Mindy’s Advocacy Column

NOVEMBER 13, 2017 – Now that the conference has come and gone, we are continuing our series on questions for educators for advocacy.  Whether you came to the conference or not, we encourage you to continue to build opportunities for advocacy in your own setting. Check out the following question for extra know how!

And the next question is….

Are you connected with your State and National Organization?

Oregon SHAPE (Society for Health and Physical Education) is your state organization and SHAPE America is the National Organization.  Oregon SHAPE is an affiliate of SHAPE America.  We are working to create dual memberships and increase membership benefits, but we need your help and your ideas!  Joining us helps us build the foundation that allows us to do more for you and your students.  One day we hope to offer things like membership workshops, online content and more.   Want to do more?  Contact us and we have plenty of jobs to share the wealth with.  Interested in joining us for a National SPEAK out day where the states converge in Washington DC to speak with legislators about the importance of health & physical education?  Want to help us build our own Oregon based SPEAK OUT day?  We’d love to have you!

OSHAPE doesn’t work alone either.  Other groups that we work with include ODE, The PEAK Coalition, American Heart Association, SPARK, Fuel Up to Play 60 and many more!  You may have even noticed that they help sponsor our conference.  All of these groups are working to share the importance of health and physical education in schools and we can help you get connected.  We can also help you connect with grants, and groups that want to work with you.

Need the latest and greatest info on current best practices? We are your place to go.  If we don’t have an answer to your question, we can usually find it or know who to talk to.

There are lots of benefits to staying connected to your local and national organizations, plus the more you connect the more voice we all have.  So reach out!  Until next time OSHAPE…we hope to hear from you!

SEPTEMBER 16, 2017 – Hello Oregon Educators! School is absolutely back in session and if you are like all of us here at Oregon SHAPE, super busy! This month we are continuing our question and answer series in order to get you started in advocacy in your own environment, or if you are already an advocate, help you continue on your path of high-quality physical education and health education in Oregon schools. This month we are focusing on the system of schools.

Do I know how my district is organized and works?

Public schools receive funds from two main sources: The State Government and The Federal Government. Occasionally a local tax will also help support the schools as well. The state budget makes up most of the money that schools receive for their budget. In Oregon this occurs on a 2 year cycle. The Governor proposes a budget and our legislative body makes the final decisions. In Oregon all taxes are put into the general fund and then the legislative body decides who gets those funds and how much based on its priorities. The Federal Government supplies funds to the states based on the level of need based students are in each state (Title Funds). The Oregon Department of Education also helps the state prioritize the various components of education, track and hold districts accountable to the laws and provide direction for the flow of money as well as overall practices. In Oregon TSPC is a state funded organization that ensures that teachers have the proper credentials to teach in Oregon.

Once the money goes to the districts, the school board and Superintendent and other administrators allocate those funds based on the laws instituted by the state and federal governments.

Generally, principles in schools must construct a budget for their school as well as apply for title funds based on the needs and priorities of their individual schools. FTE is allocated based on student numbers, needs, and the budget available to the school and the district. Often, things such as professional development are decided by the Principal, District Priorities and a school leadership team.

Do you know who is on the leadership team in your school? Do you have a working relationship with your Administrator where you regularly supply them with info about current best practices in PE? Do you serve on a team in your school? Do you know who is in charge of your grade level content for the district? Does your district have a TOSA or centralized person that works with the upper level administrators with regard to your content area? Do you know who serves on the title team in your school?

These questions go back to our initial question of are you an island? Understanding how your district is structured and who makes the big decisions can help you structure your message and share information with the right people. The best info is info shared with the right people, in the right language at the right time. There is still a lot of MISINFORMATION about basic physical education and health practices out there, and the more you share the more it helps Oregon students!

If you don’t serve on a team in your school, please consider researching them and doing so. Even a small amount of voice and sharing your content and passion can begin that ripple that turns into a storm of support.

Possible teams in each school…

  • PBIS- Behavior support teams
  • Leadership
  • Family Involvement
  • Sunshine (Staff Support)
  • Health
  • ELL

And lots, lots more!

