Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Heart Rate Monitors: Common Questions from Parents and Tips for Answering Them

Heart rate monitors are still a fairly new technology being used in the physical education world and while we all recognize the benefits, many of our parents still need to be educated. Jen Neubauer, PE4life Program Delivery Specialist, recently provided a teacher with answers to common questions/concerns about the use of heart rate monitors, as well as some tips on how to implement the technology.

We hope you'll be able to take some of this information and use it to educate your parents. If you need further proof of the benefits, share this touching article about an Urbandale High School PE teacher who discovered a student's heart condition through the use of a heart rate monitor.

1. Is every monitor being sanitized properly after EACH child uses it?
Yes, they should be and this is a great lesson for students to learn because this will be expected of them when exercising at a fitness center. It is common courtesy to wipe down the area where you worked out and were sweating; along with any equipment used. Therefore, the watch and transmitter components should be wiped off by the student wearing them before they put them away at the end of class. This can be done in several ways:

  • A bucket of soapy water and a cloth/towel for wiping and drying
  • A spray bottle with solution that is safe for the equipment and the students along with towels to wipe/dry them off (towels can be brown paper towels or regular shower type towels. One adds up to a lot of trash and the other means someone will be doing laundry)
  • A container of wipes (think of it as a giant container full of wet wipes)
You will need to find which method will be effective, efficient, and inexpensive for your program.

As far as the elastic chest strap component - it is highly recommended that each student purchase and have their own or "rent" it from the dept (ex: student pays a rental fee of $5 and if they return it at the end of the year they get $3 back) . This way it is sized and ready all the time for their body type (no time wasted between classes for the next student to adjust it). They keep it in their locker with their other workout clothes and they are the ones responsible for laundering it.

If the student will be "borrowing" a strap from the PE dept. each class period then they will have to deal with possibly sharing the strap with another student and that cold, wet uncomfortable feeling of someone else's sweat is something they are choosing to do. The straps would be put in a laundry bag and washed once a week or once a day or whatever is feasible. Obviously, you can't do that after every class period.

2. Is every monitor being calibrated after EACH use?
Each student should be taken through a lesson where they determine their own personal RHR and their MHR and then their THR training zones. Depending on the type of Heart Rate Monitor you are using you have some different choices.

  • You could program all the monitors to fit the lowest number and the highest number
  • You could program all the monitors based on an average of everyone's lowest/highest numbers
  • You could program one bag of monitors for one THR zone and another for a different THR zone, then assign students to the bag of monitors that fits their needs.
  • You could train the students on how to change the THR zone settings in the monitor before they begin exercising that day in class (not recommended for time management and on certain monitors it may then skew results of others using the monitors before/after them if the files are saved.)
Example: Looking at the training zones below....I know that my PE teacher wants me to spend 20 minutes in my zone which they have set the monitor at 120 bpm and 180 bpm. But, according to the lesson I did, my 60-80% training zones are 145bpm - 175bpm. Therefore, I know that the zones programmed by my teacher will still include a safe zone for me to exercise in and get health benefits from. No matter what the monitor is programmed for I know what my true zones are and I am still able to accumulate minutes in the zone programmed by the teacher to show my participation/effort levels.


Healthy Heart Zone (Warm up) --- 50 - 60% of maximum heart rate: The easiest zone and probably the best zone for people just starting a fitness program. It can also be used as a warm up for more serious walkers. This zone has been shown to help decrease body fat, blood pressure and cholesterol. It also decreases the risk of degenerative diseases and has a low risk of injury. 85% of calories burned in this zone are fats!

Fitness Zone (Fat Burning) --- 60 - 70% of maximum heart rate: This zone provides the same benefits as the healthy heart zone, but is more intense and burns more total calories. The percent of fat calories is still 85%.

Aerobic Zone (Endurance Training) --- 70 - 80% of maximum heart rate: The aerobic zone will improve your cardiovascular and respiratory system AND increase the size and strength of your heart. This is the preferred zone if you are training for an endurance event. More calories are burned with 50% from fat.

Anaerobic Zone (Performance Training) --- 80 - 90% of maximum heart rate: Benefits of this zone include an improved VO2 maximum (the highest amount of oxygen one can consume during exercise) and thus an improved cardiorespiratory system, and a higher lactate tolerance ability which means your endurance will improve and you'll be able to fight fatigue better. This is a high intensity zone burning more calories, 15 % from fat.

