education

    The physically literate individual:

  • Demonstrates competency in a variety of motor skills and movement patterns.
  • Applies knowledge of concepts, principles, strategies and tactics related to movement and performance.
  • Demonstrates the knowledge and skills to achieve and maintain a health enhancing level of physical activity and fitness.
  • Exhibits responsible personal and social behavior that respects self and others.
  • Recognizes the value of physical activity for health, enjoyment, challenge, self-expression and/or social interaction.
  • Above: Former LAHPERD President Bonnie Richardson spoke to the Louisiana Department of Education and testified in front of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education in support of ESSA funding.

    Actually, it’s what we
    can do for you. We can help you come up with a cost-effective plan that would include physical education.

    Bonnie Richardson, PE Teacher and LAHPERD President

    Download A PDF

    LAHPERD-ESSA-case-study

     

    Program Team

    Bonnie Richardson,
    PE Teacher and LAHPERD President

    JiJi Jonas,
    LAHPERD Advocacy Chair and Active Schools Coordinator

    Erica Gilliam,
    Manager of the Healthy Schools and Community Programs for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation

    Lynn Williamson,
    LAHPERD Executive Director

    Kathy Hill,
    Former LAHPERD Executive Director and current LAHPERD Community Liaison and Tour de Fitness Chair