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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Three Schools Nationally Honored As NASPE STARS Schools
RESTON, VA, October 26, 2011 – The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) has selected Capital High School (Helena, MT), Hannah Martin Elementary School (Lake in the Hills, IL), and Jefferson Road Elementary School (Pittsford, NY) as 2012 NASPE STARS schools. Recognized for their outstanding physical education programs, the three schools join an elite group of 59 schools to ever receive national acclaim as a NASPE STARS school. The following physical educators from each school will be honored during the NASPE Hall of Fame Banquet at the 127th National Convention & Exposition of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) held in Boston, MA in March: Capital High School's Mike Burk, Steve Gross, Reg Hageman, Pat Hurley, Tim Kelly, Jennifer Loomis, Shirley Chesterfield-Stanton, and Greg Trenary; Hannah Martin Elementary School's Kathy Bilof, Marcus Boynton, Allison Breidenbach, Lauren Brezinski, and Wendy Chauncey; and Jefferson Road Elementary School's Bret Burrows and Esther Marino. A STARS banner will be presented to the school staff as well as certificates of recognition and a $150 gift certificate from FlagHouse, the official physical education equipment sponsor of the NASPE STARS program.
The STARS program honors physical education programs that model the essential elements for quality physical education and provide meaningful learning opportunities for all students. In addition, STARS schools exemplify excellence in teaching students the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed for motor development to achieve movement competency, health-related fitness, and promote lifelong physical activity. To earn that distinction, each of the school's physical education staff compiled documentation about its curriculum, best practices, and teaching methods over nearly a year which was then rigorously reviewed by an independent panel of judges from around the country.
NASPE Executive Director Charlene Burgeson explains: "The criteria for this award are based on the essential elements necessary for a quality physical education program. This includes content based on the national standards for physical education, educationally and developmentally appropriate instructional strategies and teaching skills, adequate facilities, and equipment that are safe and appropriate for the age and abilities of the students with classes taught by certified physical educators, among others."
According to NASPE President Dennis Docheff of the University of Central Missouri, "NASPE STARS programs are leaders in providing high-quality physical education that meet national standards and guidelines. They are models for other schools to emulate."
Capital High School
One of two high schools in Helena, Capital High School houses 1,400 students. Though the state requires 1.0 credits of physical education for graduation the school district requires 2.0 credits. Freshmen participate in a full-year program of daily physical education. Sophomores participate in a ½ year of health and a ½ year of physical education, and elective classes are also provided beyond these requirements. Program offerings include health-related fitness and health enhancement. In addition to individual and team sports, students are exposed to tennis, dance, Ultimate, archery, rock climbing, golf, aerobics, track and field, and snowshoeing as some of their choices for activity classes. Outside programs and a co-curricular all-day field trip planned to Lewis and Clark Caverns in Montana with the earth science classes round out the curriculum. Heart rate monitors, pedometers, jogging games and a bike unit allow students to work on aerobic conditioning and target heart rate. The physical education staff was recognized by the Montana Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance with the Excellence Program Award.
Hannah Martin Elementary School
At Hannah Martin Elementary School five dedicated professional physical education teachers instruct over 1,300 students from the rural community of Lake in the Hills. Given the size of this "school within a school" building, the physical education staff has found innovative ways to utilize their facilities in such a way to provide their students fundamental and yet unique learning opportunities. Through cooperative team teaching approaches, the "emphasis is placed on sequential skill development, fitness/wellness awareness and improvement (healthy lifestyles), cooperation, and positive attitude toward physical activity." Various forms of dance, juggling, bowling, cup stacking, jump roping, team activities, and a variety of fitness units provide the students with a well-balanced physical education experience that promotes and supports their physical education mission statement: "To Inspire, challenge and empower students to participate in lifelong physical activity for a productive, healthy life."
Jefferson Road Elementary School
Jefferson Road Elementary, a K-5 school in Pittsford, a suburban community located southeast of Rochester, NY, places a high value on academic achievement and educational quality. The two physical education teachers, Mrs. Marino and Mr. Burrows have developed a unique and enriching physical education program based on high building and district academic and social responsibility behavior expectations. Approximately 390 students attend this school that offers physical education classes two to three times a week. In an effort to meet New York State's physical education time requirements, classroom teachers provide additional physical activity through "BrainGym Podcasts." The district elementary physical education curriculum encompasses five areas: movement concepts and skills, fitness, gymnastics, rhythms and dance, and games. Movement concepts and skills include team, dual, and individual sports. Games and fitness offer opportunities for instructional units in adventure and outdoor activities. The physical education teachers have successfully enriched their curriculum by offering unique activities such as cross-country skiing, mountain biking, snow shoeing, and sledding that fit with their lifetime fitness theme. They provide a rich and rewarding physical education experience engaging all students regardless of ability level with appropriate educational content.
There is growing evidence showing school-based physical activity programs may help improve academic performance including grades and standardized test scores. According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 200 positive associations were found between physical activity and academic performance. Some of the positive correlations were related to attention and concentration, classroom behavior, and graduation.
A quality school physical education program is the foundation for helping children develop the knowledge, skills, and confidence that promotes lifelong physical activity. By improving the quality of school physical education programs across the country, there will be a direct effect on the health of America's children. In a time of increasing health risks and health care costs in our country, prevention is a key and exemplary physical education programs must be part of the solution.
For more information about quality physical education programs, visit the NASPE web site at http://www.aahperd.org/naspe/.
Paula Keyes Kun
Society of Health and Physical Educators