Sheboygan Area School District (SASD) physical education teacher Mr. Kevin Herber recently traveled to Washington D.C. as an American Heart Association Advocate promoting the importance of physical education and the FIT Kids Act.
During his visit, Mr. Herber was able to meet with Sen. Ron Johnson, Rep. Ron Kind, Rep. Tom Petri and a staff member of Sen. Baldwin to discuss the importance of physical activity for students, the value of the FIT Kids Act and the continued need for the Physical Education Program (PEP) Grant. As a physical education teacher at Jackson and Cooper Elementary Schools, Mr. Herber shared his first-hand experiences about the issues he sees in elementary physical education classes relating to obesity, self-esteem, motivation and body image.
The Fitness Integrated with Teaching Act (FIT Kids) is a physical education bill to combat childhood obesity and improve the well-being of all students by supporting improved measurement of physical activity and physical education at the state, local, and school level and by strengthening physical education programs in schools throughout the country. The bill authorizes grants to states to develop comprehensive, data driven, and evidenced-based programs that address student physical health and well-being, fitness, and nutrition. The grants allow schools to implement, improve, adopt, or adapt programs and monitor school-level conditions in order to promote physical activity, education, fitness, and nutrition for their students.
The FIT Kids Act was integrated into the Senate Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) bill, but the House-passed bill, known as the Student Success Act, does not include any funding for physical education and PEP grants are completely eliminated. These two bills will be debated this year and it is the hope of the SASD that the final ESEA bill will include the FIT Kids funding.
“It was an honor to speak out about an issue that I'm very passionate about. It was a great learning experience and I hope to get the chance to do it again,” said Mr. Kevin Herber after returning from his trip.
In 2004, the Sheboygan Area School District received a Physical Education Program (PEP) grant and the SASD Physical Education staff has been working on another PEP grant proposal. The last PEP grant funded the installation of fitness centers in the middle schools as well as fitness equipment at both North and South High School fitness centers. In addition, the district was able to purchase inline skates, snowshoes, bikes, rock walls, heart rate monitors as well as other fitness equipment and monitors. After 10 years, the technology is dated and much of the equipment is in need of repair. Applying for another PEP grant will provide the funding to purchase the needed equipment as well as assist the SASD Physical Education staff in staying current and offering students the best opportunities to develop the skills necessary to live a healthy, active lifestyle.
Kevin Herber shared that after speaking with advocates from other states, he had even more appreciation for the SASD and community support received during the original PEP grant. “We are fortunate to live in a community that values physical education and to have a staff that is willing to tackle a complete change in curriculum that the PEP Grant offered to give our students the best education possible,” Herber said.
Mr. Kevin Herber pictured with Senator Ron Johnson
Mr. Herber meeting with Congressman Ron Kind
Mr. Herber meeting with Congressman Tom Petri