published Friday, September 16th, 2011

PE4LIFE looks at Bradley County schools’ fitness program

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    Sixth-grade boys at Ocoee Middle School take up the challenge of the climbing wall in one of the school's two gymnasiums Thursday. Girls were exercising in the other gym. The Kansas City based PE4LIFE visited several Bradley County schools on Thursday. Three schools, including Ocoee Middle, are part of the national PE4LIFE program.
    Photo by Randall Higgins.
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CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Representatives of a national organization that focuses on fitness, nutrition and a healthy life visited several Bradley County schools Thursday.

The Kansas City, Mo.-based PE4LIFE already is a partner with Bradley County Schools. The visit, however, may strengthen those ties.

“We promote quality physical education and activity within the schools,” said PE4LIFE’s Teresa Dilley. “We are looking for schools to be role models for other schools.

“We don’t have a model site for observation in this area,” she said. “We try to match up schools interested in learning and attending a PE4LIFE workshop with schools that are most like them.”

She said the organization is looking at the quality of programming and how it’s implemented, not just in the physical education classroom but schoolwide and districtwide.

“So while equipment is important, it is really more about how you are teaching your classes, what your students are learning and how that is being spread through the whole school culture,” Dilley said. “It’s less sports-model focused and more about fitness and health.”

PE4LIFE officials likely will make their decision on whether Bradley can be a model site in a couple of weeks.

Andrea Lockerby of Bradley County Schools said the program is professional development for physical education teachers.

“Today it wasn’t just necessarily touring the gyms. We went into the classrooms. We saw physical activity being incorporated into multiplication, spelling, vocabulary,” Lockerby said.

Bradley County partners with PE4LIFE with support from United Way, the Bradley Memorial Endowment Fund and the Bradley/Cleveland Public Education Foundation.

“We were able to get some seed money to start this,” Lockerby said. “Again a lot of it is professional development. It’s a philosophy change and that takes time. But we are seeing a big culture shift toward a more fitness-based model, because most of our adults stay active or physically fit doing fitness activities versus a sport.”

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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