Red Line (Maximum Effort) --- 90 - 100% of maximum heart rate: Although this zone burns the highest number of calories, it is very intense. Most people can only stay in this zone for short periods. You should only train in this zone if you are in very good shape and have been cleared by a physician to do so.

3. Who determines the heart rate for each child? Every human body is different and should be treated as such.
A child or adult's Resting Heart Rate is used as an indicator of health/fitness levels. Because of the variance in those groups the medical field has determined what is a healthy Resting Heart Rate range. Teachers use the information they are given from the medical and science fields.

That healthy resting heart rate range, due to the variance among those groups, supports the statement - "Every human body is different and should be treated as such."

In fact, that is the #1 factor for why Heart Rate Monitors should be mandatory in PE classes. In every type of presentation about heart rate monitors, that is the one statement heard every time...Every body....every student... is different and should be treated as such! No more teachers guessing by looking at a student to see if they are being safe or working out in the correct zone or trying hard enough or putting in effort. The heart rate monitor treats everyone as an individual giving them instant feedback about THEIR levels the playing field and makes individual assessment fair and most importantly keeps individuals SAFE!!

4. Is it the schools place to determine what a healthy heart rate is for any student?
No it is not. As stated in the previous question/response, a healthy resting heart rate is determined by the medical/science field. Schools/PE teachers should use that information they are given to do the following for their students.

It is the schools place to....
  • Educate them on what is RHR (resting heart rate), MHR (maximum heart rate), and THR (target heart rate). Why are those important to know and to measure? How are those different from person to person? How can you control or change any of those?
  • Educate them on how to find their own Maximum Heart Rate
  • Educate them on how to find their own Resting Heart Rate
  • Educate them on how to use both MHR and RHR in the Karvonen Formula so that they can find their own THR (great interdisciplinary lesson with Math)
  • Educate them on the different THR zones they can train in. Help them understand and appreciate how each individual's "numbers" for their zone are going to be different because every human body is different (due to the differences in the Resting Heart Rate).
  • Educate the students on how the heart rate monitor works and how it is a window to their heart. Since each person has now calculated their own THR zone that is unique to them, they can personally monitor what zones they are working out in and do it in a safe manner.
  • Educate them on how one type of exercise may produce different data for different people.
  • Educate them to find what types of exercise or activities get them into specific zones - you want them to start individualizing their exercise plans and their choices
If it is the school's place to educate each student on all of those and so much more, it is the schools responsibility to provide the appropriate educational measurement tools to do that.... Heart Rate Monitors.

6. Doesn't the HIPPA privacy act make this is an invasion of privacy?
Schools are not a covered HIPPA entity and the data obtained is considered Educational Records and protected by FERPA. Their heart rate data (scores) should be treated like any other scores they get on a math test, english test, ITBS is private information between the student - teacher - parents.

7. Is a students' current health condition taken into consideration?
Of course....with every exercise or workout or athletic practice or testing situation....anytime a child is ill or having health issues that would be brought to the attention of any teacher and accommodations made. The difference in heart rates and the factors for variance and how that is accounted for in the training zones for each person have been well stated in the answers above.

Looking to purchase heart rate monitors for your classroom? Check out this list of our Preferred Vendors, including Ekho and Polar, for discounts and special offers!

Any additional questions you’ve been asked that aren’t on the list? Leave them in the comments and we’ll do our best to answer them.

Friday, October 21, 2011

How are you getting creative to overcome obstacles?

Fitting In Exercise, Between Math and English, an article published by The New York Times, shares how physical educators in New York have had to get creative in order to beat budget cuts and time limitations, to provide physical activity to their students. Unfortunately, this issue isn't limited to New York - it's happening all over the country. Physical education professionals have had to become some of the most innovative and out-of-the-box thinkers of all professions.

The article sites running clubs and storage closets turned fitness rooms as examples of how physical educators are getting creative. We know you all have done these things, plus more.

We want to hear from you. What challenges are you facing in your school? What have you done to help overcome obstacles? How many minutes/days of PE do your students receive weekly?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Great Day for Golf!

