National PE4Life Program Director Teresa Dilley and National PE4Life Program Training Specialist Kim Mason took a fast-paced tour of how PE4Life principals have been implemented by visiting five schools.
These schools included the three original pilot schools, Waterville Community Elementary School, Ocoee Middle School and Walker Valley High School, as well as Charleston Elementary and Lake Forest Middle School.
The tours for the day ended at Ocoee Middle School. Here the representatives watched a sixth-grade gym class, a dance class and workout room session.
PE4Life takes physical activity beyond the gym to create fun ways for students to get active. Dilley said she was looking for how all the components of the program come together in the schools. These components include how physical education is taught and how physical activity is encouraged outside of the gym.
The PE4Life program focuses on encouraging healthy habits, not teaching sports.
“We’re looking at helping students develop healthy lifestyles,” Bradley County Coordinated School Health Director Andrea Lockerby said.
Lockerby said knowledge of how to live a healthy life will help students well into adulthood.
During the PE4Life-based gym class, students move from one activity to another, so every student is always active. Different activity stations are set up along the perimeter of the gym with equipment the students can use with minimal instruction.
Other activities — such as dancing, Wii and Dance Dance Revolution — have also been incorporated in the OMS classes.
“Physical education shouldn’t be only within the gym walls,” Lockerby said.
Dilley also was focused on how many teachers were involved and whether every student was participating throughout the day.
Bradley County teachers have also found ways to incorporate physical activity into academic classes.
“It’s not a curriculum, it’s a philosophy,” Lockerby said.
Dilley said she had contacted Lockerby about a month ago to set up the tour. The organization wanted to see the school system before an upcoming conference.
Whether Bradley County will be one of the next model school systems for the organization was not decided Thursday. Dilley said she and Mason will discuss the idea when they return to the PE4Life headquarters in Missouri.
PE4life was implemented in Bradley County in 2009 through Coordinated School Health. Lockerby said adopting this approach to physical activity was made possible through a grant from the United Way Bradley Memorial Health Endowment Fund in partnership with the Bradley Cleveland Public Education Foundation.