Member Voices

SHAPE America’s Position Statement on Before and After School Physical Activity

I realize there are times when it may be time consuming to find what you are looking for at various websites searching for something specific. There is a lot of beneficial information on the SHAPE America website that we would like to highlight for you in the hope that it can be useful and assist you in delivering quality programs to your students and school.

As a member of SHAPE America’s Physical Activity Council, I would like to share with you SHAPE America’s Position Statement on Before and After School Physical Activity information, which you can find at this link: . The position statement shares Goals and Characteristics of a Before and After School program. It describes very specifically how to Organize and Administer an Intramural program, including staff to student ratios based on grade level, type of activity and equipment, facility and safety concerns. This can be a very useful tool for a staff person (Physical Education teacher) to use when approaching administration about requesting a Before and After School Physical Activity and Intramurals program.

The Position Statement includes the argument that this should be a complement to a high quality Physical Education program. This is a perfect follow up to the recently posted PE vs PA Infographic just released by SHAPE America, which you can find here: 

SHAPE America is here to help you deliver the highest quality program possible to your students and school. Please be sure to use the SHAPE America website as a resource and we encourage you to take advantage of the MySHAPE Member’s Voice to share questions and valuable resources.

Why You Should Be A Member

Why are you a member of SHAPE America or your state association? Is it for all of those membership benefits? Is it so you can attend an upcoming convention or conference?

What if we rethink this? I am going to ask you to be a member of your professional organization for two very important and specific reasons.

First, be a member for you. Be a member as an investment in YOU and YOUR professional position. You will be connected to some of the highest quality professionals. You will have the opportunity to learn from and share with these high quality professionals. Through collaboration your professional learning will be pushed to another level. You’ll develop a growth mindset. In turn, this will allow you to bring the most effective and current teaching to your students, making you and your students the winners in this whole process. And that is the best outcome we could ever want.

Second, be a member because that’s what professionals do. They support the goals, ideals and missions of their state and national organization by being members. And, better yet, your participation in your state and national organizations can truly impact our profession.

As we enter the convention and conference season, I hope you will consider this mindset change when you decide to become a member of your state association and/or national organization, SHAPE America.

To paraphrase John F. Kennedy:

“Ask not what your professional organizations can do for you… ask what you can do for your professional organizations.” 

New PE vs PA Infographic

As a member of the SHAPE’s Physical Activity Council, I am excited to share with you the new

infographic on PE vs PA. This was a joint effort between the PA Council and SHAPE’s Physical

Education Council to come up with an advocacy piece that can be used as the “elevator”

speech about the importance of PE and PA and why it is important to have both in a school

setting. This piece can be used with fellow staff and colleagues, administration and school

board members, as well as parents and students. I cannot express the importance of

advocating for our profession. Even if you are not comfortable going to Washington, DC for

SHAPE America’s Speak Out Day, or to your state’s capital and speaking with legislators, we

can all advocate at the local grassroots level. In fact, you are advocating for our profession

every day to your students, when you deliver high-quality physical education.

I believe it is important physical education professionals know the importance physical

education plays in the overall role of educating our students. This infographic gives us the tool

to share that message when advocating for our profession.

I believe that it is important to let others know that physical activity is important, as well.

Effective physical education is the base or foundation that leads to meaningful physical activity.

Physical activity is where students can practice what has been taught and learned in the

physical education classroom. They complement one another and without one you don’t have

the other when it comes to the overall physical development of children.

Please take advantage of the “tools” SHAPE America has to offer to our profession. Here is the

link to the PE vs PA infographic:  

Notes on #SHAPE Tampa Proposal Notifications

It seems like a night of numbers. 1, 953, 31, 270, and .283

#SHAPETampa is my 1st National Convention & Expo as a SHAPE America team member and I can’t wait for April to get here. Our team is honored, grateful and excited that 953 proposals were submitted from members of our community for the 2019 SHAPE America National Convention & Expo. 31 volunteers participated in the review process this year starting with the blind review and finishing with the notifications. Those committee volunteers spanned from Washington State to Florida and even out into our international community.  SHAPE members who teach in schools, supervise in central offices and are part of distinguished faculties in higher education contributed to our review and selection process. Our committee included specialists in physical education, health education, dance, physical activity, research and sport.

When our call goes out for reviewers for #SHAPESaltLakeCity those with interest should know that the committee is charged with a near impossible task for the number of session slots is far less than the number of applicants. This year the number of slots was 270 session slots.    .283 is a great batting average but an awfully challenging acceptance rate. The competition is real, and the community is strong. These are not easy decisions.

It takes a lot of courage to fill out the proposal form. There can be some emotional risk to those who challenge themselves to submit a proposal. Please know that we truly respect your submission and are honored that you want to contribute to our community. Our committee looks for sessions that are unique and focus on the latest trends in the field. When multiple sessions on similar topics are submitted our committees often are unable to accept proposals; not because of the quality of the proposal but due to our desire to have as many topics as possible presented at the convention as well as to offer balance between the many components of our organization.

One of the questions, I’ve gotten in my time in Reston is, “Will SHAPE America give me feedback on my proposal?” I’m pleased to say the answer to that is YES! Of course we will communicate with you and answer questions. What we can share with you is the feedback that our review committee gave us and we are happy to do that. 

