Olympic gymnast Raisman highlights general sessions

50 Million Strong, research will also have large presence during convention

Winter-17-Momentum_coverFive years after the infamous Boston Blackout, our professional community will be returning to the John Hynes Convention Center on March 14-18 with a renewed energy and some major star power, headlined by Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman, who was the captain of the women's gymnastics team in the Rio Olympics. Once again, health and physical educators will be inspired with new ideas, skills and ways to transform their schools, while making connections with like-minded colleagues and learning about new funding ideas to support their programs.    
The week's activities kick off Tuesday, March 14, when SHAPE America Past President Steve Jefferies and other leaders in the field will host a "50 Million Strong by 2029 Forum," an interactive session designed to motivate educators and provide direction on how to get all of America's school-age children physically active and healthy. Learn firsthand how this commitment will challenge all of us to reconsider, re-imagine and redesign how we deliver physical education and health education to America's students. Hear how progress will be measured, what current evaluation tools and processes can be used to evaluate success, and how you can be a "champion." Complimentary 50 Million Strong T-shirts will be given away to the first 300 registered participants.

General Sessions     

Raisman, the captain of both the 2012 "Fierce Five" and 2016 "Final Five" U.S. women's Olympic gymnastics teams, will join us at Thursday's General Session. A special appearance by an NFL player is also planned that morning. Dean Kriellaars, Ph.D., University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, will highlight his work with Cirque de Soleil as he presents "Physical Literacy: the Gateway to Active Participation" on Friday, March 17.      

SHAPE America has also invited Maya Enista Smith, executive director of Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation, and Steve Gross, chief executive optimist of the Life is Good Kids Foundation, to keynote the Opening General Session on Wednesday, March 15. In her presentation, Enista Smith will discuss "Creating a Kinder and Braver World" while Gross will discuss "Discovering the Power of Optimism."

Other Programs

Research will also have a large presence in Boston. The Research Council is hosting a session titled, "Learning from the Past, Making History" which will be a session that contains a historical perspective of SHAPE America and its research disciplines, followed by a discussion about the future. This session will include research and discussion by SHAPE America members Hans van der Mars, Missy Parker and Kevin Patton. Russ Pate of the University of South Carolina will present the "U.S. Report Card on Physical Activity in Children and Youth" while CDC Health Scientist Shannon Michael discusses the "Report on Secular Changes in Physical Education Attendance in the U.S." and Christina Economos, associate professor at Tufts University, presents "Best Practices in School District-Wide Efforts to Promote Students' Physical Activity."

Want to see what other convention sessions you'd like to attend? Check out the preliminary program and schedule-at-a-glance chart! Then, head to the convention registration page to take advantage of $75 in early-bird savings!

Make Your Case to Attend

If you need help getting approval from your administrator to attend the event, use our Justification Toolkit, which includes:     

  • Convention benefits

  • Justification letter template

  • Tips for speaking with your supervisor

Go Green to Save Green

This year, the convention will be "paper-light" and SHAPE America will make the world a little greener by using the mobile app to navigate convention sessions instead of producing a printed program.


Among the sponsors supporting the SHAPE America National Convention &Expo are Fuel Up to Play 60, Human Kinetics, KIDZ BOP, Life is Good Kids Foundation, New York Road Runners, Reebok and BOKS, Build our Kids' Success, Sportime featuring SPARK, a category of School Specialty, Inc., and Taylor &Francis.

For more information about the SHAPE America National Convention &Expo, visit the website and follow #SHAPEBoston. The convention is held in partnership with SHAPE America Eastern District and the Massachusetts Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (MAHPERD).

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