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Advocate Spotlight: Brian Rhoads

My story...but more importantly my why...

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Growing up Physical Education was my favorite class in school. It was my opportunity to be me, moving, happy and healthy. I was even able to go to PE on my off days, thanks to my Physical Education Teacher in small town Reinbeck, IA. This was a class I greatly needed as a child, I was restless, hyper at times and couldn’t sit still and focus for very long, as I was expected to do most of the school day. Little did I know back then, but Physical Education was of great value to me!

7 years after graduation I became a Physical Education Teacher in West Des Moines, IA. Over the course of the next 18 years I would teach Physical Education ranging from Kindergarten to 12th Grade. At this point I decided to take a risk and step out of the classroom and become a Teacher Leader for Physical Education and Health within the West Des Moines Schools. I chose this role because I wanted to have a greater impact on my profession as a whole, not only for the students but for the teachers as well.

My career started teaching at the elementary level combined with middle school level where the majority of students enjoy PE, but starting to taper away in those middle school years and then later moved to the high school level. The last 15 years I have witnessed students who enjoy PE and students who do not, along with some that don't even show up to class. I knew that changes were needed so that all students could find joy in our classroom.

Our vision as a nation for Physical Education is to be “A nation where all children are prepared to lead healthy, physically active lives.” Shape America 2018

My goal as a Physical Education and Health Curriculum Lead is to provide value to the teachers so that they may instill the knowledge and skills to achieve and maintain a health-enhancing level of physical activity and fitness, along with the ability to recognize the value of physical activity for health, enjoyment, challenge, self-expression and/or social interaction. “Over the past two decades, physical education has undergone a transformation in rigor and focus and now is recognized as essential to a young person’s overall education experience and a foundation for lifelong healthy living.” Shape America 2018

Year 2 in my role I became the Advocacy Chair for my state organization IAHPERD (Iowa Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance). This role has led me to begin advocating for Physical Education and Health not only at the state level in partnership with the American Heart Association but at the national level as well through Speak Out Day in Washington D.C..

It is my hope to that we can move our state and our nation to increased Physical Education and Health so that our youth may possess the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life.

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