In order to facilitate that communication, you are welcome to reach out to me via email at I will personally be having a feedback day for anyone who wishes to make an appointment to talk 1:1 on Tuesday 11/6 from 9 AM Eastern to 11 PM Eastern. Appointments are available in 10 minute blocks. Email with 3 preferred times on 11/6 and I will respond with your appointment time. Please be available to talk via video chat or phone at your designated time.

Thank you for taking the time to read about our process and our numbers tonight. Thank you for being part of our community and thank you for your participation leading up to #SHAPETampa.

Vision impairment help needed

I teach a 3rd grade student with a total vision impairment who is main streamed into a regular PE setting.  His basic skills are lacking due to him being pulled out of PE(and other classes) for him to attend his special ed classes (braille and mobility training) for the past few years (at at least 2 different schools).  I am trying to include him in every activity we do.  So far, things are going well.  I have gotten him some adapted equipment and he is excited to try anything!  

Does anyone have any suggestions for how to include him in basic team sports with offense and defense?  For example, Flickerball (passing a beeper ball from teammate to teammate before passing to the goalie to score points).  I am not quite sure how to adapt the game so that defenders don’t have an advantage.  Should defenders freeze, in place, while he has the ball?  Other suggestions?

Any help would be appreciated!


Karen Fisher

Enhancing Student Health and Wellness in ACPS, ESSA-Style

Mike Humphreys, Instructional Specialist for Health/Physical Education and Family Life Education, Alexandria City Public Schools

Under the recently reauthorized Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), there is much greater flexibility offered to school districts as to how they spend their Title IV, Part A dollars. For the first time schools and districts are able to allocate funding to enhance the “health and well-being” of the students they serve. This directly aligns with ESSA’s claim to be more supportive of the “whole child,” instead of simply pushing increased test scores. Some school districts have been able to claim these funds in the name of health/physical education initiatives, and I’m very proud to say that Alexandria City Public Schools in Virginia is one of them.

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. I would routinely check-in with our Grants Coordinator, for instance, 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 and shut me up for a while!

We are planning a three-pronged attack for spending this money and impacting students’ general health-related understanding. First, I’m able to purchase heart rate monitors and the latest software in the field to give students at four Title I schools extra motivation to get and stay active. Teachers will be able to project real-time readings for heart rate and other measurements pertaining to student activity levels. I’m also able to train the teachers on how to use this cutting –edge equipment. Second, we’re going to have 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade teachers at these schools trained in the “Catch a Rainbow Everyday” nutritional program. This will allow them to reach their students with weekly content regarding the importance of fruit and vegetable consumption, among other nutritional messaging. Funding will help to supply a colorful variety of vegetables for the students to sample while they learn how fruits and vegetables help them grow into healthy adults who enjoy a balanced diet. And finally, our division’s Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program will be used to support these nutrition and fitness efforts to encourage healthy habits. Students will receive incentives for participation in lessons, activities and challenges that promote healthy eating habits and encourage movement.

As student health and wellness are finally finding the spotlight in the K-12 school setting, ESSA’s spending flexibility is serving up just what the country needs. Our students must be taught how important it is that they are physically active and committed to their own well-being. 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, and we have already begun the planning to utilize next year’s increased allocation!

Empowering Students Through Appropriate Practices in P.E.

Recently the State Department of Education in Alabama issued guidance that advised teachers to use standards-based physical education instruction in the largest classroom in the school — the gymnasium.

Unfortunately, this guidance was not popular among all the residents of Alabama. The criticism came from all angles and was directed at the State Department of Education, the folks who work for children each day.

Detractors slammed the department for depriving children of having fun because to those critics, “What could possibly be wrong with teaching “Duck, Duck, Goose” and dodgeball to seven- and eight-year-old students enrolled in Alabama Public Schools?”

I take exception with critics who say that students are being deprived of fun. An activity is fun when it is enjoyable for everyone and these games (including getting blasted with a dodgeball) are not. While it is true that some children may enjoy these activities, it is also true that it can be humiliating for many students. For the less athletic and skilled, these games may result in feelings of isolation. Additionally, they often result in early elimination, which limits physical activity during the PE class period.

Bottom line, there are better ways for children to spend time in physical education. What if these children were offered appropriate instructional practices in physical education instead of these elimination activities? The kind of instruction that could help them learn life skills and concepts?

It would mean that time previously spent running relays or playing “What Time Is It Mr. Wolf” could be replaced with activities that help students value their participation in physical activity and develop skill patterns that lead to success in a variety of pursuits. These children could be empowered with the skills and knowledge to analyze, identify and improve their own fitness level.

More importantly, these students could use those same skills — the ones taught through standards-based physical education — to improve relationships, work cooperatively with teammates, and accept and give criticism. They might even learn to enjoy physical activity for their lifetime.

As a parent, I can appreciate the nostalgia of youthful games, but as an educator I know better. Physical education, as well as a host of other subjects, has evolved over the years.

For example, our kids are better off knowing that algebraic concepts need to be taught earlier so students learn to think conceptually about math. They are better off knowing that diverse texts and the study of history of multiple cultures lead to a better understanding of our current world; better off doing scientific experiments in the classroom instead of watching videos.

And, they are much better off having physical education teachers who recognize that all students need to feel valued and have the opportunity to move in class (which you don’t do when you get eliminated).

An effective physical education program that uses appropriate instructional practices will prepare Alabama students to lead active and healthy lives and can only benefit the state and its residents.