Chalk Talk – Episode 33 – Grant Writing For Physical Education feat. Jessica Shawley

Jessica Shawley

Meet Jessica Shawley

  • Shape America National Teacher of the Year
  • National Board Certified (NBCT) Physical Education Teacher
  • Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from University of Idaho
  • Nationally recognized educational speaker and professional development trainer (currently serving on the Shape America Physical Education Council)
  • Check out Jessica’s full bio here
  • Check out Jessica’s full article of Grant Funding here:
‘Finding grant funding can be a crucial component to supporting a quality program, and the best news is you do not have to be a professional grant writer to find and secure these funds. – Jessica Shawley
Jessica Shawley has secured over a million dollars in grant funding for K-12 Physical Education and joins Chalk Talk to break down how anyone can become a grant writer. 

Time Stamps: 
Part 1: Grant Writing – All The Moving Parts to Consider
  • Introduction to Jessica Shawley (0:00 – 3:00)

  • Circumstances Of School Funding – ‘Grant writing is always on the tables’ (3:00 – 5:20)

  • Enhancing Your Program Know What You Want – It’s Not Just About Collecting Things (5:20 – 7:20)

  • Shape, State, and Places To Look For Grants (7:20 -12:45)

  • It Takes A Village – Work With Your Administrators and Fellow Teachers (12:45 – 15:00)

  • Grant Writing Is More Work – Set Up The System and It Gets Easier (15:00 – 21;15)

Part 2: Benefits Of Being Involved 
  • Support One Another – Family Of A Profession  (22:05 – 25:10)

  • ‘Go-Tos’ in PE For Jessica Shawley  (25:10 – 27:10)

  • What Are You Looking For In A  Conference – So Much Variety (27:10 – 29:34)

  • Specific Examples From A Conference (29:34 -30:42)

  • Paying Out Of Pocket As A Teacher – How To Handle The Costs (30:42 – 32:55)

  • Thanks To Jessica Shawley and Final Thoughts: Start A Conversation About PE! (32:55 – 34:10)

Here’s how to make sure you never miss an episode:
  • Rate & review us to tell us what you’re loving and help us to reach more listeners.
  • Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay up to date on Chalk Talk updates. Use use #PLT4MChalkTalk to connect with us!

Have an idea or topic you would like us to cover? Feel free to send us along a suggestion!

Mount Abraham

11 Benefits Of S+C For The High School Level

Most people who work in public education ‘wear many hats’ at their schools. When we asked Devin Wendel, a man of many hats, if he was interested in writing an article for PLT4M, his brain went racing.

Put on the ATC hat and talk about S+C and injury prevention? Put on the AD hat and talk about the weight rooms relationship to on-field success? Devin has so many hats, we won’t play out all the other ideas he could have ran with!

What we came up with instead were his 11 Benefits of S+C for the HS Level. The goal for Devin is to start a conversation, not end one. What number on the list stands out to you? What would you add to the list? Let us know!

Devin Wendel

Meet The Author: Devin Wendel

11 Benefits Of S+C For The High School Level

Ask a group of 14-18 year old student-athletes to, “Get into a good squat position,” and see what happens. Based on my past experiences as a coach, athletic trainer, and athletic director, you will likely see a few different things. 

You will have a few individuals that keep their chests up, have a nice flat back, thighs parallel to the ground – good, safe form. Another handful will likely be looking around to their peers for guidance and mimicking what the first group is doing but may need minor corrections or cues to help them establish the proper position. Meanwhile, several others are likely in some sort of awkward position, but probably not one that resembles a true and safe squat technique. The reason for this is many athletes are never taught the fundamentals of strength training and conditioning by their youth or secondary school coaches.

Through the proper implementation of strength and conditioning programs, we can better educate student-athletes on the fundamental components of body awareness and proprioception, which are crucial to athletic performance as well as injury prevention.

This scenario I just played out got me thinking…what are all the different benefits of strength and conditioning for high school students that I have seen throughout the years?

 Listed below is a small sample of benefits that I have noticed during my experiences training athletes, educating coaches, and treating athletic injuries. And because I have worn so many hats, I couldn’t keep it to the catchy Top 10 Benefits of S+C, I just had to go with 11. So here they are. Let’s go!

My 11 Benefits of S+C for the HS Level:


1. Increases athletes’ strength, speed, flexibility, agility, balance, endurance, reaction speed, and proprioception.

I thought I would start with an easy one that we can all agree on!

