Friday, July 30, 2010

Madison County Schools: PEP Grant Hopeful

Meet Madison County School District - second year PEP Grant hopeful. We're pretty confident this school will be successful with their health and wellness program - with or without the PEP Grant!

Good luck Madison County Schools!

County schools seeking physical education grant

RICHMOND — Madison County Schools has applied for a grant that would provide all 17 schools the opportunity to participate in PE4Life.

The 2010 PEP Grant is part of the Carol M. White Physical Education Program and will award grants between $100,000 to $750,000, with the average grant being $427,000, according to the PE4Life website.

Grant winners are expected to be announced in September.

“We had a program last year at Shannon Johnson Elementary School and B. Michael Caudill Middle School, where we put in fitness labs, action based learning labs and we did lots of things to increase physical activity and nutrition,” said Kathy Todd, who teaches physical education at Shannon Johnson and is a member of the district’s coordinated school health advisory council.

“If we get the grant, we will be able to implement new physical education curriculums in all the schools,” she said, adding that Farristown Middle School, which is scheduled to open in Berea in the fall of 2011, also would be equipped with PE4Life.

PE4life is a national non-profit organization dedicated to developing a country of active and healthy children and youth by increasing access to quality physical education, according to its website.

To read this story in full, visit The Richmond Register.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

YES, YOU CAN come to the PE4life Resource Conference!

Want to attend the PE4life Resource Conference?
Not enough money in your school budget?
Administration won’t allow for time off?

We know times are tough. Schools are facing small to non-existing budgets and some schools are even closing their doors. No surprise that PE continues to take hits – and now professional development opportunities are squelched.

Don’t fret! There are things working in our favor. Childhood obesity is a HOT topic! Everyone, including the First Lady, is jumping on the childhood obesity bandwagon. Brain Research – linking physical activity to academic achievement – is continually evolving and validating our jobs. We’ve all known the value of quality physical education for some time and now it seems that others are finally starting to get it! Take advantage of this – these trending topics can be used to help get you to the PE4life Resource Conference!

Wait, there’s more good news – people actually want to help! Local businesses, foundations and concerned citizens are all looking for ways to contribute. Sponsoring your attendance at the PE4life Resource Conference is a perfect way to do so. We’ve compiled some basic information to help get you there.

When approaching a potential sponsor, whether in writing, over the phone or in person – use the following information to state your best case for needing support and how you plan to use their support to make a difference.

What Attendees Receive:
Attendees of the PE4life Resource Conference will receive two full days of professional development and learning opportunities from nationally-renowned industry leaders who get programmatic results. Speakers at the PE4life Resource Conference have quality, cutting edge programs who see positive impacts in students’ physical health and improvements in student learning. Participants at PE4life events are forward thinking and ready to embrace a new way of teaching physical education. This event is a networking and brainstorming opportunity for like-minded professionals. Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet with equipment and program vendors who offer quality, innovative and technologically advanced equipment at discounted prices for event participants.

A list of breakout sessions can be found here. Consider mentioning those that may appeal to a particular funder.

What will the Sponsor Receive:
Your sponsor will want recognition for supporting your school/program and for being a good corporate citizen. They will also want to know that their money is going to go towards something that will make an impact.
  • Be sure to alert your local media/newspaper of the champion sponsor and their commitment to bettering your program.
  • Invite the Sponsor to see your program in action upon returning from the event (take pictures and inform the media)!
  • Share your success story with us so we can give them a shout out on our website, blog or through Social Media!

Funding Needed:
Consider the cost of
registration fees, travel (airline, local transportation, hotel, meals) and substitute teacher fees.

Who to approach:
Think of those in your community who share an interest and/or have a stake in the health and wellness of children. If you don’t have a personal contact, ask for someone in the Community Relations, Government Affairs or Marketing departments.

  • Community members / Businesses / Large employers (especially those whose employees’ children attend your school)
  • Local Hospitals
  • Fitness Centers
  • Local Insurance Agencies
  • School Vendors for food, sports equipment, etc.
  • Sporting Good Stores
  • Civic Organizations
  • Alumni or Booster Groups
  • Grocery Stores
  • Foundations – local or regional business or family foundations

** Don’t forget: Your attendance at the PE4life Resource Conference can be covered in full by PEP Grant funds! **

Additional details to enhance your proposal:

  • What are you hoping to accomplish by attending the PE4life Resource Conference?
  • What do you plan to do with the information you receive at the Resource Conference?
  • Have you attended a PE4life event before? If so, what did you take away from it?

Once you’ve secured your funding, don’t forget these important follow up steps!

  • Register for the event!
  • Alert your local media and tell them who are Champions for physical education!
  • Share your success with us! We want to know how you did it and your lessons learned.)
  • Tell us who is supporting physical education in your area. We want to give them a shout out!

Good luck! We hope to see you in October!

PE4life Resource Conference
October 4-5, 2010
Overland Park, Kansas

Pressure to Perform Academically Results in PE Cuts in MN

Here's an excellent article on an issue that is very familiar to us all - pressure for students to perform academically resulting in less time and money for PE. Although this article is specific to Minnesota school districts, it's occurring all across the country.

Increased pressure to perform on academic tests is forcing state schools to cut physical education classes

WASHINGTON — After multiple layoffs, 30-year-old physical education teacher Ryan Weber has had a front-row seat in watching the decline of physical education in Minnesota schools.

Weber is out of work again as of Thursday after finishing a short-term stint in an Anoka summer program for special needs students

“Only 10 of the 25 people I graduated from college in physical education with are doing anything related to their degree because they can’t find jobs, kept getting cut and just can’t do it anymore,” Weber said.

Education providers are under increasing pressure to measure up on standardized tests, which means that many schools are trading school day hours for academics over physical education to ensure they will meet requirements to lock in funding.

