An interview with Paul Rosengard, Executive Director of SPARK
With access to physical education (PE) shrinking, and the waistlines of our children growing, educators and communities will need to make sure that the activity K-12 students get gives them the best return. To tease out hallmarks of quality, we turned to Paul Rosengard of SPARK. Paul is an author, researcher/educator, and executive director of SPARK programs of San Diego State University (@paulrosengard). Here is the second part of a three-part series. Read part one.
THRIVING SCHOOLS: What is Quality Physical Education?
Paul Rosengard: If you ask 10 different professionals in our field, you’ll likely receive 10 different answers! Since you asked me, I’ll share our philosophy which was developed by one of our SPARK Principals, Dr. Thom McKenzie. It’s HOPE: Health Optimizing Physical Education. This is a positive learning environment where students learn fitness and motor skills via a sequential and progressive path towards becoming physically educated people. Participation is individualized, yet there are opportunities to accumulate movement experiences with partners and groups. The emphasis is more on cooperation than competition, and developing competencies in lifelong activities rather than traditional team sports. For example, high school physical education looks more like a health club than an 11 on 11 soccer game with 1 ball being touched more by the most fit and skilled students. HOPE advocates for all students to engage in moderate to vigorous physical activity at least 50% of class time and to promote physical activity during and outside of the PE class.
To learn more about HOPE: Health Optimizing Physical Education, click here to view a short video.
THRIVING SCHOOLS: How can I tell if my school provides quality physical education?
Here are 3 suggested steps:
1. Speak with your school’s PE teacher(s). Ask her/him to:
- Tell you how often students have PE – frequency and duration
- See their Yearly Plan (what they teach and when).
- Show you how their program aligns with their District, State or National Standards.
- Explain how they demonstrate student learning to those standards via assessment and evaluation.
2. Speak with your school’s Principal. Let her/him know you support:
- Quality, daily PE for every student taught by a credentialed specialist.
- Curriculum that has been proven to work and last – evidence-based.
- A budget that allows teachers to replenish equipment so students have plenty for PE, recess, after school — activity throughout the day on campus.
- Ongoing professional development and new resource acquisition for the school’s PE teachers.
- Grades for physical education that are factored into a student’s grade point average.
3. Attend school-board meetings and express your support for quality, daily physical education taught by credentialed specialists for all students in all grades.
Click here to download the suggested next steps to see if your school provides quality physical education.
For free resources to support your physical education program, click here to visit the SPARK website.
SPARK strives to improve the health of children, adolescents, and adults by disseminating evidence-based Physical Education, After School, Early Childhood, and Coordinated School Health programs to teachers and recreation leaders serving Pre-K through 12th grade students.