Check out these photos from this weekend's free professional development with The First Tee of Greater Kansas City. K-12 educators learned how to teach the Full Swing, Chip, and Putt. This workshop was one of five free professional development opportunities funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City. Stay tuned to the PE4life - Kansas City webpage for the next opportunity!

Thanks to all who joined us on this beautiful Saturday!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

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 that 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!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Robyn Bretzing: Keynote Speaker at 2011 Resource Conference

We are so excited to have Robyn Bretzing as Keynote Speaker at the Resource Conference this year!

Check out this article from Brigham Young University's McKay Today Magazine that highlights Robyn's teaching philosophy and what her program is all about.

"What is knowledge without health?" This question drives Robyn Bretzing, an award winning high school physical education instructor, to teach PE classes that include Mountain Biking, Pilates, Land Paddling, Bouldering, Kickboxing, Spinning - anything that promotes lifetime fitness - to her high school students. "My dream is that every student will leave my classroom with a passion for personal fitness and a desire to lead an active lifestyle. A lofty dream, but a dream worth pursuing and planning for every day I teach."

Robyn leads out in a physical education movement that aims to teach students traits and habits that will keep them active for life. Honors on the state and national level for teaching and coaching have put her in demand as a lecturer: Utah's AAHPERD Teacher of the Year 2007, SWD Teacher of the Year 2008, Alpine School District Golden Apple Award 2007, Addidas Region IV Coach of the Year 2004, and Utah Soccer Hall of Fame 2007.

Robyn is also changing professional expectations. She admits that in many places there are not any expectations for PE teachers. Principals are content as long as kids are out of the halls and in the gym. Robyn labels this perception as "sad" and advises other PE teachers, "You are the only one who has to take pride in what you do - and you have to exceed expectations, because PE expectations for the most part are very minimal."
It is clear that Robyn's passion is to educate students for a lifetime by providing a curriculum that keeps the whole class moving and having fun while at the same time learning to think about fitness and its effect on health. Her purpose is to make a difference in students lives now and 30 years from now. Robyn concludes, "I tell my kids that if there is one subject they will use for life, PE is it!"

To read the entire article on Robyn's program at Timpanogos High School, go to:

Learn more about Robyn's Keynote Presentation at the Resource Conference.

About Robyn
After years of research and revision, Robyn has developed one of the most progressive PE programs in the country. She has been asked to present at UAPHERD, SWD and Central District Conventions and continues to travel the country presenting and inspiring teachers to push the limits in PE and design curriculum relevant to current fitness trends.

Robyn was named the UAHPERD and Southwest District Teacher of the Year in 2008 and is currently the Physical Education teacher at Timpanogos High School and the Alpine District PE Specialist.

The 2011 Resource Conference will be held on Oct. 10th and 11th in Overland Park, KS. Register now. See you there!

Friday, September 9, 2011

iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch Apps for Use in Physical Education

Looking for the most useful iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch/ apps to use in your PE class? Check out this list below. To download the list, click here. Also check out these websites for more information on technology use in education: and

Monday, August 22, 2011

Game Changer: Phil Lawler's Crusade to Help Children by Improving Physical Education

“It’s about enabling each student to maintain a physically-active lifestyle forever. It means emphasizing fitness and wellbeing, not athleticism. It eliminates practices that humiliate students. And it assesses students on their progress in reaching personal physical activity and fitness goals. A [quality] program exposes kids to the fun and long-term benefits of movement – it’s really that simple.” —Phil Lawler

We are so proud to have played a role in bringing this book to life. Read a description of the book below and purchase the book in the PE4life Pro Shop.

Engaging and inspiring, Game Changer: Phil Lawler’s Crusade to Help Children by Improving Physical Education charts Lawler’s tireless mission to refocus physical education to a wellness-based model that encourages fitness for lifetime. Game Changer captures the passion of this legend within the field of physical education who believed that every child—regardless of athletic ability—should be given a chance to find an activity they can embrace and enjoy for a lifetime.

The renowned Dr. Kenneth Cooper of Cooper Aerobics Center names Phil Lawler the "Father of the New PE." Game Changer offers an inspiring and informative glimpse at the life of Lawler and his “New PE,” the wellness-based approach to physical education that has energized an important revolution in the world of education.