2.  Identifies weaknesses as well as potential risk factors that could lead to injury.

This aligns with ATC Domain # 1 – Prevention of Athletic Injury. This, in turn, allows ATC to provide more quality care spread across fewer injuries.

3. Prepares athletes for sport-specific training that will both improve their athletic performance while at the same time identifying and combating inherent risks associated with their sport.

Combine Athletic Performance and Injury Prevention – Music to my ears. And with injury prevention, you get the results right. Which leads me to number 4.

4. Keeps more players on the field, allowing for more individual and team success throughout a season.

And for teams and individuals to have success, lets not forget how important it is for everyone to be on the same page…

5. Builds communication between Strength Coach, Head Coach, Athletic Training Staff, and student-athletes.

With this communication, we can help provide education and guidance to head coaches that they can use during times when the strength coach or ATC is unavailable.

As you can see from 1-5, I cover a lot of ground. But let’s tap into a few more specifics. First and foremost, we want to be on the same page as our kids, and what better place to start than in the weight room?

6. Builds a foundation of trust between athletes and the coaching staff.

As we hear time and time again, a lot of kids do not love the weight room. They love their sports. So, put the weight room in that context. This leads me to point 7…

7. Prepares the body for reaction to a sports movement. Basic S+C translates to things like being tackled, boxing out, or jumping over a person or other obstacles on the field.

And you’ll get the kid’s attention once they hear they can dominate the low block on the court. And maybe you don’t have to tell them number 8 just yet, but I think its worth noting. Confidence is key.

8. Increases students self-confidence and improved decision making on the playing field, making athletes less timid and prone to injury. 

So these have been in the context of our high school world, but we don’t just live in that, do we? What about what is next? For athletes looking for the next level, the weight room will most certainly be a part of it.

9. Prepares athletes for the expectations that will be placed on them if they intend to play at the next level after high school.

And the next level or not, the weight room is a place for life skills. These last 2 points are where it can all wrap up. It is why we work with students in the first place. Whether we are coaches, athletic trainers, athletic directors, we can all get behind these. 

10. Teaches basic movements that can translate to a lifelong practice of exercise after their athletic careers are over. It provides an outlet for maintaining a healthy lifestyle after high school. 

11. Allows athletes to set and work towards the objective, realistic, and attainable goals that are within their control, a skill that is essential for success in life. 

While this list could go on and on, these have been the key benefits that I have noticed in my experience. I would love to hear what others tout as key benefits that strength and conditioning programs provide in relation to both injury prevention as well as life-long well-being.

PLT4M Essay Contest Winner- Aidan Nadell

PLT4M hosted an essay contest for students across the country. Check out the full prompt here.

We asked students: In less than 750 words, you have to convince ‘Sedentary Industries’ that physical education is important to you. Why does physical activity and fitness matter to you?

We received hundreds of submissions and have selected a winner!

Congrats to Aidan Nadell from Upper Dublin High School in Pennsylvania for winning the competition! 

Aidan's Essay

Dear Sedentary Industries:

My name is Aidan Nadell, and I am writing this letter to explain why physical education classes are here to stay. Take it from someone who cares about physical activity: who sees fitness as the very means of vitality. Because I choose to engage in a lifestyle of fitness day in and day out, I have gained confidence in my body image, fostered a meaningful relationship with my father, relieved anxiety during the school day, and forged the routines and processes that will allow me to operate in shape beyond secondary education.

Firstly, I have struggled in the past with my body image, bordering on the line of a full-fledged eating disorder. Through the guidance offered by my physical education teachers who have supported me from kindergarten on, I have been able to reform my relationship with eating and exercise. I now understand that instead of exercising because I eat, I eat because I exercise. Using these resources, I have crafted a meal plan that ensures I eat enough calories every day and supports my physical activities in running, biking, and weight training. Without the PE Department, I likely would be residing in an in-patient facility, unable to attend school and curving down the slight edge of disappointment.

