I took part in Physical Activity Leader (PAL) training this week in Richmond, KY. The training is offered in conjunction with the Let’s Move Active Schools (LMAS) program, which encourages schools to offer physical activity before, during and after school to help today’s students live healthier lifestyles. The PAL mantra is “60 a Day” – striving for for 60 minutes of physical activity per day. The training was offered by Jamie Sparks @jamiesparksCSH, Coordinated School Health (CSH) Director at the KDE, and Jessica Lawrence @cairnguidance, nationally recognized health curriculum specialist and owner of Cairn Guidance, who last year biked across the country to raise money for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation organization. 57 teachers from across the state came together at the Kentucky Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance summer workshop for the one day training.
The purpose of the PAL training is to help PAL’s to implement the Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP), advocate for their programs, increase the amount of physical activity time offered at their schools, get their staffs more involved and actively engage their families and communities. Attendees are given an overview of the PAL system and are taken step by step through the implementation process. The “Next Steps” feature guide the PAL through the next 12 months in their journey.
In 2012, I went through the Director of Physical Activity (DPA) training with Dr. Aaron Beighle from UK, and was discouraged when I learned that so quickly another program was being created to replace it, but after attending the PAL training, I can see that it is a natural progression of the DPA. I encourage everyone who went through the DPA process to also get their PAL certification.
One of the things that I left the PAL training with was the need to actively advocate for my student’s physical activity. It’s easy to sit back and feel that you have a successful program. Every school in my district signed up for the LMAS program, but many haven’t taken advantage of the myriad of tools that it offers. The goal is to assess the school, set up an action plan, implement the plan and celebrate successes. Many schools haven’t even started the process. I really feel that through this training (and the training June 20th in Louisville for JCPS teachers), changes will take place to help create truly active schools.
I can’t wait to take my program at Greenwood Elementary to the next level! I have identified my immediate goals and am already creating methods to help me achieve them. With the support of the national PAL Community, I’m sure that all of the #KYPAL trainers will create schools that are examples for those that surround them and truly impact the health of their students, staff and communities.
If you are looking for me, find the cute bald guy laying in the front row and look just to his right. I’m in the grey shirt above the purple Under Armor shirt:).