SHAPE America Blog

SHAPE America Blog



Why I Integrate Social and Emotional Learning Into My Health and Physical Education Classes




My journey to better understand social and emotional learning (SEL) and its connection to health and physical education began about two years ago. While we were evaluating our health education curriculum, an administrator asked where social and emotional learning was being taught in our program.

I decided to do some research and familiarized myself with the widely used framework developed by the […]

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Redefining Our Community




During my year as president of SHAPE America, my theme will be ROC, which stands for Redefining Our Community. The message of ROC will be simply about raising the bar for every health and physical educator — and no longer accepting being on the back burner.

Our students have great needs emotionally, socially and physically. We are their community and we cannot be complacent, simply accepting things the way they have been. Every child — in every school and every community — needs a champion to boldly take a stand for them. We must be that champion!

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Unified Physical Education Part 1: Why Physical Education Teachers Should Lead the Way on Inclusion




The school bell rings. The halls are filled with chatter, laughter and shouts from students trying to get each other’s attention. They make their way to the gymnasium and stomp up the bleachers to a seat with a view, surrounded by a cluster of friends. The energy in the filled-to-capacity gym is high. The marching band is ready to make their way in followed by the dance and cheer teams.

Something big is about to happen.

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10 Strategies Coaches Can Use to Optimize Emotions and Maximize Sport Performance




There are many strategies coaches can apply to more successfully address the emotion-performance equation that is part and parcel of athletic competition. This list focuses on 10 of the most important preventive and coping strategies you can apply as a coach to help your athletes control their range of emotions and maximize their performance (particularly in youth sport settings), as outlined in this recent Strategies article.

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The Mental Health Crisis Is Here – We Need to Help




A few weeks ago, I attended an IEP meeting for my son, Jamie. It was probably the best one yet. I heard about the incredible progress my kid has made this year. All the work that was put in — time with support specialists, weekly check-ins with his teachers — is allowing him to have a great year in fourth grade. I couldn’t be happier.

But there was also clear agreement from the entire team of support providers and teachers regarding the one subject in which […]

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Thank You.




This will be my last official blog post as president of SHAPE America.

The only words I have are […]

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Health and Physical Education Advocates Storm Capitol Hill




On March 6, more than 150 health and physical educators and supporters participated in SHAPE America’s 12th annual SPEAK Out! Day — heading to Capitol Hill to advocate for more health education and physical education funding. The following includes some of my thoughts and experiences from this year’s event.

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7 Core Responsibilities of Sport Coaches: The Revision of the National Standards




What are the core responsibilities of sport coaches? What do coaches need to know and do to create quality sport experiences for athletes?

These questions were considered recently by the SHAPE America Task Force when revising the National Standards for Sport Coaches (NSSC). The NSSC were first introduced in 1995 with the intent of identifying the knowledge and skills that coaches need to work effectively with athletes.

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Creating a Culture of Caring in HPE: It’s on YOU




Last week, I had an engaging Voxer chat with my friend and fellow educator Brian Devore about the power of caring.

Since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about what continues to matter most for health and physical educators […]

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All Students Need Safe, Supportive Spaces




I spent a lot of time on the road over the past few months, attending state conferences in Arizona, Wisconsin, Missouri and Texas. I had the opportunity to attend insightful sessions and engage in thoughtful, meaningful, and often sensitive conversations.

One of the sessions at the MOAPHERD convention that really made an impact on me was Linda Oakleaf’s presentation titled […]

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Leadership: A New Year’s Resolution for Every Teacher and Administrator




We worry a lot in our profession every day about the things that don’t matter the most. We seek guidance from SHAPE America on the “HOW” of what we do — assessment, lesson plans, curriculum — and rightfully so.

However, without a deep sense of “WHY” your classroom won’t come to life for students the way it should.

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Relationships: The Foundation of Our Work




When I was a new administrator, I used to sit in meetings alongside other subject area supervisors and principals. We would talk monthly about test scores, the achievement gap, struggling students and, above all, data.

I remained silent in these meetings and wondered to myself, “What am I doing here? This has nothing to do with me.” I realized early on, I needed to raise my hand and speak up.

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Strengthening Our Commitment to EDI




So, we said we want to focus on equity, diversity and inclusion within this organization. We said these things are important to us. We said we need to be more intentional, more proactive, more thoughtful — and to push ourselves beyond our own comfort zone.

Now the question is: Where are we at? What are we doing to make this meaningful and not just a box that gets checked?

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‘Playing It Forward’ Through the SHAPE America Big Feats Virtual Race




Giving back has always been a strong part of Missouri AHPERD (MOAHPERD) and its members because as teachers, we give back every day and we know the impact a little extra care can make.

This giving season, MOAHPERD has dedicated its support to the SHAPE America Big Feats Virtual Race.

As MOAHPERD’s special projects coordinator for many years, I knew the virtual race was a service project that would make a difference in communities across the country and for my fellow HPE teachers.

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11 Strategies Coaches Can Use To Encourage Healthy Nutrition in Student-Athletes




There are almost half a million student-athletes in America, and if you also include youth sports, the Aspen Institute suggests the number could run into the tens of millions. Think about that for a minute. Millions upon millions of children and young adults engage in some form of organized sports every day in America.

