Alisa James is a perfect example of what makes The College at Brockport unique. The professor for the Department of Kinesiology, Sport Studies, and Physical Education and Coordinator of Physical Education Teacher Education is determined to be an agent of change in the way physical education is taught. A former tenured physical education teacher, James knew the only way to inspire change was to pursue a doctorate and eventually have a direct effect on how teachers of physical education are taught.
Three years ago, James developed a partnership with the Greece Central School District to provide an innovative program to prepare the newest crop of physical education teachers. After meeting minimum qualifications, including GPA and credit hours, students are formally interviewed by Bev Ziegler, Director of Physical Education, Health and Wellness at Greece Central School District and a Brockport alumna. Once a student is selected to participate in the program, he or she will take part in 100 hours of field work followed by their student teaching requirement.
"This way they're in that school district throughout their whole Brockport career, and they stay with that same teacher for their methods field experience and student teaching," says James.
She says the program benefits students in a way that goes beyond a conventional student teaching assignment because the partnership student spends several semesters gaining an invaluable understanding of how a school district operates. The benefits also extend to the teachers, who know they will have a student working with them for an extended period.
Additionally, James and her Brockport colleagues are able to conduct research in collaboration with the district teachers. Ultimately, she says it's aimed at creating a community of practice among the teachers in the partnership as well as working on curricular projects. For example, currently they are working to develop a more sequential curriculum that hits curricular focal points that have to do with health-related fitness.
In all, there are 425 Brockport undergraduates majoring in physical education with a total of 64 in the three graduate tracks (adapted physical education, athletic administration and teacher education/pedagogy). The Department of Kinesiology, Sport Studies, and Physical Education is part of the School of Health and Human Performance.
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