Full of ideas, tips, and strategies, Game Changer provides both the information and motivation to develop, implement, and support PE and community programs that encompass all children, not just the athletically inclined. Messages from leaders within the physical education field provide lessons learned in the development, leadership, promotion, and on-going advocacy of wellness-based PE programs.

Game Changer takes readers through Lawler’s beginnings as a “stereotypical” PE teacher and coach and his dawning realization of how physical education class can be a positive tool to encourage a lifetime of health and physical activity. As Lawler’s work received a boost from the mounting research connecting physical activity to academic and behavioral improvements, “the New PE” gained momentum nationally and abroad. Readers will be inspired by Lawler’s vision and commitment, despite his own health challenges, to improving the health and fitness of children throughout the world.

Though his battle with cancer cut short his own work, Game Changer carries the torch of Lawler’s “New PE” by providing information and tools to assist physical educators in developing more inclusive PE programs that emphasize developing, attaining, and renewing personal fitness goals across the lifespan.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Kansas City School Extends PE Beyond the Walls of their Gymnasium

Frank Rushton Elementary “Girls and Mom’s on the Move” Program 
written by Ashley Davies, Program Support Specialist, PE4life

PE4life loves to see physical activity and education going beyond the walls of the gymnasium. Check out how a Kansas City, Kansas school and community made it happen:

In the fall of 2009, Karin Morgan and Sarah McGinty, Cardiac RN’s in the Change of Heart Program at The University of Kansas Hospital decided they wanted to bring health education and prevention of heart disease to their hospital neighbors in the Rosedale community of Kansas City, Kansas. They wanted to expose their community to the benefits of exercise in the hopes of influencing entire families and their neighborhoods. Karin and Sarah were informed of the Rosedale Healthy Kids Initiative, an advocacy organization aimed at reducing childhood obesity in the Rosedale community by promoting active lifestyles and healthy food choices. The organization directed the ladies to contact Mary Welsh, principal at Frank Rushton Elementary School in the Rosedale neighborhood.

Karin and Sarah met with Mary and other teachers from the school and explored several programs already offered in the area, as well as other options. In the end they chose the “Girls and Moms on the Move” program. The program initiated at the Minneapolis Heart Institute and is designed for mothers and daughters to get healthy, be active, and have fun together. Several meetings over the next year or so were held to organize all aspects of the program before starting it in the spring of 2011.

Girls and Moms on the Move” is a 6-week program meeting once each week. The meetings were attended by a handful of 3rd-5th grade female students, teachers, community volunteers, and the principal. Each meeting began with a healthy homemade snack either donated by a local business or prepared by the volunteers. Karin and Sarah would conduct a short lesson on various health topics. Finally the group would complete a measured route, either walking or jogging at their own pace. The program culminated with the Mother’s Day 5K Walk/Run on May 8th at Corporate Woods in Overland Park, Kansas. The program provided monetary compensation for the event entry fees for the girls and their mothers. Also, a local company donated “gently used” athletic shoes for some of the participants.

The program was tremendously successful! Check out what some of the participants had to say:

Karin- “I feel the program was a great success! I think it sparked an interest in physical activity for the girls, their moms, and even some of the teachers.”

Sarah- “Many of the moms said they felt empowered and very proud in completing the 5K race. We hope to continue the program in both the fall and the spring.”

Participating Mother- “My daughter is choosing activity time over TV.”

3rd Grade Girl- “I really liked the race!”

Another Participating Mother- “It is something I would never have done on my own. I like it and would do it again!”

Principal- “It was a great opportunity for girls and their moms to spend some quality time together, engaged in productive activity.”

5th Grade Girl- “Since the program started, I finish my homework and go out and run.”

PE Teacher- “I enjoyed seeing the girls in a different atmosphere, outside of class time, and getting to know them better.”

Classroom Teacher- “I enjoyed seeing the girls doing an activity with their mothers.”

PE4life would like to congratulate all the organizers, volunteers and participants of the Frank Rushton Girls and Moms on the Move program- YOU ROCK!  To get more information on this program you can email or call 612/863-3979.

We encourage you to extend PE beyond the walls of the gymnasium and to get your students, parents, school and community active and healthy- be a catalyst for change!

Friday, May 6, 2011

PE4life's Board Chairman Inducted into Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame

Congratulations to Jim Baugh, Board Chairman and founder of PE4life, for being inducted into the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame this week! 

