Training Others to Lead Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs

Article excerpt

What Is a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program?

For the past several years, the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) has highlighted a tremendous amount of information related to comprehensive school physical activity programs (CSPAPs). From the recently approved position statement on CSPAPs, a CSPAP is "a systemic approach by which schools use all opportunities for school-based physical activity (PA) to develop physically educated students who participate in the nationally recommended 60+ minutes of PA each day and develop the knowledge, skills, and confidence to be physically active for a lifetime" (AAHPERD, in press). The goals of a CSPAP are to:

* provide a variety of physical activity opportunities throughout the school day, including before and after school, with a quality physical education program as the foundation;

* provide physical activity opportunities so that all students can participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily;

* incorporate physical activity opportunities for faculty and staff members and for families;

* encourage and reinforce physical activity opportunities in the community; and

* coordinate among the CSPAP components to maximize understanding, application, and practice of the knowledge and skills learned in physical education so that all students will be physically educated and motivated for a lifetime of physical activity.

The purpose of this article is to describe two unique approaches to implementing specific components of a CSPAP in local K-12 schools. The information is presented from the lens of two physical education teacher education (PETE) faculty members who were not the individuals implementing the CSPAP, but who spent a significant amount of time guiding others in how to implement a program, with hopes that they in turn would be the physical activity "champions" in their specific school site.

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Training Others to Lead a District-Wide CSPAP

The first example described is related to the implementation of a CSPAP in a small, rural K-12 school district in the Southeastern United States. The following story is illustrated by the acronym ACTION.

A: Administration

Time was spent with all of the administrators of the school district. Advocating for increased physical activity and attempting to get all administrators "on board" was a focal point. I clearly described each of the four components of a CSPAP in addition to quality physical education. To me, the key element of implementing a CSPAP in the school district was the full support of the superintendent.

C: Collaboration

Meeting with all of the teachers in the school district for a brief period of on-site physical activity promotion time was important. It was essential to emphasize the need for collaboration as the school district aims to increase health and physical activity among all members. During this time, I presented basic physical activity research; addressed the need for increasing physical activity among students, faculty, staff, parents, and community members; and provided specific examples of how physical activity may be integrated in that school district in a variety of ways. The teachers recognized the specific needs in the district and brainstormed ways to increase physical activity.

T: Teaching

With each opportunity to visit the school district, I continued meeting with different groups of teachers on various occasions (e.g., physical education teachers, elementary classroom teachers, etc.). We focused on physical education instructional time, integrating physical activity with academics, schoolwide physical activity functions, promoting physical activity in the home and in the community, and simple movement activities during transitional periods. …