The Algoma District School Board makes a move to support Physical Activity for all.

ADSB lives by its mission to promote Well Being as a key strategic priority and it starts with Director of Education Lucia Reece and her Administrative Leadership team. The team hosted a Well Being Retreat for all Principals and Vice Principals across the Northern Ontario district in 2014. The two-day retreat emphasized the need for physical activity, social connections and mental health support. Community partners showcased a series of interactive stations that embraced the theme of Well Being. In addition, the Board established a Well Being Team and invested in a Special Assignment Teacher to promote this key priority from JK – 12. Davey Taylor, an intermediate teacher with a strong background in Kinesiology and Community Wellness took on the challenge.

The Catalyst

Davey connected with Ted Temertzoglou, (Thompson Educational Publishing’s VP of Teacher and Student Success) at the annual OPHEA conference. They shared ideas about physical literacy and physical activity and Davey was highly inspired by Ted’s presentation of TEP's Functional Fitness Charts. He specifically liked that the emphasis for building the student skills wasn’t on sports and athleticism, but on movement patterns that are essential for healthy living.

Davey presented the concept of the Functional Fitness Charts to the entire ADSB team, including Director Reece, Trustees, Superintendents, and Principals. Everyone was more than responsive and they wanted a test run to ensure the initiative would meet its fullest potential.

"We want kids to adopt a healthy, active lifestyle, both inside and outside of school. This is because children who have a more positive sense of well-being are more resilient and more successful as learners."

- Ontario's Well Being Strategy for Education, 2016

Eight schools were selected for a pilot project and set up with professional development days for the teachers. Says Davey, “We’ve seen the research out there, and we know that if we want student engagement and student achievement, we need to have them [feeling] well and [feeling] well means they have to be physically active throughout the day, they need to have their energy up, and I think a lot of teachers are looking for new ideas when it comes to Physical Education.”

The charts were introduced, demonstrating their range, capabilities and uses — not just within the realm of physical education, but for numeracy, literacy and overall activity as well. Teachers from all areas actively participated in Teacher Training Sessions and learned how to help their students hit their DPA (daily physical activity).

Teachers loved the training, they felt it was meaningful not just for students but for themselves as well. Following the successful pilots, Ted was a keynote presenter at the annual Principal’s retreat, where he shared his enthusiasm and insight with ADSB leaders from across the district. In the fall of 2015 the ADSB made a commitment to purchase charts for every elementary and secondary school. In February of 2016 Davey began two day Teacher Training Sessions at each school. The overall objective for ADSB is to promote physical activity and student/teacher well-being. They want to ensure that when a person walks into one of their schools they immediately recognize the importance placed on physical activity.

How Schools are Using the Charts

See how a few of the schools in the Algoma District School Board have embraced the Functional Fitness Charts and use them to promote physical activity and physical literacy within not only their schools, but their communities as well.

Echo Bay
Central School

Vice Principal Dominic Lozzo of Echo Bay Central School has fully embraced the Functional Fitness Charts, lining the school's hallways with them to encourage kids to move in-between classes. When he sees a group of students walking the hall, he will stop, point to one and do the exercise with the kids. He says that he can't believe how fun and versatile they are — he likes the fact that they are simple to follow and the kids become instantly energized and happy.

Ben R. McMullin Public School

At Ben R. McMullin in Sault Ste. Marie intermediate students have taken the lead when it comes to hitting the schools DPA. Older students spend their mornings mentoring the younger grades — teaching them how to use the Functional Fitness Charts, getting them moving — it’s a school wide initiative. Says Davey “When younger kids see that the big kids really love to move and really love physical activity it’s this great piece of mentorship, the younger kids want to do the same thing.”

Mountain View Public School

Taking their push for physical activity beyond the classroom Mountain View hosted an active family night, Eat Play Love. Stations were set up around the gym — Healthy Eating, Games, Reading and Functional Fitness Charts — students led their parents around, getting them actively involved. The night ended with a great response from parents and students alike; parents loved being given the time to play and engage with their kids and the students were equally as enthused.

Creating Teacher Champions

Ted returned to ADSB in the spring to train “Teacher Champions” from across the Algoma District in both the elementary and secondary panels. These Champions will take everything they learn from their teacher training sessions back to their schools, introducing the charts and the multiple ways to use them in staff meetings. They will then work with separate teaching divisions to help their colleagues become more comfortable with the new material so that they can then incorporate the charts within their curriculum. The mindset is “Each One, Teach One.” The hope, as seen already in the pilot schools, is that the students will eventually take on the responsibility of teaching and instructing whether it is younger students, friends outside the school board, their families or the larger community as a whole.

The goal is lofty, but it’s one that the ADSB believes in.

“We, the leaders of ADSB, carry the major responsibility for the tone, mood, attitude and the ‘public face’ of our organization…we are the models… If we’re not taking care of ourselves and each other — who is? Let’s remember that we are the ‘we’ in well-being.”

- Lucia Reece, Director of Education, Algoma District School Board