This vast number of players requires a vast number of coaches. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states there are more than 275,000 coaches in the United States, with that number expected to rise significantly over the next several years. Unfortunately, many of these coaches lack the training necessary to be effective in what they do, especially when it comes to areas beyond the basics.

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The Books You Need … and the Savings You’ll Love




As a health and physical education professional you are also in need of books. First, you need your curriculum based on either the National Health Education Standards or SHAPE America’s National Standards for K-12 Physical Education. Second, you need your curriculum guide because it is the document that guides your work in the classroom every day. Third, you need your PETE/HETE library — those books you studied which gave you the base of your professional beliefs.

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What the #BigFeats for SHAPE America Virtual Race Means to Me




November is always a special time of year for me. My big Italian family and I fight each year over who is taking which holiday and who is bringing what. Good times … as long as we are all together.

I also find myself thinking about how fortunate I am to be associated with my big “health and physical education family.” Whether I’m chatting on social media or at events across the country, I can feel […]

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The ESSA Advocacy Roller Coaster That Was 2018




Things in the advocacy world move quickly. One vote, on one day, can instantaneously offer a $700 million boost in funding for schools to have the opportunity to support health and physical education. SHAPE America’s 2018 National Convention & Expo was just a short eight months ago but a lot has transpired in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) world […]

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How PETE Impacts the PE Profession




Even if you’re a physical education professional, the acronym PETE may not immediately resonate with you. PETE … no, not your friend Pete … probably something with physical education — but what?

And, members of the PETE community might be wondering why is PETE mentioned without its partner, HETE?

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5 Great Reasons to Date and Fall in Love… With the 2018 National Standards for Initial Health Education Teacher Education




As chair of the SHAPE America Health Education Teacher Preparation Standards Task Force, I feel like I have birthed, nurtured and raised the 2018 National Standards for Initial Health Education Teacher Education along with the six other “co-parents” on the task force.

Admittedly, similar to the proud parent who feels like their son or daughter deserves only the purest, fulfilling and reciprocated love, I feel like the new and improved 2018 Initial HETE Standards deserve that kind of loyal adoration as well […]

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6 Ways Veteran PE Teachers Can Help Newly Hired PE Teachers




Veteran physical education teachers can make a difference in the success of newly hired physical education teachers. Often, new teachers can feel overwhelmed in the transition to a new position. Here are six ways a veteran physical education teacher can take a leadership role to support a new PE teacher […]

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Bullying in the Gymnasium: Why Some Kids Hate PE




As I reflect in October around National Bullying Prevention Month, I thought I’d be brave and tell you a story. (I’m the “moral courage president” — right?) When I was in middle school, I was bullied by another girl in my sixth-grade PE class. She constantly whispered with her friends about me and even stole my PE shorts off my locker room bench while I wasn’t looking.

I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the first and only time I was not prepared for PE. The sting of it has never […]

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Social Justice in Physical Education




The field of education more broadly has an increased focus on “righting” social inequities that plague our students, teachers, schools and society. By inequities, we mean the patterns in our society that favor some individuals over others.

For example, we know that according to the United States Census Bureau, African Americans make up approximately 13.4% of the country’s population. In prisons, however, African Americans make up 38% of inmates. Given this, we know that African Americans are overrepresented in prison populations. This is a pattern of inequity that unfavorably (and systematically) works against African-American populations.

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Let Our Voices Be Heard: Tell Congress to Support #MoreTitleIV




This fall, as you are embarking on the back-to-school grind, Congress returns from their summer recess with a very important task at hand — funding the federal government for the next fiscal year, which begins October 1. With implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in full swing this school year, appropriations for education is a key issue that Congress will have to address.

In March of this year, Congress passed appropriations legislation for FY18, which provided funding for the 2018-19 school year. We were thrilled to celebrate the results of our advocacy efforts because they funded Title IV, Part A of ESSA at $1.1 billion! That’s an increase of $700 million over the mere $400 million that was appropriated for this critical new state block grant in FY17.

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Why Research REALLY Matters to SHAPE America




In today’s climate of fake news and neglect of science, it’s easy to dismiss evidence as something we don’t really need to help K-12 health and physical education professionals thrive in their day-to-day work. After all, health and PE have been taught in schools for more than a century.

So, you might be wondering: “Who needs research anyway?”

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Small Steps Toward Big Feats




As we enter the new school year, we are excited to announce more details around SHAPE America’s new signature initiatives. These new community and school-based programs will offer more choices for educational fundraising and service-based activities that support effective health and physical education programs.

Over the last few months, members have given us much feedback about future programs — and we listened when you said you want to support worthy causes, but in a fun and simple way. This fall you will have the opportunity to join SHAPE America as it takes its first steps in this new MOVEment!

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Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in HPE




I’m looking to start a new conversation at SHAPE America.

We’ve started and had different versions of this conversation over the years, but as a community, I think we’re ready for a new version of it. One that may make some of us uncomfortable. One that is going to push all of us to think differently. One that will actively move each of us toward taking different actions and breaking away from many traditions […]

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Assessment: Don’t Overthink It!




As we begin the school year, many of you may be developing your assessment strategies and student growth/learning objectives. And if you’re like many teachers, you may have a tendency to overthink this by asking yourself questions such as: […]

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