October 24, 2016

Getting Students Active Across Long Island

by Dan Rossi '16

When first lady Michelle Obama announced her Let’s Move! campaign in 2009, the main focus was improving the physical health of children across America. Ensuing research found that physical activity also leads to an increase in mental sharpness and concentration. Since then, it’s been the objective of programs like The Fit Kids Foundation and SHAPE (Society of Health and Physical Educators) America to promote healthy habits and consistent physical activity throughout schools in America.

On October 14, 2016, physical educators and schoolteachers came to Adelphi from all across Long Island to hear from SHAPE America. Educators of various grades were present, from pre-K all the way through middle school to eighth grade.


The conference was led by Erin Centeio, Ph.D., who started off her presentation by getting the group of about 50 PALs (Physical Activity Leaders) out of their seats and jogging around the room to find three partners for the rest of the conference.

One of the participants was Adelphi alumnus Casey Twibell ’04. “I like to consider myself a lifelong learner,” he explained. “There is always something you can continue to learn by coming to these professional developments.” Twibell coached baseball at Adelphi for 10 years before leaving to become a physical educator at P.S. 253 in Far Rockaway, New York.

SHAPE America was brought to Adelphi by Kevin Mercier, Ed.D., a new assistant professor of exercise science, health studies, physical education and sport management.

“[SHAPE America] is not a cookie-cutter program,” Dr. Centeio said. “This will vary from school to school.” The conference went on to detail the best methods to approach physical activity in the classroom in a way that children will enjoy. She explained that physical activity doesn’t have to be restricted to recess and gym class, but that fun, active games—like active rock-paper-scissors, which involves jumping three times before taking a pose for your chosen element—can be implemented in any classroom to reset the students’ focus.

“We are constantly moving—from the minute I get them in the classroom. We stay moving, we stay active the entire period,” said Twibell. “I try not to have a lot of sitting around.”

SHAPE America works to further the work and message of Let’s Move! and to get the rest of the country moving more and learning better.

—additional reporting by Amanda Hayman ’17


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