Jackie Malaska
Executive Director NJAHPERD

CAN YOU MAKE EVERY CHILD STRONGER?
As you may have heard, EVERY CHILD STRONGER, EVERY LIFE LONGER (we sometimes call it "ECSELL" for short), is a collaborative partnership recently launched by NJAHPERD, in conjunction with the New Jersey Department of Education, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services and the New Jersey Governor’s Council of Physical Fitness and Sports.  Our ambitious mission: Every New Jersey student stronger and healthier, so that every adult life may be healthier and longer. What better place to learn the concepts, skills and attitudes for an active lifestyle than in health and physical education class?

It is a huge undertaking, and no individual educator, single organization or governmental agency can achieve it alone. Collaboration, on a broad and perhaps unprecedented scale, is the only possible answer.

Your NJAHPERD membership speaks clearly of your commitment to the young people of New Jersey. We ask only that you stay tuned to our emailed updates, keep an eye on the website, www.everychildstronger.org, and start spreading the word of the great things to come. As an educator you are positioned to be a major change agent. We hope you will take the time to share your perspectives, opinions and knowledge. And when a particular topic fits your particular concerns and expertise starts to take shape as a possible initiative, we trust that you will let us know that you are ready to share.

Just as great mountains are scaled one foothold at a time, we brainstormed and debated our way to some clear, short term objectives. The three initiatives detailed below seemed to us to have the potential for immediate and lasting impact.


THE EVERY CHILD STRONGER, EVERY LIFE LONGER INITIATIVES


1. THE FITNESS EDUCATION & ASSESSMENT INITIATIVE


A Investigate and plan the implementation of a standardized fitness assessment program. Great benefit could come from providing teachers an easily managed goal-setting system for their students, one that regularly exposes students to the sense of accomplishment gained from measurable fitness achievement. A program you may already be familiar with, Fitnessgram, is now being used at some level in approximately 21% schools throughout New Jersey. It shows great promise as a major innovation in physical education instruction.

B Statewide Data Collection. This dovetails with the above standardized fitness assessment method. Bear in mind that an essential part of our larger mission-- healthier kids who will become healthier adultsis measurement of progress. Month to month and year to year, are our students getting stronger?
NOTE: In conjunction with the Department of Education we are presently doing the final tabulations on the first-ever comprehensive statewide survey.


2. THE ADMINISTRATIVE PARTNERSHIP INITIATIVE

Many of our hardworking principals and supervisors have had minimal or no professional training in physical and health education. Over the years some have even reached out to NJAHPERD for assistance in program evaluations. What assessment criteria reveal excellence or deficiency in our content area? This initiative will provide supervisors and principals clear concise guidelines for assessment of health and physical education programs. Newly appointed administrators will not have to "reinvent the wheel." Year to year consistency of curriculum would be of great benefit to students.

3. THE ELEMENTARY HEALTH EDUCATION SUPPORT INITIATIVE

Presently there are many elementary classroom teachers who have little or no background in health education as a content
area, yet are expected to fulfill the requirements of New Jersey’s Comprehensive Health Core Curriculum Content Standards. The variety of possible teaching materials is wide and so their selection, as well as curriculum development, can be a daunting task. This initiative aims to provide elementary school teachers a list of superior resources and other support to save them time and maximize the quality of instruction and information offered the classroom.  NJAHPERD will be relentless in advocating for quality Health and Physical Education programs in our schools. These initiatives lay the groundwork for our focus.  We look forward to the challenges ahead and as always, we count on our membership to take an active role. Visit the ECSELL website often and communicate with us. You are NJAHPERD!