Moreover, exercise has been the vehicle in which I have developed a significant relationship with my dad. To contextualize, for the past six and a half years, my dad has worked in Thirty Rockefeller Center in Manhattan. This is easily a two hour commute from our home in Dresher, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia, to his office on the forty-sixth floor. His days start at 5:00 AM and he often doesn’t get home until past 7:00 PM, and I have to make a concerted effort to connect with my busy old man. This bridge between worlds was built upon running, a shared interest discovered in middle school. Neither of us had run a 5k before this revelation, and his desire to get in shape combined with my desire to connect to Dad concocted a recipe for success. I entered the five kilometers in confidence, no thanks to the mile training from PE class. We finished in less than twenty-four minutes, and we like to say that the rest is history. Now, my dad and I run for local causes in our community every other week, and we have shaved our times down to where we are consistently placing on the podium in every race.

Furthermore, the exercise in my physical education classes has elicited meditative effects for my anxiety. As a student with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), school sometimes becomes difficult to bear. When I take tests, I hear the anxiety. When I raise my hand in class, I hear the anxiety. It is when I am in my uniform, moving in my physical education class that the anxiety is silenced and overtaken by the enjoyment of escape. When I lace up for class, there is no lamentation: only appreciation and concentration. For it is what I learn in these classes that I am able to apply to my life and choices outside of school. I engage in the dynamic stretching I learned in class religiously on my runs, rides, and other exercise routines.

Tomorrow is my seventeenth birthday, and my parents are gifting me with a gym membership to our local Life Time Athletic. I could not think of a better way to implement the intentions of the Introduction to Weight Training class I take this year than to apply it in the mornings before school, getting gains before I get my grades. I have confidence from my previous exercise endeavors that I will be able to succeed with these up and coming routines as a pupil of the Upper Dublin School District Physical Education Department.

On my sixteenth birthday, I made a commitment to myself to develop my core through a ten-minute daily ab circuit (a commitment, mind you, that I have now fulfilled). The seedling that was planted and watered through every one of my physical education classes has blossomed into a well-established oak tree, with habits like roots engrained deep into the foundation of my life. Without this seedling, I would not have my tree. I would not have my eating-exercise balance, my partnership with my pop, or my maintenance over my anxiety. Physical education is here to stay in our school systems, as far as I am concerned.

My regards,

Aidan Nadell

EP31 Energy Systems

Chalk Talk – Episode 32 – Energy Systems – Conditioning For Performance

‘I want my team to be the best conditioned group around!’ What does that really mean when we start to consider all the different types of conditioning?

Coach Bres breaks down the 3 energy systems and how they relate to performance for high school student athletes.

Time Stamps: 
Part 1: Gain, Pain and Sustain – Big Three 
  • ATP For Power Output (0:00 – 4:20)
  • Phosphocreatine – Explosive – Gain (4:20 – 6:35)
  • Glycolytic – High Intensity – Pain (6:35 – 10:45)
  • Aerobic – Edurance Intensive – Sustain (10:45 – 13:30)
  • Concept of Conditioning – Effort or Training Energy Systems (13:30 – 17:04)
  • What Does It Look Like – Work to Rest, And Take Into Goals (17:04 – 25:02)
Part 2: Working Together, Not Apart 
  • Combining Different Energy Systems, And Training To Fit That (25:02 – 31:12)
  • Aerobic Is The Base to Build Anything Else ( 31:12 – 35:23)
  • Mental Toughness (35:23 – 41:38)
Here’s how to make sure you never miss an episode:
  • Rate & review us to tell us what you’re loving and help us to reach more listeners.
  • Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay up to date on Chalk Talk updates. Use use #PLT4MChalkTalk to connect with us!

Have an idea or topic you would like us to cover? Feel free to send us along a suggestion!


Physical Education Is Not For Everyone. Wait, What?

This article is also in audio form! Chalk Talk brought to life the stories and insights from the teachers and students featured in the article.

Physical Education Is Not For Everyone. Wait, What?

A few weeks ago, my colleague Sam Breslin published a two-part article on the importance of Physical Education. Part 1 broke down the physical health benefits (see here), and Part 2 illustrated the social and emotional benefits (see here)

While the consensus from teachers, coaches, and parents was a big thumbs up, it was not all ‘hooray for fitness.’ 

It was met, like most discussions surrounding Physical Education, with classic objections that fit the common themes of:

1) Not For Everyone, 2) Not Solving Our Societal Problems 3) New Approaches Upending Traditional Proven Strategies.

1) Physical Education is not for everyone. We are unnecessarily forcing students to sweat, be embarrassed by their athletic ability, and creating negative associations to physical activity. 

2) Well (sigh), the goal of Physical Education is to decrease the alarming obesity rates, and we are not getting any better at that. A little physical activity sprinkled into the day is not going to change how they eat or what they do in their own time, so what is the point? 

