Why SHAPE 2016 Matters More Than Ever!
This week is the Annual SHAPE America National Convention & Expo, and there’s always a lot of excitement among physical educators! How much? Find out from fitness trainer Alex O’Brien from Focused Fitness below – and if you’re attending, don’t forget to visit the S&S booth # 913!
This year’s National Convention is going to be the best one ever! You may be thinking, “somebody says that every single year, about every convention”. Well, you may be right. However, it’s our job as Quality Physical Educators (#QPE) to be a pox on the status quo. With the changes occurring in education, we cannot afford to be complacent. We always have to become better, more informed, to strive for and accomplish more. To push our own limits so that we can justify pushing the limits of our students, both mentally and physically. So who’s ready for the best National Convention yet?
This year’s SHAPE America National Convention & Exposition is held in Minneapolis. The official hashtag is #SHAPEMinneapolis. There are countless reasons to be excited for this year: The incredible lineup of presenters, the exhibitors that are always welcoming, seeing old friends, meeting new friends, meeting new friends that seem like old friends thanks to platforms like Twitter and Voxer, and the sights and fun to be had outside of the convention hours. However, I believe there is one reason that sets this convention apart from others: The upcoming implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in education. It’s a game changer. It gives all subject areas in school an equal playing field to help students gain the skills related to that subject.
I like to compare ESSA to Title IX for school sports. Title IX, in a nutshell, assures that boys and girls have an equal opportunity to play sports. If there’s a boys football team, there better be a girls sport that complements it. If there’s eight girls sports there needs to be eight boys’ sports; equality in activity across the gender board. ESSA does something similar for subject areas in school. If the math department has an opportunity to receive funding, then the physical education department has that same opportunity. So does English, music, arts, underwater basket weaving, and any other subject that is determined by the State or local educational agency that enriches the educational experience. The buzzword is Well-Rounded Education.
So what does this mean for Health and Physical Education (#physed)? More importantly, what does it have to do with #SHAPEMinneapolis?
For Health and #physed it means we have made it! We are on a level playing field with all subject areas in school when it comes to funds and resources.
For SHAPE Minneapolis it’s time to start talking about how to make ESSA work in our states, districts, and schools. We have to prove that our programs are doing what we say they are doing. For the most part this means data. The days of #physed evaluations that consist of, “the kids are sweating, smiling, and there is no blood – great work and see you next year!” Are coming to an end…quickly. Check out this Whiteboard Animation video to give you an idea of ESSA and #physed!
We have to show that our students are making gains to become (standby for buzzword) physically literate. Data drives money folks. So, let’s take this opportunity to collaborate and talk about all the ways to collect data to show your programs are incredible! This isn’t just fitness data. We are talking about cognitive assessments, behavior logs on activity, hydration, nutrition, sleep, writing goals, setting fitness plans, motor skill assessments, and the list goes on and on. Find a way to validate your program! Stand up for what you believe in! Let’s use SHAPE Minneapolis to help #QPE thrive as we move into the future.
About the Author:
Alex O’Brien (@alexobrien) is the Director of Film & Social Media as well as a Trainer for Focused Fitness. His background is Physical Education. He has his Master’s in Education and his research focused on academic content integrated into physical movement, comparing how they can affect short & long term retention. As a PE teacher he was instrumental in incorporating technology, social media, and video into PE, district wide. He has presented to educators from coast to coast speaking at the state and national level. He believes in living a healthy and active lifestyle with a smile on.