I have been on the road presenting over the past two weeks and this blog post is a reflection of inspirational stories and challenges facing our profession. Without discussing our problems, we can’t continue to grow and educate the millions of students that we service in the United States. We are at a critical time for our profession and we must challenge the status quo for the future of physical education.
Learning From Physical Education Titans
I had the pleasure of going to the 28th Annual Lake Conference in New Jersey. This is an amazing event held on a campground in northern NJ over two days. The event is based on the Camp Caesar model from West Virginia. The legendary Gregg Montgomery is the chair of the event and he is supported by a small group of NJ educators. They work hard to develop an incredible schedule of presenters and develop coursework to meet the NJ accreditation requirements for recertification. The attendants of the convention can receive up to 13 Continuing Education Units by participating in one hour whole group presentations by national and state presenters. The experience is awesome and the quality of material presented can be compared to that at national conferences. This event should get about four hundred educators but instead it only had about one hundred NJAHPERD members. The event is very empowering for the educators in attendance and provides quality best practices for educators in a summer camp approach.
The challenge of the event is low participation and marketing. How does the NJAHPERD convention get 1,500-2,000 participants, yet the Lake Conference only has about 100 participating members? This seems like a support issue from an outsider's perspective. The event needs support and resources to be successful. I believe member feedback and cost analysis needs to be done by the state organization after each event. Realistic budgets need to be set by the organization and work cooperatively for the needs of all educators. All NJ educators need quality PD, not just educators located near urban/suburban centers. Also, use the knowledge of the old titans like a Gregg Montgomery and John Smith to teach another generation of educators to continue this great professional development conference for another 25 years.
Maryland My Maryland
I believe that Maryland has some outstanding professionals. The knowledge of this core group of educators that I work with on the state board is amazing. Each year they put in many long hours planning and designing an incredible one day convention. The convention grabs the attendance of about 500 of the 3,000 physical educators in the state. I am happy to see these 500 physical educators each year at the state convention but wonder is this the best use of our budget each year? Are we reaching all the educators in Maryland that need professional development and support? Do we really need to hold events in a hotel convention center? Does a one day event need to cost between 45k-100k?
I believe the ways of doing business twenty years ago do not match the current budget requirements and needs of our educators. We need to stop wasting money on pointless purchases and put every dollar to practical projects. We need to support equity for all educators. I would rather have a convention at a high school that is 25k and use the rest of the money to support PD locally. We have 23 counties in Maryland that need support and resources too. If we gave each county five hundred dollars that would be 12K towards professional development. We need to build partnerships to get educators with limited resources the equipment and supplies they need to be successful. We also need to inform the membership of the loss of funding coming from AHA/SHAPE agreement. When we choose not to talk about tough topics we continue to be the status quo. If change doesn’t occur, be prepared to be challenged by another professional development organization in Maryland which can become the leading organization for health and physical educators in the state.
Stop Giving All The Money To Athletics
Why does athletics get all the money and physical education get zero dollars from sponsorship deals? When will companies learn that physical education has the possibility of creating more future customers then sponsoring teams. With the Sagamore deal, can Under Armour protect and provide resources for all the educators teaching physical education in Baltimore City and the state of Maryland?We could be a great business partner if you choose to stop looking for professional athlete endorsements. It is time to Protect this House.
Please fight for what you believe in physical education friends. It’s time for a revolution.