Check out Jim's impressive bio below or read the article in entirety. 

Jim Baugh
Wilson Sporting Goods Co.
Jim Baugh and the sport of tennis will forever be linked. Baugh’s passion for the sport was demonstrated in successes at Wilson Sporting Goods Co. and earlier in his career, at Prince Manufacturing. But tennis was just part of this energetic leader’s passion.

His vision for improving the health and fitness of American children became reality through PE4life. He also helped raise nearly $500 million in federal grants for schools through the Carol M. White Physical Education Program, known in the industry as the PEP Program.

After a brief stint as a sales rep for Converse, Baugh joined Prince (1977-83) during a time when that company ranked as the No. 1 tennis racquet brand in the U.S. He served as national sales manager and manager of dealer relations. As vice president of sales and marketing, Prince grew from $6 million to $60 million in sales.

Baugh joined Wilson in 1987 as general manager of Wilson Racquet Sports until 1996, when he was named president of Wilson Sporting Goods (1996-2003). At Wilson Racquet Sports, the company’s share jumped from 14% to more than 50%, and the company launched breakthrough technologies with three racquets and footwear.

As president, Baugh led a very profitable $1 billion global company. He developed a uniform branding and marketing approach for all divisions. He also served on the strategic board of Wilson’s parent company, Amer, overlooking Atomic, Suunto and recommending the acquisition of Precor.

While at Wilson, Baugh joined the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) board of directors, a position he still holds. It was through SGMA that PE4life was founded, dedicated to rebuilding quality physical education programs in our nation’s schools.

After leaving Wilson, Baugh served as president of the Tennis Industry Association and as a board member of the United States Tennis Association (USTA). He helped launch grassroots programs that turned around a decline in participation and saw a 23% increase in play occasions.

Baugh lives in Jupiter, Fla. and consults with various companies and associations in the sporting goods and leisure industry.

About the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame
The Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame was created to honor the pioneers, innovators and leaders who built the sporting sporting goods industry and to help recognize and encourage excellence within the sporting goods industry. Many sporting goods retailers, dealers and manufacturers felt there was a need for leaders in the sporting goods industry to be recognized by their peers. To provide this recognition, the SPORTING GOODS INDUSTRY HALL OF FAME was created in 1955.

Jim joined other big names in the Hall of Fame from companies like NIKE, Inc.; Dick's Sporting Goods; Converse, Inc.; Cabela's and many others.

To learn more about the National Sporting Goods Association, click here. 

Congratulations, Jim!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Funding Opp that can Jumpstart your PE Program!

PE4life is excited to partner with the Churchill Family Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation to provide a one-time partial scholarship to an Introductory Workshop at the PE4life Academy Training Center in Titusville, PA.

In 2006, a school from Tonganoxie, Kansas registered to attend a PE4life Academy Training in Titusville. They chose to attend Titusville because it was similar to their community in terms of size and school demographics. We were pleased to receive this update on their progress.

Hi Tim,

It’s been awhile since we have communicated and I thought it was about time we give you a P.E. update. Since we returned from visiting you in 2006, we have made great strides in unifying our physical education department. We presented to the board about our experience in Titusville and started envisioning what a future physical education program in Tonganoxie should look like. Tim, we are almost there!!!

We continued to discuss improvements and grant possibilities with our administrators. We were able to get help with a district-hired grant writer who had never even heard of the PEP grant. We gave her all kinds of information and we came up with a plan to collect data the following school year. Hopefully, you noticed that we were awarded the PEP grant in 2009. We named our PEP grant "Kansas Adventures" and focused on activities families could do in Kansas. Kids could learn about those activities then encourage their family to get involved. We concentrated on hiking, walking, and CPR/First Aid (high school) the first year, climbing and high adventure (high school) and bicycling the third year.

We now have a fitness room in each building, climbing walls in every gym with a high adventure course in the high school. We have added one full time P.E. teacher in each building giving us a total of 3 teachers per building which allowed us to add classes at the high school and help to address the overcrowded classes at the middle and elementary school. The third teacher at the elementary school has also been able to add a health curriculum for all students and is able to meet twice a month with each class for a standardized health lesson.

