Radford University welcomes physical education professionals and students for annual VAHPERD workshop
Each year, Radford University’s Department of Health and Human Performance (HHP) hosts a regional workshop designed to offer professional development to physical education and health educators from around Virginia and provide undergraduate students an opportunity to learn from veteran teachers.
More than 150 health and physical education professionals from regional K-12 schools and a group of RU physical and health education teaching majors participated in the Sept. 23 regional Virginia Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (VAHPERD) workshop in the Peters Hall gymnasium.
VAHPERD is the professional organization for health, physical education, recreation, dance and sport educators. Radford University has hosted the workshop since 2007, and Radford students are able to join VAHPERD for $15. Membership provides such benefits as the ability to attend the state VAHPERD convention in Richmond.
“The workshop is very important to teachers and students who attend because they gain access to nationally-known presenters each fall who can share new lesson ideas and enthusiasm for the profession,” said Health and Human Performance Instructor Steve Shelton, who organizes the event. “For many of the teachers who attend, this may be their only professional development opportunity during the entire school year that is directly related to the content area they teach, so we want to make the presentations as relevant and useful as possible.”
This year, Dr. Bob Pangrazi, professor emeritus at Arizona State University, served as the guest speaker. Pangrazi began his career as a fifth grade teacher and was an Arizona State professor for 32 years. His physical education textbooks have sold more than 750,000 copies.
“Bob Pangrazi is a leading expert on the promotion of physically active lifestyles for children and a legend in our field,” said Radford University Health and Human Performance Professor Jon Poole. “The fact that Steve was able to coordinate this workshop and bring a speaker of such notoriety to our university is truly phenomenal.”
Brenda Byrd said she studied Pangrazi’s textbooks when she was in college and was excited to learn from the professor at the workshop. She attends the VAHPERD workshop every year because “it gives me new ideas,” the Yuma Elementary School teacher said.
“One important thing I’ve learned is you have to keep learning. I’m a lifetime learner and I have to continue to remind myself how important this profession is,” Byrd said. “It’s good to see people, too, and to get new energy.”
Among the 150 teaching professionals who attended VAHPERD were 57 Radford University HHP alumni.
Jamie Wright, a 2006 graduate, attends the VAHPERD workshop every year. “This is an amazing experience and every year it’s a different opportunity to learn something new, and I would suggest to anybody who is a health and physical education teacher to come here and learn and indulge and engage and get as much information as possible,” said Wright, who teaches at Franklyn County High School. “Every year, I learn new games, get new ideas and innovative strategies to take back and share with my colleagues at the school.”
About 50 undergraduate students participated in the workshop. Most were from Radford while others came from Emory & Henry College, Ferrum College and Roanoke College.
“Our undergraduate students not only get new ideas for teaching but also a chance to be around veteran teachers who actively participate in the workshop because they are always trying to improve their own physical education programs,” Shelton said. “I believe the interest level and excitement coming from the professionals can really make a positive impression on our students.”
This was the third consecutive year that Radford senior Jenna Welch had attended the workshop. She said it’s always beneficial to meet and learn from working professionals in the health and physical education field.
“Our professors always talk so highly about the professionals who come here,” said Welch of Centerville. “So, it’s a great opportunity to meet them and learn from them.”