It’s a trend that experts say threatens to undermine first lady Michelle Obama’s central initiative: a campaign aimed at improving the health of America’s youth, in part by expanding physical education and extracurricular activities.

As a result of repeated cuts in physical education across the state, teachers like Weber are looking for work while the waistlines of Minnesota students only get bigger.

“Over the last 10 years, schools have been under intense academic pressure to add more time in their school day for reading and math, and there is only so much time in the school day; time is finite,” said Charlie Kyte, executive director of Minnesota Association of School Administrators. “Physical education is what has been squeezed.”

Read the full story on the MinnPost website.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

RECAP: First Lady's Let's Move! Web Chat

The First Lady held the first ever web chat to discuss the Let's Move! campaign this morning. The public was invited to ask the First Lady questions regarding her initiative and the childhood obesity epidemic via Facebook.

During the chat, we heard some great ideas and tough questions posted on Facebook from some of our physical education experts. Now, we want to know what you think! Do you agree with what was said from these physical education experts? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

  • How will physical education be promoted and advanced in the schools. All of our kids attend school so this is the most comprehensive opportunity to address the needs of all children with quality, age appropriate physical activity/physical education.
  • Quality physical education can be THE VEHICLE to educate all kids!
  • We HAVE to change the mindset...define QUALITY physical education.
  • Questions about Physical Education are not Sports or extra curricula! This is part of the issue. Play is fun and great but don’t we really need physical education also? Do we need to do more to educate folks on the difference?
  • I wish we could have the opportunity to educate the First Lady on QUALITY physical education. PLAY is not physical education. Physical Education is not all games.
  • Seems lets move is supporting more physical activity which is awesome! But I am not hearing much about true physical education. NASPE can certainly help clarify the difference.
  • While the intent here is positive, if the administration does not know the difference between physical activity and physical education, if they don't know what constitutes quality, 21st century physical education, if they don't understand the EDUCATION portion of physical education, the outlook for this program isn't very positive.
  • She did not mention policy to increase PE time, but focused on integration of physical activity. Integration of PA is important but not at the expense of a quality physical education class.
  • The First Lady does not know what Quality Physical Education is & does not know the differences between Physical Education & Physical Activity. Kickball and duck, duck, goose are NOT examples of Physical Education.
  • As long as the jobs of teachers and administrators is made dependent on test scores, physical education will be the lowest priority. The research relating physical exercise/education to academic success is overwhelming. Have you or the President or Sec. Duncan read Dr. John Ratey (SPARK) or Dr. Carla Hannaford (Smart Moves) or Dr. John Medina (Brain Rules) or any of the other books that provides us the research.
  • Physical Educators would like to be a part of this initiative. We would like to offer our advice and support. Please start including us and recognizing the important role we play in schools.
  • If you don't involve physical education and physical educators in this battle you cannot win. We are the ones who work with children on a regular basis. We are the ones who educate children so they understand life long active life styles.
  • The terms “physical activity” and “physical education” are often used interchangeably. However, they differ in important ways. Understanding the difference between the two is critical to understanding why both contribute to the development of healthy, active children. Think of this: Physical Activity is a behavior. Physical Education is a core subject area with a curriculum that includes physical activity.
  • We truly appreciate the First Lady's move to take on the fight against nationwide overweight/obesity, but the process is poorly constructed and poorly framed, lacks inclusion and I have doubts that it will ever be as successful as it could and should be.

  • I would not expect her to know about QPE; that is not her passion. Professionals in the field must continue to advocate for and educate about QPE, so all people can begin to feel our passion. Let's take the first lady's agenda and positively use it to our advantage.

Monday, July 12, 2010

PEP Grant Lesson Learned

While we love to share success stories, we know that unfortunately sometimes things are best learned by mistakes. Here is an example of a school district in Wisconsin who misused their PEP funds. What is great about this story is how they right their wrong and share the steps they should have taken.

Nekoosa School District misused funds to buy soccer field

NEKOOSA -- The Nekoosa School District will pay about $49,000 for a soccer field built in 2008, after school officials confirmed the district used federal grant dollars without following the guidelines.

In 2007, the U.S. Department of Education awarded the district a Carol M. White Physical Education Program grant of nearly $350,000 to improve local programming. The three-year matching federal grant helps districts purchase equipment and pay for staff support and training to initiate, expand and improve physical education programs, according to the department.

A June 2009 Nekoosa School District audit by Wipfli's Rhinelander accounting office found district employees were not adequately tracking and managing grant funds.

Read full story on the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune website here.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What's the first "bold action" Congress should take in solving the childhood obesity epidemic?

James S. Marks, senior vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, recently wrote a powerful article titled "We Need Bold Action on Childhood Obesity" in the Huffington Post. In the article, he highlights some statistics that have made headlines lately. You've probably heard or seen a few of them at some point, but seeing the facts presented together is astonishing:
  • Adult obesity rates rose in 28 states over the past year and declined only in the District of Columbia.
  • Nearly one-third of children are obese or overweight, placing them at higher risk for diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and a host of other serious chronic illnesses.
  • 84% of Americans believes the childhood obesity epidemic is a serious problem -- Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and Tea Party supporters agree.
  • 56% believe we should launch a comprehensive national program to prevent childhood obesity, even if we have to invest billions of dollars now to prevent hundreds of billions in costs later.
As physical educators or advocates of quality physical education, you guys are the ones that see first-hand the toll childhood obesity is having on our children. So, we want your input on a few questions:

1. If the study is right and 85% of Americans believe childhood obesity is a serious problem, then what can we do, as individuals, to help solve this crisis?

2. Marks suggests strengthening the National School Lunch Program as the first "bold step" Congress should take in combating the childhood obesity epidemic. What do you recommend as the first "bold step?"