3) Physical Education’s ‘game-based approach’ at least teaches skills like teamwork and problem-solving. The ‘new wave’ of fitness education is trying to eliminate parts of Physical Education that still have value. 

Core Subject Consideration

These three points, while alarmingly negative, do highlight something telling about how we view Physical Education as a society: PE is not considered a core subject. 

What if we did consider PE to be a core subject? Subjects like Math, Science, and English Language Arts are all ingrained into our current curriculum and do not have to defend themselves regarding their legitimacy. 

Let’s use English Language Arts to break down the frequent attacks that fit the three themes outlined:

1) English Language Arts is not for everyone. We are unnecessarily forcing students to read, be embarrassed by their writing abilities, and creating negative associations with literature. 

2) Well (sigh), the goal of English Language Arts is to help students read and critically breakdown rich text and bodies of writing. Kids are only reading tweets, text messages, and short work any more, so what is even the point? 

3) The classic texts have and always will be the best way students can learn English Language Arts. The new wave of online and interactive literature is trying to eliminate parts of ELA that still have value. 

Did you have the same reaction to the ELA objections as you did to the Physical Education objections? Why or why not? 

I want to make the case that if we look at Physical Education as a core subject and as valuable as ELA or any other subject area, then we should react the same when we start to hear the common criticisms hurled at Physical Education. 

1) Not For Everyone 

In ELA, we can all remember a book assignment that we had very little interest in completing. Only after reading and writing, we then had to get up in front of the class and read what we wrote. I, for one, turned a bright shade of red, started sweating, and had the occasional stumble and stutter over my words. 

All the elements of this described exercise made me feel awkward, uncomfortable, and somewhat despise English class. What did my teacher do? She provided opportunities for feedback, helped me grow, and get more comfortable. She did this all while showing me the applications reading and writing would have later in life. At that moment, I felt while “English was not for me,” it was giving me skills that I could apply in life.

The same breakdown applies to Physical Education. Students will have moments where they have no interest in being tasked to do something like the squat. Only after learning to squat will they have a class assignment where the squat is part of a larger workout. For some, this will turn students into a bright shade of red, they will start sweating, and some will struggle at times through the workout. 

Sound familiar to my English class? Yet, we avoid the physical activity option. If we shift our mindset to that of the core subject, we can give students opportunities for feedback, scaling options to get more comfortable and to show the application these exercises will have later in life. 

Sound too good to be true? Check out Molly Collin’s strategies to making PE For Everyone (Motivating Students In PE) 

2) Not Solving Our Societal Problems

While we use ELA class as an opportunity to promote good writing and reading habits, we do not lament the class or teacher when students then go watch TV, text in broken english and do not apply everything their teacher taught them. We often chalk up a lot of those things to society. 

However, Physical Education in recent years has borne the burden of solving the obesity crisis in our country. Are students still overweight? Well, that one is on the failure of PE. 

We see a student watch TV, eat junk food (while texting), and not apply everything from Physical Education class. Then, we question the Physical Education class and teacher. How did they not solve the obesity crisis? 

In any core subject, our goal is to help students develop the skills and knowledge to make the best decisions they can outside of the classroom. While society and outside factors might make that harder at times, a proper Physical Education class has started to steer students towards healthier choices. 

Any core subject should prepare students for life long success, what an opportunity we have in Physical Education. 

3) New Approaches Upending Traditional Proven Strategies 

Don’t get rid of Shakespeare or Volleyball! I agree. English does not have to abandon the classics, and neither does Physical Education. There is merit to the games and sports that once were the staples of Physical Education. 

There is no question that sports and games can promote teamwork, communication, and problem-solving. However, Physical Education, like other subjects, must adapt and set students up for success in the society and life we are living in. 

The majority of young adults do not continue playing sports after high school. Actually, in a recent study, less than 25% of adults reported still playing sports into their adult lives. 

So while we can promote sports as a great way to build life skills, we also need to foster fitness skills that adults can use throughout their daily lives to stay healthy. This is where, in recent years, we identified fitness education as a part of the solution. 

The majority of adults look to local gyms, running, or other fitness-based approaches to staying healthy long term. So part of Physical Education should be dedicated to helping this group succeed after sports come to an end. 

And the best part is that there are still lots of opportunities in fitness education to incorporate teamwork, communication, and problem-solving. 