We have implemented Wel-Pro, a web-based tracking system for fitness tests so we can keep student information continuous through their years at Tonganoxie schools. We have written a guide for giving fitness tests in our district so that all of us use the same equipment in the same way and all of the testing can have accurate annual comparisons.

We are currently planning our bicycling strategy for year 3 and our district is hoping to pass a bond issue in April for a second elementary school. With administrator approval, there is a fitness room included in the plans as well as a gym that was enlarged to have 3 teaching spaces (3 cross-courts).

As I looked at the new building plans, I couldn't help but think it all started with a trip to Titusville, and the support of our administration believing in us. Thank you again for giving us the opportunity to see your program and know that you still continue to have an impact on our physical education program.

Together in physical education, sincerely,

Ursula Kissinger
Tonganoxie Elementary School
Tonganoxie, KS

Congratulations Tonganoxie School District! Keep up the great work!


Churchill Family Fund PE4life Introductory Workshop Scholarship
Deadline to Apply: Friday, February 25, 2011
How to Apply: Fill out and submit this application following the directions on the form.

The Titusville Area School District (Titusville, PA) has been recognized as a PE4life Academy. PE4life Academies are exemplary physical education programs that open their doors to others in efforts to inspire and paint a picture of quality programming. If representatives from your school are interested in attending an Introductory Workshop at a PE4life Academy, contact Rachelle Gardner at or 816-472-7345.

Learn more about PE4life Academies and our Support Services here.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

December Fun at the 2010 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship

December 2010 - The University of Missouri -Kansas City (UMKC) and the Kansas City Sports Commission hosted the NCAA Division 1 Volleyball National Championship at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. In conjunction with the tournament the American Volleyball Coaches Association held a free clinic for children ages 8-13, conducted by the Minority Volleyball Coaches Association.

PE4life was happy to be able to help coordinate this awesome event! More than 300 children attended the clinic and nearly a third of them were from schools that have trained with PE4life! In addition to a draw-string bag, t-shirt, water bottle and volleyball, each student also received one complimentary ticket to the NCAA championship game that evening (did I mention this was all free?!).

Here’s what some of the attendees had to say about the event:

"I was very happy to help coordinate this amazing opportunity for our PE4life schools. It was great to see how dedicated some of our teachers are because they chose to use their personal time to take the kids. I was thrilled with the responses after the clinic. The students were able to learn a great deal from the clinic and, along with the teachers and parents, were so appreciative for this opportunity. I am very thankful to the volleyball coaches at the clinic and WIN for KC for allowing PE4life to be a part of this activity." - Ashley Davies, Program Support Specialist, PE4ilfe

“Our PTA paid for our bus which was awesome so it allowed more kids to come. We took 35 kids from Silver City. Ms. Belohavy, SPED teacher came with me- she was awesome. Also, I had 2 parent volunteers come. The coaches were fantastic and really patient and kind to our kids who ranged all over the place with their skills. It was nice to have a very diverse group of coaches for our kids. It was such a rewarding and fun experience not only for our students, but for the adults. It was such a great time and thanks to PE4life for the information and the Minority Coaches Association for all of the coaches helping at the clinic.” - Stephanie Dickson, Teacher, Silver City Elementary, Kansas City, KS

“It was so much fun! I had fun cheering at the game. The coaches were nice. It was cool being one of the only boys at the clinic.” 3rd grader, Silver City Elementary, Kansas City, KS

“The coaches were awesome! I had a good time at the game. They play really fast. I use the water bottle all the time and I can’t wait to play outside with my volleyball.”- 5th grader, Silver City Elementary, Kansas City, KS

“It was really fun and cool to do something different. Ms. Walsh (Kerri Walsh- pro beach volleyball player) said some very inspirational things.” 5th grader, Silver City Elementary, Kansas City, KS

“It was a really great experience for the girls. They learned a lot of new volleyball drills and they had fun at the game. Many of them had never been down to that area so they enjoyed the experience of seeing everything.” - Mike Fitzgibbons, Teacher, Argentine Middle School, Kansas City, KS

“Thank you so much for this opportunity! The kids really enjoyed it but it was great for me too. When Kerri Walsh came out I was in shock- very cool!” Amanda Ruffin, Teacher, Noble Prentis Elementary- Caruthers Elementary, Kansas City, KS

Thanks to all who made this a great event and thanks for letting PE4life be a part of it!

