PE, PA, CSPAP, & PAL:  Alphabet Soup to Keep Kids Moving


PE, PA, CSPAP, & PAL: Alphabet Soup to Keep Kids Moving

It’s all a bunch of alphabet soup in the world of education, and physical education is no exception! As physical educators, we are used to explaining the difference between PE and PA. Both are important, and both support the other. It is in PE where students learn how to move efficiently and effectively, how their bodies respond to training, how to perform a variety of games and activities, and how to treat others as they play cooperatively and competitively. However, with PE classes being reduced in time and frequency due to funding and scheduling issues, kids need additional time to practice the skills they are learning in PE and to pursue those activities they come to love. Whether it is during recess, with a school or community team, or after school with friends and families, it is this additional activity time that generalizes a student’s learning from school to lifelong recreational pursuits.

Physical activity has been getting a lot of attention lately, with legislation designed to encourage schools to provide nearly an hour of activity a day for students, and Alaska’s Healthy Futures program rewarding kids for tracking their daily activities, and more and more research demonstrating the connection between active bodies and brain development. I applaud these efforts, and we all need to be active participants to encourage more awareness of the importance of activity, exercise, and play for a healthy, active life.

It is with this in mind that SHAPE Alaska is excited to announce a special summer event!

Right before the school year kicks back in, on August 8th, SHAPE Alaska is proud to present a full day of professional development with some amazing guests! The morning’s session will be all about CSPAP - developing a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program - for your school community. Participants in this PAL (Physical Activity Leadership) Training will give you the skills to help your students and staff create a dynamic environment, with a ton of movement opportunities throughout the day. In addition, this half-day session will also provide you with a network of resources to bring back to your school. This training would be great for anyone - PE teacher, school nurse, recess monitors, classroom teacher - literally anyone who wants to be a champion for increased movement in your school community! So, if you know of someone who might be interested, spread the word!

The second half of the training will be focused on quality physical education instruction. Jessica Shawley is the 2012 National Middle School PE Teacher of the Year, and a National Board Certified Teacher. She’s coming up to Alaska to share her innovative teaching techniques, and to inspire you for the new school year ahead! She is dynamic and creative, and her ideas can be used at all levels - elementary through high school!

This training is free for SHAPE Alaska members, and only $25 for non-members. In addition, those of you who live further than 50 miles outside of Anchorage can apply for a travel scholarship to help off-set costs of travel and lodging. (The deadline to apply for the scholarship is June 15, so you’ll need to apply ASAP to get one!)

Be sure to take advantage of this incredible opportunity! We are also planning to offer a one-credit option through UAA for those who might be interested. More information for that will be available closer to the training day. However, don’t wait to register and apply for the travel scholarship! Mark your calendar, and go to this link for additional information and to register!


SHAPE Up 4 Break-Up  -- A First for Alaska!


SHAPE Up 4 Break-Up -- A First for Alaska!

Last March, physical educators all around Alaska organized fun, active events for their students and their school communities to celebrate health and physical education, while raising money for SHAPE Alaska!

Kids were on their roller skates from Juneau to Fairbanks! In Anchorage, students were taking advantage of the last of the snow to ski, snowshoe & build forts, while a hockey tournament was happening in a different part of town! In the Mat-Su Valley, kids were challenging their families to use the latest technology of pedometers and heart rate monitors as they worked-out to Tabata and DrumFit routines! On base at JBER, kids were racing alongside their parents on a beautiful, springtime 5K course.

SHAPE Up 4 Break-Up (SU4BU) is SHAPE Alaska’s new annual fundraiser. At last year’s conference, members stated that they wanted MORE from their state’s only health & PE association. They want the opportunity to apply for mini-grants that can help them afford to implement new programs for their students. They want scholarship funds that can assist members living far from major population centers to access professional development opportunities. They want to see the only state health & PE conference to continue to provide powerful presentations each autumn.

And we can’t do that without YOU!

