Back to Gallery
2003 PFA All Star Teacher
Jenna Thomas

Jenna Thomas and Thomas Notte

Bedminster Township Elementary School
Bedminster, New Jersey 

Jenna and Tom “inherited” Project Fit America in 2004 and they came into this program a bit skeptical and unsure of what to expect and of what was expected of them.  As they slowly but surely began trying the lessons, games and activities and most importantly applying the core principals of Project Fit America to their PE program, the fire was ignited and the “lightbulbs were going off” for this team teaching duo.

Thomas Notte

Anxious to keep their professional development ongoing they starting coming to our in-services of new schools we were launching in the area.   In 2009 our field trainer wrote to us. ”There were these two teachers from Bedminster here today (at her in-service in Boonton Township) and they were awesome! These two teachers are All Star Material. We need to peek inside THEIR gym just to see all the wonderful things they are doing!”

And that is just what we are doing with this All Star Award, showcasing this terrific PE team and sharing with you their outside-the-box . . . amazing PE program.   

Jenna Thomas and Thomas Notte's Programs, Activities & Teaching Philosophy

 

All Star Update

2012 Update

Jenna Thomas and Thomas Notte, All Star Teachers 2009

Since our selection as All Star Teachers in 2009, the Bedminster Township Public School’s PFA program has developed immensely as we have adopted and implemented the core beliefs of Project Fit America: every student should have the opportunity to be active, fit, and healthy. The lesson plans and hands-on teaching strategies that we have received from PFA has provided us with the means to raise the bar of the Physical Education program at the Bedminster Township School.

The Physical Education staff has incorporated and modified numerous cup activities to meet the needs of our K-8 students. For example, during October, our regional PFA Bedminster Physical Education Conference, the Bedminster Physical Education staff was apprised of various modifications to the activity, “The Tallest Tower.” Since this time, we have altered and improved upon our instructional practice for this exercise by replacing the “face off” dice rolling with the following tasks:

• 1st & 2nd grade students play rock paper scissors
• 5th- 8th grade students participate in stations from 10 dollar bone

In addition, during our Fitness Unit we have replaced our relay timed races with the Shuttle Cup Run Challenge. During the Shuttle Cup Run Challenge, the top 12 finalists and the top three over all winners are recognized by having their names displayed on the Physical Education bulletin boards. We feel that this positive reinforcement both encourages students to perform to their optimum potential while simultaneously encouraging healthy competition. Furthermore, we believe that displaying our students’ achievements in a public setting improves the morale of all involved.

The core values and philosophy of Project Fit America extends beyond the classroom at Bedminster Township Public School. For example, the Physical Education staff assist in facilitating the district’s extra-curricular athletic program by coaching and organizing a host of physical fitness programs such as the Ski & Board Club. This particular club is well subscribed and sought after by the student body. Student participants enjoy skiing at the Shawnee Ski Resort in Pennsylvania where they learn the necessary skills associated with the sport of skiing and boarding. This club is supervised by Bedminster Township School’s Physical Education/ National PFA All Star instructors.

The district’s Physical Education staff serves in a dual role as both classroom instructors and after-school coaches. Physical Education teachers/coaches make every attempt to reinforce what is taught on the “field” by integrating it into classroom instruction. This is evident in how Physical Education students are permitted to utilize the school’s soccer field, weather permitting, to refine their soccer skills. In the event of inclement weather, Physical Education teachers conduct indoor soccer battle ball competitions in the gymnasium. This overlap of classroom instruction and after-school organized sports is what truly makes the district’s Physical Education program unique and innovative.

Bedminster Township School students are exposed to a plethora of physical fitness programs associated with Project Fit America, including but not limited to: American Heart Association Jump Rope for Heart; the National Club, Girls on the Run, Shuttle Cup Run Relays, “Beat the Ball Covey Style”, Progressive Aerobic Bowling, and Bedminster Township school’s very own $10 Mr. Potato Head. The Physical Education staff is also presently exploring the idea of implementing an Indoor Battle Soccer Ball after-school club, modeled after the program currently offered at the Jefferson Elementary School in North Carolina.

For the 2011-2012 school year, the Bedminster Township School’s Physical Education staff also implemented the “Work Out Wednesday” program for all middle school students. This consists of four different physical fitness activities that students are required to participate in on a weekly/monthly basis. We have committed to dedicating one week of every month to our PFA program by utilizing the following PFA instructional programs and strategies: $10 bone, tallest tower, shuttle run cup challenge.

As educators, we are persistent in our efforts to instill and promote cardiovascular activities into our students’ daily lives. This educational vision derived from our original Professional Learning Community goal of using student data to track and monitor progress. One example of how we utilized student performance data to make informed decisions is how we analyze and record our students’ pre- and post-trial performance on the mile run. After gathering this data, we were able to evaluate our students increase/decrease in cardiovascular endurance. Once we presented our students with the data gleaned, they were tremendously motivated to beat their personal performance time(s) from the previous year. We have also applied this same practice to students’ performance on Work Out Wednesday. As a result, we have noticed that the students are making great efforts to improve their personal times.

In closing, the Physical Education Department at the Bedminster Township School takes great pride in persistently seeking ways to improve our craft by working collaboratively with other school districts and organizations that share our common belief. It would be a pleasure and a privilege to have Master Teacher Steve Cox visit our school for an advanced session to support our vision and goals for program development. As educators we are continually learning and growing and are open- minded to new suggestions and ideas. That is the beauty of our profession as it is constantly evolving. If selected by Mr. Cox, we would greatly appreciate his assistance and expertise in further developing our physical fitness program.

We thank you for your time and consideration and look forward to hearing back from you at your earliest convenience.

Sincerely,

Jenna Thomas & Thomas Notte

 

top

Back to 2009 All Star Teachers Showcase