If you’re curious about the why and the how of Fitnessgram, or you’re already a seasoned physical education advocate who could use a shot of motivation, this interview with Dr. Kenneth Cooper is a great resource. The man who helped to engineer a fitness revolution with his book AEROBICS, shares his tough, clear-eyed views in 2007, just as his home state of Texas had begun to institute the use of Fitnessgram in its schools.

Note #1: There’s an article on the exciting results of the Texas initiative below — scroll down.

Note #2: The first 15 minutes of  television program featured above focuses on the very inspiring and dynamic Dr. Kenneth Cooper. The second 15 minutes of the show focuses on the antiquities curator of a Dallas museum. Do NOT attempt to view the second segment while operating heavy machinery.

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Two years later Dr. Cooper presents the results of the first stage Fitnessgram initiative.

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First-Ever Statewide Survey Highlights NJ’s Strengths and Weaknesses of Health and Physical Education Programs

When NJAHPERD and the New Jersey Department of Education first began talking about the need for a comprehensive survey of health and physical education across the state, they may not have known just how immediately important data collection would become. Now with budgets being tightened at all levels, decision makers are more dependent upon statistical evaluation than ever.

The first stage of the survey’s release is called the TOP 10 KEY FINDINGS. Learn more about the rest of the survey’s details here.

Interested in seeing the original survey? Download a .pdf of it here.

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Statewide Texas Study Links Physical Fitness To Academic Achievement

“This data confirms what we have always thought to be true — that there is a strong correlation between a student’s fitness and their scholastic success. These results provide yet another incentive to reverse the health trends we are seeing among our youth. We need to move forward on this issue as if lives depend on it — because they do!” said Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, chairman of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee and author of the law establishing the assessments.

The details of this Cooper Institute report should be of great interest to all physical educators. As school budgets tighten, those with an interest in making sure that the “healthy body” part of “a healthy mind in a healthy body” doesn’t get lost the crunch, owe it to themselves to familiarize themselves with the Texas study.

EVERY CHILD STRONGER, EVERY LIFE LONGER intends to do our part by building a resource area this website that will help advocates stay abreast of past and future research. If you know of research/ links that belong that collection, please send us your suggestions here.

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From the September NJEA REVIEW



“‘Every Child Stronger, Every Life Longer’ isn’t only the name of our program. It’s our mission and our mantra,” explains Jackie Malaska, Executive Director of the New Jersey Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (NJAHPERD).“Given the complexity of the educational system, we all find ourselves, at times, having to serve more than one master at a time. It’s possible to lose focus.  As a mantra, Every Child Stronger, Every Life Longer reminds us of why we all do what we do, and exactly what’s at stake…”

A .PDF of the complete article is available for download here.

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Steering Committee Chooses First Set of ECSELL Initiatives

It’s ambitious objective. We’ll be the first to admit it. But if you’re setting out to, as our mission statement declares, ensure that every single child in our school system has access to the knowledge, skill and equipment that will best contribute to the longest, healthiest, happiest life possible, then you have to start somewhere.

Read about them here and lend your constructive input to the process...

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EVERY CHILD STRONGER Greeted With Enthusiasm At NJAHPERD Convention

On the opening day of New Jersey AHPERD’s convention Dr. Theresa P. Cone unveiled EVERY CHILD STRONGER, EVERY LIFE LONGER to hundreds of educators who had gathered in Long Branch. Cone, Assistant Professor at Rowan University, and NJAHPERD’s Advocacy and Long-Range Planning Chair, outlined the program as an umbrella for a set of collaborative initiatives designed to build on the past successes of New Jersey’s Health and Physical Educators and further strengthen the state’s position as a Health and Physical Education leader to the benefit of all its students, during their school years and beyond.

A handout covering the key points of her speech is available here.

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OPINION: Assessing “Assessment”

My background is in communications rather than education. And since I’ve been spending time with educators as of late, I occasionally have to stop the conversation and ask for definitions. The word or phrase in question is usually part of that strange dialect known as Edu-speak.

That’s understandable. Shorthand and professional nomenclature are a normal development in any area of specialty. It is common for specialists in a field to splinter words and phrases into new subsets of related words and phrases to reflect nuances and subtleties that focused collaborative intellectual activity requires.

But occasionally the opposite occurs. Words that should splinter don’t.  These words, in time, can gather a wider and wider set of meanings.

So I suggest to you educators out there that one of those words that ought to have splintered and has not, is the word “assessment.”

I ran this notion by Jim McCall, known officially as Dr. James McCall, Coordinator of Health and Physical Education at the New Jersey Department of Education.  He schooled me on some formal theory around the subject: For instance the distinctions of formative assessment verses summative assessment, as well as some of the challenges that physical education teachers face in particular, in applying some of these theoretical concepts while simultaneously keeping a several dozen young bodies moving and grooving.

But he did agree with my general observation: that a considerable amount — maybe too much — wiggle room had developed around the word “assessment.”

I don’t want to turn this into a book proposal or anything but  speaking to the educators out there: this is one outsider who has been listening closely to you folks and pressing some of you for an exact definitions. And what you mean when you say the word “assessment” is often somewhat different from what the next educator means when he or she uses that word.

Given the crucial role that the word “assessment”  (and the set of concepts around it) plays in the today’s educational system I humbly suggest that you all consider it a topic worthy of further discussion.

- Ken Youmans

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