We are so proud of our members that stepped-up and took part in this, the very first SU4BU celebration! Thank YOU for volunteering YOUR time and talents to hold an event for YOUR community!

Congratulations to the lucky winners of the $250 gift certificates from sponsors US Games and Palos Sports: Kayla Clark (Woodriver Elementary in Fairbanks) and Kim Resheske (Bayshore Elementary in Anchorage). We hope that these certificates enable you to purchase equipment that will further inspire and engage your students in their learning!



Act NOW!!

Healthy Schools Online Physical Education Learning Pilot Registration is open to alaska PE teachers!

Alaska is one of the 17 states to receive the CDC's Healthy Schools grant, which means we - and therefore, you! - qualify for this great opportunity offered by SHAPE America.  Registration is limited and closes early in February, so don't wait to take advantage of this limited opportunity. If you sign up before February 8th, you get a free membership to SHAPE America and access to a suite of webinars that provide practical strategies around the essential components of physical education. 

The purpose of this pilot is to provide physical educators with tools and strategies to help create an environment that that ensures students receive effective physical education. Physical education provides students with a planned, sequential, K-12 standards-based program of curricula and instruction designed to develop motor skills, knowledge and behaviors for active living, physical fitness, sportsmanship, self-efficacy and emotional intelligence. SHAPE America has defined this through the Essential Components of Physical Education, which includes policy and environment, curriculum, appropriate instruction, and student assessment. The webinar series available as part of the pilot will focus primarily on appropriate instruction and student assessment strategies from peers in the field and include topics such as Stop Waivers from Redefining Physical Education, Technology in Action, Standards-based Grading in Physical Education, Grading Students with Disabilities in Physical Education, and more!

You can sign up for the pilot here by either using your existing SHAPE America log-in or by creating a new, free account. 

GET THE WORD OUT!! Please share this info with your Alaskan health & PE colleagues! Registration closes on February 8th, 2019 and there are limited spots available! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact

The partnership of SHAPE Alaska and SHAPE America is ready to support you in your work to provide effective, equitable physical education programs to students across the nation!



Shaking Things Up

When you are a change-agent, looking for new ways to solve old problems, you are sometimes described as “shaking things up.” For many of us, our goal is to “shake up” the system and develop novel approaches to reach our students! Well, in light of recent events in Southcentral Alaska, there is a whole lotta shakin’ going on! As an elementary PE teacher, I was grateful that our students were not yet at school when Friday morning’s destructive earthquake began to take its toll. However, many of my middle and high school colleagues were in active classrooms, and immediately sprang into action to protect students as their gyms and classrooms shook violently. It is in these moments of crisis when we discover who we are, how well we’ve prepared, and of what we are capable. I am so proud of these amazing educators, taking swift and selfless action to ensure the safe return of every one of their students.

We hope that you returned to a safe and stable home, and that life is slowly regaining a sense of normalcy, in spite of the unrelenting, unsettling aftershocks. Please know that we at SHAPE Alaska seek to support our community of health & physical educators as we return to school in the coming days and weeks. Many of us have not yet been able to return to our classrooms and gyms to assess the damage. Some of us may face a new reality, with a loss of equipment or a relocation from our teaching spaces. SHAPE Alaska aims to facilitate communication within our community of educators in an effort to offer assistance, suggestions, and support as we get back to the work of teaching young learners to be healthy, active participants in life.

If you are a Facebook user, be sure to “like” the SHAPE Alaska page, where you can take part in discussions with colleagues about all aspects of health and physical education. The SHAPE Alaska website will offer strategies and best practices via our Tips and Tales section, as well as keeping you updated via this blog space.

As you head back to your classrooms, gymnasiums, and coaching spaces, know that you are making a difference! Our students need us. They are counting on us even more right now to provide consistency, maintain a safe space for learning and play, and offer patience and understanding during this shaky moment in time. Let’s get back to it, and let’s support each other along the journey!