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May / June 2024


JOPERD: Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance

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  May / June 2024 (Volume 95, Issue 5)

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Table of Contents

Free Access Article
Systemic Success in Physical Education: A PLC Before Its Time

Keven A. Prusak, Zack Beddoes, Todd R. Pennington, and David Barney

Drawing from a variety of conceptual and theoretical frameworks, this article provides a summary of decades of research into a university–district partnership that in multiple ways could be considered a systemic success. It describes the practices and processes of how two sectors of the broader physical education system (i.e., in-school physical education and teacher education) have complemented each other in the pursuit of the ongoing workforce development of physical education professionals. Physical education professionals belonging to the participating school district and teacher preparation program have sustained a working partnership based on sound professional learning community (PLC) principles (e.g., ongoing professional development, collaborative teaming, common vision, mission, and language, strong support from the central office) long before PLCs became fixtures in districts and schools. Indeed, this partnership could, in many respects, be described as a PLC before its time. This article highlights the partnership’s early days and several features that have supported its success and longevity. It also offers supporting evidence from the perspectives of the students, parents, and teachers who have been associated with this partnership.


Elevating and Strengthening the Physical Education Workforce

This JOPERD feature identifies and highlights exemplars of cross-sector partnerships that support the broader physical education system. These partnerships and collaborations are designed to address the known issues and challenges related to the recruitment and retention of qualified teachers within the physical education profession from a multi-sector, multi-dimensional perspective. A secondary purpose of the feature is to describe the process of cross-sector partnership development and illustrate common practices essential for building, growing, and sustaining this meaningful work now and into the future.

Jon’s Heroes in Training: A Cross-Sector Collaboration Serving University and Community Stakeholders

Jon’s Heroes in Training (JHT) represents a strong cross-sector collaboration that was created and has evolved over the past five years. JHT is an after-school program where children (ages 3-22) with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis come to the local university to engage in high-quality physical education lessons designed and implemented by physical education teacher education (PETE) students currently taking a required Adapted Physical Education class. This article discusses (a) the process required to establish the shared mission and vision of JHT and the role of the Office of Civic Engagement (OCE); (b) the negotiated roles and responsibilities of stakeholders, including university faculty from PETE, PETE students, children with ASD and their families, and local non-profit organizations; (c) the impact of JHT on its stakeholders; and (d) lessons learned and future directions.

A Collective Action Formation to Address Mental, Emotional and Behavioral Health in Schools: The District 87 Wellness Collaborative

The District 87 Wellness Collaborative is a multi-dimensional, interprofessional initiative in the Midwest region of the United States that was co-designed to facilitate collaboration, civic engagement, and partnerships among university scholar-practitioners, community agencies, and school administrators and personnel. The primary aims of the Wellness Collaborative are to develop, enhance, and extend school initiatives that address mental, emotional, and behavioral health outcomes of school-age children, their families, and the education workforce. The Wellness Collaborative is composed of disciplinary expertise in kinesiology, school counseling and psychology, social work, nursing, geography, and community health. Broader campus and community partners include specialists from civic and community engagement offices, extension services, and healthcare providers. This ecologically framed initiative supports strategic and system-level change within the district (system) and individual schools (sub-systems). It addresses complex school-level organizational factors (i.e., environment, norms, organizational culture, incentives, etc.) that influence wellness behaviors that affect school and physical education workforce professionals.

WYO PETe and WAHPERD: Origin, Development and Successes of a Great Western Alliance

This article describes a successful Wyoming partnership recently developed between the long-standing Wyoming Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (WAHPERD) and the newly founded Wyoming Physical Education Teaching (WYO PETe) Collaborative. The organization leaders engaged in extended discussion about how this multi-sector partnership could collaborate to offer Wyoming physical educators a range of professional development (PD) opportunities that meets their individual needs and the unique barriers they face. The decision to combine efforts resulted in WAHPERD and WYO PETe expanding PD opportunities at state convention and throughout the year. The partnership also saw multiple inservice physical educators joining with university faculty and graduate students to form a WAHPERD Advocacy Committee to survey Wyoming physical education and physical activity policy implementation and develop advocacy tools and guidance documents for teachers to use in their districts. The partnership also led to an annual WAHPERD hosted student event called Healthy Kids Roundup that empowers middle school students and their teachers to promote health and wellness in their schools.