Monday, January 24, 2011

PE4life Hosts Successful Professional Development for Arkansas Schools!

Last week, we hosted two successful events with guest speaker Jean Blaydes Madigan, Neurokinesiologist/Consultant/M.Ed, international speaker, and noted author of “Thinking on Your Feet: A Year’s Worth of Lesson Plans” and “Action Based Learning™ Lab Manual.”

Jean introduced exciting new brain research that supports the importance of movement in the learning process. This latest research advocates for and justifies daily quality physical education and/or movement in the classroom. Jean uses fun and exciting games, fitness, and rhythmic activities to demonstrate how to boost a child's brain power, how to prepare the brain for optimum learning, and how to improve memory and retention while reinforcing the classroom teacher's curriculum.

Siloam Springs
January 17, 2011 – Siloam Springs, AR – More than 300 teachers and school leaders from the Siloam Springs School District and other surrounding districts attended this high energy professional development opportunity. Here's what Siloam Springs School District's Curriculum Director, Connie Matchell, had to say about the event:

"Our day with Jean was wonderful. I have never had such an overwhelmingly positive response to any professional development day. The most impressive thing however is the level of implementation of Jean’s suggestions that I am seeing in classrooms all across the district. I was very impressed by the way that she was able to address all levels from Pre-K to high school, she even specifically talked directly to speech pathologists and foreign language teachers. Thank you for the opportunity to have Jean in our district."

January 18, 2011 – Springdale, AR – One hundred academic & physical educators, community leaders, parent advocates, and health & wellness champions from more than 30 schools gathered at Har-Ber High School for this free Community Presentation.

The opportunity to host Jean Blaydes Madigan at these events was provided by the Care Foundation.

Were you one of the attendees at these events? Leave a comment letting us know what you enjoyed most!

Want to book Jean for a workshop? Email Rachelle Gardner at or call 816-472-7345.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Year, New Resolutions for PE4life Staff

Happy New Year, friends!

Tis the season for starting anew… Making those promises that this year will be different/better than the last... Some of us at the PE4life office are determined to do just that.

Here are some of the PE4life Staff’s New Year’s Resolutions:

Jen Neubauer, Program Support Specialist
Since 2011 is the year that I turn the big FOUR O....I decided to Focus on FOUR areas of my life more. These focus areas should bring about a more balanced and healthy lifestyle for me.
There are very specific things under each area that I plan to track on a monthly basis to keep me accountable. And, I started off the year with a professional organizer that came to my house this morning to help me set up a more functional, organized, and stress reducing PE4Life Home Office!!
(Awesome! Great way to kick off the year, Jen!)

Melanie Sheppard, Communications Coordinator
I’m going to start running again and make healthier food choices.
(Mel was spotted on the treadmill yesterday! Keep it up, girl!)

Ashley Davies, Program Support Specialist
My New Year’s Resolution is to complete at least one athletic event each month of the year (ex. 5K, triathlon, Volleyball/Basketball tourney) and document it (will be my biggest struggle…)!!
(Ashley has yet to officially register for the Groundhog Run at the end of this month, but says she will…)

Jason Robinson, Development Coordinator and Federal Grant Manager
To reign as undefeated/ undisputed champ of PE4life conference table ping pong the entire year!!!
(To date Jason has started off the year undefeated, which some of us are determined to change!)

Kate Jackson, Finance Specialist
I have a New Year’s Resolution but it is not appropriate for the office…. :)
(Go Kate! We think…)

Carrie Gibson, Event Manager
It is my resolution to eliminate Ranch Dressing and Cream Cheese from my diet. I will make healthier food choices in general, but those two specifically have got to stop.
(Day 4 of the New Year and no Ranch Dressing or Cream Cheese consumed!)

Did you know that "Eating Healthier" and "Exercising More" are statistically proven to be the top choice for New Year's Resolutions? PE4lifers are in the business of helping to create a healthy culture for schools and communities, but often get wrapped up behind the desk, forgetting to practice what we preach. With this in mind, I thought this article from MSN’s Fitbie provided some helpful tips. Here's to a prosperous and HEALTHY New Year!

So, what’s YOUR New Year’s Resolution? Tell us in the comments section!