For years, I've attended the Oregon chapter of this same organization. It's the professional organization for educators and faculty in school health education, physical education, recreation and dance. It was my first year attending the KAHPERD conference and I was impressed. Sunday kicked off with a free pre-training (about 60 in attendance!) on the Presidential Youth Fitness Program. It is a free program developed to ensure what happens before, during and after the fitness assessment is beneficial for students and teachers and leads to youth who are active for life.
On Monday, I had an opportunity to reconnect with Jennifer Pursell, also a former teacher from Oregon (we are Kentucky transplants!) and many other colleagues here in Kentucky. After a year in my new state, I continue to feel connected, engaged and inspired by Kentucky health and PE teachers!
Monday offered sessions around core standards and integration with nutrition, different activities to implement in PE and one in particular that I found interesting by Dr. Mike Bellard at Eastern Kentucky University on research he and a grad student completed. They looked at the profile of Secondary Health and PE Teachers in Kentucky. Fascinating study! They began with a review of the literature focusing on secondary PE and Health teacher's professional experiences and needs. They then compiled names/emails of all the high school Health and PE teachers in the state (much more challenging than you'd imagine!) and distributed online surveys asking questions about their certification, professional development needs and experiences, engagement or lack there of in KAHPERD, etc. I was fascinated to learn that in many districts, including Jefferson County Public Schools (Louisville's district), educators are not allowed to attend professional development during the school day. WHAT? Shame on those policies around the state. Some of it is fiscally driven (cost of a substitute teacher), but the return on investment would benefit everyone. Invigorated teachers, supported teachers, opportunities to learn and grow and improve their instruction. This all leads to teacher retention (saves $) and possibly increased academic achievement of students. C'mon! Let's change this.
Reita Clanton, and Olympic athlete (woman's US Handball team, 1984) was inspirational with her story of growing up at a time with no woman role model athletes and how she navigated that and excelled and became an inspiration to all of us woman athletes behind her!
I really enjoyed the recognition luncheon. I think that recognizing and celebrating educators is so important when so many feel burnt out and stressed day to day. Loved seeing Jenny Dearden and Jamie Sparks receive recognition and I really enjoyed a great tribute (and about 30 minutes of roasting) for Lonnie Davis for his dedication to KAHPERD over so many years. Great job KAHPERD! See you next year!