An Interdisciplinary Collaboration to Reduce Weight Stigma Among Exercise Professionals

Weight stigma is the negative social judgment of people based on their weight. Despite the negative consequences of weight stigma, its prevalence is well-documented including within the physical activity (PA) landscape. Research shows that a wide range of PA-related professionals hold negative attitudes toward fat people, including physical education teachers, kinesiology students, and fitness trainers. This article describes a collaboration across disciplines and fields to develop a weight stigma reduction intervention for exercise professionals. Weight Inclusive Thinking for Fitness Spaces (WIT FITS) is a two-hour, self-paced, interactive online course grounded in the Health at Every Size® paradigm and research-informed strategies for improving exercise professionals’ attitudes toward fatness and fostering weight inclusivity in fitness settings. WIT FITS was the result of a three-year interdisciplinary collaboration with scholars from pedagogy, public health, sport and exercise psychology, and nutrition. Community partners involved in the development, implementation, and evaluation of WIT FITS included body liberation activists, web and instructional designers, and campus recreation leaders.

Physical Education Teacher Training within Juvenile Detention Centers

In today’s rapidly evolving educational environment, there is a pressing need to train teachers to respond to the increasingly diverse needs of students. Although physical education teacher education (PETE) programs across the country offer a wide variety of early field experiences for students, very few provide opportunities to work with currently incarcerated youths. One such partnership exists at Northern Illinois University (NIU), with a collaboration between the PETE program, the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice, and Project FLEX. Project FLEX is a physical activity and life skills program for incarcerated youths, one of the only current programs in the United States. The program’s primary aims are to incorporate life skill content into sport programming that fosters the transfer of these skills outside of programming and to engage youth in activities that increased physical activity levels while encouraging improvements to their sedentary lifestyle. The purpose of this article is to highlight the partnership between Project FLEX, the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice, and the PETE program at NIU, discuss the partnership’s impact on those involved, and share some potential future directions of the partnership. Further explanation of the interplay between the PETE program, the student’s roles and responsibilities within Project FLEX, and how such early field experiences are currently situated within the PETE program will be discussed.

Leadership, Collaboration and Mobilization on Mission: Lessons Learned Across the Feature

The purpose of this six-article JOPERD Feature has been to provide a series of exemplary, cross-sector partnerships and collaborations designed to address a known issue and challenge within physical education. There is much to take away from these case studies and readers are encouraged to reflect on how the case narratives relate to and inform their own scholarship and practice. As a way to frame these recommendations, this feature conclusion applies the idea of collective action formations in discussing the Feature articles.



What Can We Do to Increase Student Engagement in Physical Education?

A prominent issue in the gym is the lack of student engagement. Although the engagement issue may look differently at the elementary, middle, and high school level, essentially, it is the same issue regardless of grade level. To engage students at all levels, physical educators need to be mindful of their characteristics and capabilities and be thoughtful of our pedagogy for desired student learning outcomes.


Developmentally Appropriate Physical Activities in the Classroom to Support Student Wellbeing and Learning

Physical activity programs during the school day prevent students from being sedentary. One of the environments where students spend the most time during the school day is the classroom. The purpose of this article is to provide suggestions for how students can participate in physical activity during the school day in the classroom environment.


Thomas H. Sawyer and Tonya L. Sawyer

This case shows how important it is for all coaches, especially head coaches, to know and understand the rules of their sport. Not just the playing rules, but also administrative rules, which include rules on recruiting. Failure to follow the rules and procedures led the defendants in this case to be liable for negligent supervision.


United We Learn: Seven Strategies for Fostering an Inclusive and Engaging Synchronous Online Teaching Environment

Since online learning may be the best option for some programs or institutions, college instructors should have the competence and confidence to offer relevant learning experiences for their students in online learning environments. This article provides physical education teacher education (PETE) faculty with effective strategies for fostering an inclusive and engaging synchronous online learning environment for college students using a range of technology tools.


Teaching Health Behaviors that Correlate with Centenarian Longevity and Quality of Life

Data show that centenarian populations mostly consume a whole-food, plant-based diet, live an active lifestyle, and avoid toxins. Many Americans, however, do the opposite and succumb to numerous health-related diseases at a much earlier age. The lesson presented in this article was designed to help the health educator to use this data in their quest to improve the health of their students and increase the odds of them having a high-quality life.


Recklessness or Simple Negligence

A girls’ field hockey team coach instructed players to warm up in an area adjacent to the school’s turf field, where the boys’ soccer team was practicing. Plaintiff Morgan Dennehy, a member of the field hockey team, was struck at the base of her skull by an errant soccer ball. The plaintiff filed this suit against the coach, the school and others due to the defendants’ alleged failure to supervise and prevent potential and foreseeable dangerous conditions.