Training the trainers

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Dallas County schools gets large P.E. grant

By Alan Riquelmy / Selma Times – Journal

Some Selma City School system teachers spent Presidents’ Day at Knox Elementary School practicing new exercises.

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The teachers were learning about teaching physical education and the grant allowing their training to take place.

Harry Wayne Parrish, a facilitator of the Carol White Physical Education Grant, explained Monday morning that &uot;train the trainer&uot; would be the project’s approach.

That means each teacher present on Monday would take part in training other teachers about the exercises.

Parrish said that the purpose of the grant was to help implement physical education in the school systems.

He added that Alabama has cut physical education teachers in sixteen elementary schools in Selma and Dallas County.

The grant, applied for by the YMCA, Selma and Dallas County will buy equipment and help teachers train and coordinate physical education activities.

Around $350,000 has been allocated for the grant over a one-year period.

The first activity the teachers will implement is the president’s physical fitness test. The test includes exercises like curl-ups, pull-ups and an endurance run/walk.

Parrish said that the test is a method to determine where kids stand physically. Teachers start administering the test today.

Joe Peterson Jr., principal of Knox Elementary School, said that Knox was one of three pilot schools for the program. Byrd and Payne Elementary were the other two.

The president’s test was the big push to make sure all children were physically fit, Peterson said, and a way of overcoming obesity problems.

Arabella Sheehan, a Byrd Elementary kindergarten teacher, agreed.

Sheehan said the grant project was important because she wanted children to be physically fit and know what a proper diet should entail.

Parrish said Alabama ranked number one nationally in frequency of diabetes and number seven in obesity. Two ways to help with diabetes, he added, were diet and physical exercise.

Allyson Dansby, program director with the YMCA, said her role would be to travel to the schools and assist teachers with physical education, deliver equipment and help with tests.

Dansby said the grant was needed because children have had no physical activity since physical education teachers were removed.

She added that the grant project will give children 30 minutes a day to exercise.

The grant was applied for in the spring of last year and the YMCA found out it was awarded to them in October.