Remember: An island can be a great thing, but we also need to share our skills, talents and voices to help the message being shared with others to remain well-rounded and healthy. Because that is what we do!

AUGUST 16, 2017 – As summer reaches its peak and begins to wind down it is again time to start thinking about the new school year and how our practices as teachers help us advocate for physical education. This month, OSHAPE is starting a list of questions and ideas to get started on advocacy in your own environment or to continue to work towards the goal of keeping quality physical education and health education in Oregon Schools. This will be a series of questions and ideas that we will build on each month.

Questions #1 – Am I an island?

Many physical and health educators are very busy people. Increasing class sizes and packed schedules make it difficult to reach out and connect with our fellow staff and administrators. We often stay in the comfort of our gyms and classrooms to get work done. However, that doesn’t let the folks around us know all the great things we do! A really good program includes reaching out to those around us. Here are some tips that can either get you started or keep you going.

Does your school have a newsletter? Do you participate in it? Throwing in articles about food choices, smoothie recipes, tips for exercises or the stretch of the month can be one way to keep your content in mind.

Do you have lunch with staff at least once a week? Social capital goes a long way, reach out and touch base!

Do you give movement tips, health tips, brain energizers or ways to include movement in the day at staff meetings?

Are you using the best possible practices in your classroom? Do you need an update?

Professional development with your peers can be energizing and remind you why you do what you do. OSHAPE has an upcoming conference, come join us!

Do you participate in the openings of the school year like open houses?

Have you ever done a staff wellness challenge or better yet organized one?

Small things add up and connecting in ways that work for us within our buildings not only builds social capital to fall back on but also makes us more connected.

Question #2 – What is my communication style?

Do you prefer email? Twitter? Face to face chats? Maybe you are super techy and love to communicate in lots of ways. Maybe you prefer to keep it simple. Our communication style plays a big role in how we communicate and share our programs with others. Understanding your own style can help you find an advocacy path that works for you.

Sometimes we just want others to notice that we do a great job, and singing our own praises can feel inauthentic. Ways around that sentiment include inviting others to join your classroom. That way they can see all your awesome work and you don’t have to say a word! It can also be simple things like chatting about something new you are trying and are excited about, or putting up a few posters in a prominent place. The idea is to share what you are doing and find a way to connect over it, in a way that works for you. By that same token, don’t be afraid to push your own comfort zone a bit. You might be surprised by the outcome!

This month we have given you a couple of questions to start your year with, check out next month for more questions and ideas about getting started with advocacy.

JULY 28th, 2017 – The big question in mind at this time of year, is what will Health & Physical Education look like in the Autumn given the budget shortfalls of so many districts in the state. Some districts have chosen to preserve the health and physical education that they currently have, while others have cut it drastically. As the new school year approaches regular advocacy will become more important than ever, and Oregon SHAPE is here to help. We have a variety of resources that we can send or help you find, so if ever in need please contact us. At the bottom of this article, we will include a few quick links for you to check out and share with your administrators and staff, and don’t forget to reach out!

Where do we sit on HB 3141 or SB 4 as it is now called?

For those who remember, in 2007 HB 3141 was passed in the state of Oregon requiring daily physical education for K-8 students and was set to go into action this school year. Districts have had 10 years to work towards this requirement. Yet, many districts have not only not met the requirement, they’ve moved farther away from it. The big question has become, will the law just go away? The simple answer is no, it is not going away. In fact, the Oregon Department of Education, Oregon SHAPE, and the PEAK (Physical Education for All Kids) coalition are all working together to try and give districts a way to ease into the law over the next two years and to build a toolkit that helps the state physical educators come together over the law. This information is being built right now, and it is hoped to be released to the state in the early Fall.

Is this going to be easy? No, it’s not, but districts like Beaverton are working hard with their administrators to find workable solutions that focus on physical education content, high-quality resources and tips and techniques for working within the individual structures of each school.

We will be issuing press releases as soon as we have info, as well as asking you our members to advocate in your own buildings.

Check out some of the following quick links on advocacy:

%d bloggers like this: