Not long into their first Physical Activity Leader (PAL) Learning System Training, Teri Galloway and a co-worker from Federal Way Public Schools in Washington settled upon an important conclusion: their own district would benefit greatly from this type of comprehensive leadership workshop.
Soon after, Teri, the District PE Lead, took advantage of a school training day to follow through on that thought, bringing the PAL Training to the Federal Way District for all 67 of the schools’ physical education teachers.
“For the first time, we were all able to sit down and start talking about a comprehensive curriculum for physical education,” Teri said.
Prior to the PAL Training, Federal Way Public Schools faced difficulties in uniting all of its K-12 physical educators around a common strategy and curriculum. Each of the schools had different physical education facilities and different sets of equipment to work with, complicating the task of forming a unified plan.
Though some of the structural differences could not be changed, the level of collaboration among the physical education teachers certainly could. Thanks to the PAL Training,” we were all finally able to be on the same page,” said Teri.
The leadership workshop provided “great momentum,” she added, and enabled her team to “start moving forward in creating content around physical education.”
The one-day gathering quickly translated into a lasting difference for the teachers and for the district’s 20,000+ students. Since the training, the physical education teachers have continued to meet as a K-12 group during professional days to coordinate and collaborate their efforts around their Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP).
Additionally, Teri has been able to use a variety of Let’s Move! Active Schools resources to track schools’ progress and to find new funding opportunities — for which Active Schools has been “paramount,” Teri notes.
Despite all the benefits for Teri and her team, though, it is the students of Federal Way Public Schools who appear to be the greatest beneficiaries. After Teri challenged the physical educators to“think beyond” the PE classroom, the teachers quickly took her up on the challenge and came up with some creative, yet seamless ways to keep students moving throughout the day.
Now, for example, all teachers at Decatur High School, part of Federal Way Public Schools, have access to brain energizer cards, which they can use to insert a dash of physical activity into their lengthy 85-minute teaching periods.
“Teachers were saying, ‘I lose my students at about 20 or 30 minutes,’” noted Teri. “All of a sudden, the students all need to get up or use the restroom and move around.”
To keep students’ minds alert and focused, many of the high school teachers have started using the energizers, which mix entertainment and activity with substantive educational content.
Feedback from students and teachers alike has been positive so far, Teri says – though sometimes the energizers seem to work a little too well.
“There are some occasions where teachers are asking, ‘OK, now how do I get them back afterward?,” Teri said. “That’s our next challenge.”
If Teri’s record is any indication, she and her team will have the answers in place before it’s time for the next energizer to begin.
Bring a PAL Training to your District!
- Who should attend: School leaders, physical educators, classroom teachers, parents or community leaders who want to champion active learning environments for school-aged youth
- Cost: FREE
- How do I sign up: Contact us by submitting your info here or via email at [email protected] to learn more about hosting a training or to sign up for a workshop in your area.