The Canton Example

And let me just be abundantly clear, the path to successful Physical Education does not lie in a ‘holier than though’ approach. Schools succeeding in Physical Education have ingrained the subject into its core offerings and provided diverse options of fitness, health, wellness, and sport in their Physical Education curriculum. They are open to developing the subject because they see it as a core subject. 

One great example of a school that has diverse options offered in Physical Education is at Canton High School in Massachusetts. Every student is required to go through the sophomore Personal Wellness Class; with the goal, they are introduced to foundational movements that they can apply throughout the rest of their life. (Read More About The Class Structure Here) 

From there, students are given different options, with the baseline understanding that the goal of all Physical Education is to both promote and highlight different ways students can be physically and mentally healthy. 

One student, Jenna Larson, in a recent essay contest from Canton High School wrote the following:

“I love sweating. Well, no, I don’t really. Let me rephrase: I love knowing I just worked so hard on something that my shirt is a completely different color. If I’m going to put myself through the misery of working out, I might as well give it my very best. Now I don’t necessarily think every kid should be forced into a strenuous workout every day at school, however, I think everyone should learn the feeling of accomplishment you get after exercise. 

One of the most important things for students especially to remember is that a great workout doesn’t only come from running a mile or doing fifty pushups. Some of the best and most fun workouts I’ve ever done have come from hiking, spinning, and dancing. 

The more variety schools have in their physical education programs, the more kids will find things they actually enjoy doing. One of my favorite ways to get a good sweat in is by doing zumba. I did it for the first time in gym class at school and now frequently do it in my house when I feel like getting my blood flowing during the week. 

This is something I’ll keep doing far after my high school life ends. Physical Education in schools can help kids find something they like to keep them active when they aren’t forced to do something for an hour at school.”  (Check Out The Rest Of Jenna’s Article Here)

So next time we hear, 1) Not For Everyone, 2) Not Solving Our Societal Problems 3) New Approaches Upending Traditional Proven Strategies, let’s look at schools like Canton. 

Physical Education is for everyone. Physical Education can promote healthy lives outside of the classroom. And we can be mindful of the world we live in to give the best options and opportunities to serve our students.

Are you already doing this at your school? Kudos, share the positive ways you do in the comments section! 

If you are not? Have no fear, Physical Education is here to stay and the PE people will keep beating their drum until it becomes as valued in schools as English, Math, Science and every other core subject. 


Chalk Talk – Episode 30 – Squat University – Dr. Aaron Horschig

Aaron Horschig

Dr. Aaron Horschig

  • Physical Therapist
  • Strength and Conditioning Coach
  • Speaker and Writer
  • Author of The Squat Bible 

His goal is to not only provide the highest quality rehabilitation to athletes who have sustained an injury, but to also help our sports medicine society become proactive in how we approach the athlete – both from a rehabilitation and training perspective.

When we realized there was someone as passionate about squat form and technique as we were…well we had to track him down. Dr. Aaron Horschig was kind enough to join the PLT4M team to talk about his big three: improve technique, decrease pain and increase performance.

Go check out more from Aaron at Squat University.

Time Stamps: 
Part 1: Move Well First, Move Weight Second
  • Introduction To Aaron Horschig – Sharing Knowledge (00:00- 5:24)
  • Great Athletes Trying To Do Basics (5:25- 7:19)
  • Battling Old School Culture – Living By The Numbers (7:20 – 13:04)
  • Building Up Young Coaches – It Takes Injuries For Coaches To Get Smart (13:05 – 15:04)
  • Screening Athletes – Where To Start – Shoes Off (15:05 – 22:44)
  •  Growth Spurts – Losing ROM – How To Address (22:45 – 27:29)
  • Address Problems – Do Not Just Put Bandaids On (27:30 -28:24)


Part 2: Shoes – Not Breaking The Bank
  • Talking Shoes – Footwear In The Weight Room (29:57 – 33:19)
  • Get Shoes Kids Can Use (33:20 – 36:10)
  • What To Do On Your Own – Hang Out In Squat (36:11 – 38:40)
Here’s how to make sure you never miss an episode:
  • Rate & review us to tell us what you’re loving and help us to reach more listeners.
  • Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay up to date on Chalk Talk updates. Use use #PLT4MChalkTalk to connect with us!

Have an idea or topic you would like us to cover? Feel free to send us along a suggestion!