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SD health educators gather in Brookings

BROOKINGS, S.D. — Oct. 31, 2019 — Current and future health educators from throughout South Dakota were in Brookings Oct. 23-25 for the annual conference of SHAPE SD—the Society of Health And Physical Educators of South Dakota.

Tracy Nelson, executive director of the organization and the Physical Education Teacher Education program coordinator at South Dakota State University, said 60 of the 130 attendees were current or former SDSU students. Faculty from SDSU, Black Hills State, Dakota State and Mount Marty College also participated in the conference.

Nelson said, “The conference is a great opportunity for K-12 P.E. teachers to learn new ideas to promote healthy living and lifelong physical activity.”

In addition to breakout sessions, attendees heard from Brian Devore, of the Online Physical Education Network and US Games, of Powder Springs, Georgia. He spoke on making fitness a part of every class period through utilizing OPEN PhyEd web- and app-based tools to enhance teaching physical education, physical activity, and social and emotional learning. 

Staci Carlson, SHAPE SD past president and physical education teacher for St. Thomas Moore Elementary, Brookings, organized this year’s event. As a passionate advocate for outdoors education, she arranged for Curt Robertson, director of Whippourwill Outdoor Programming with South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks, to be on hand to certify archery instructors. Thirty SDSU students took advantage of that Oct. 22 and 20 professionals and other college students were certified the following day.

Recognized as teachers of the year were Jim Keyes, of Pierre, at the elementary level; Lori Jerred, of Vermillion, at the middle school level; and Jamie Schroeder, of Spearfish, as a new professional with less than six years’ experience.  

SDSU students attending the conference on a partial scholarship: Ryan Argust, Brookings; Dani Blanchette, Tyler, Minnesota; Raeanna Mayforth, Rapid City; Jessica Morey, Mallard, Iowa; Jacob Skogstad, Sioux Falls; Ashley Wollschlager, Revillo. Memorial gifts made in the name of late physical education teachers Marj Evjen and Gary Busch fund the scholarships.

Forty-five of the 65 students in the SDSU Physical Education Teacher Education program attended the conference, which next year will be held in Spearfish, November 4-6th.

The SDSU program was established, after elimination of the HPER degree (Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance), in 2012 and is an accredited, 120-credit hour program within the College of Education and Human Sciences.