Enhancing P.E in Illinois – Stories from the field

The  Illinois Enhance P.E Task Force recently submitted a groundbreaking new report with benchmarks and strategies to improve and increase physical education classes, based on the latest neuroscience research linking physical activity with improved academic performance. The changes will take at least a year to finalize, adopt and implement, but there are schools across Illinois enhancing their P.E. programs right now and you can too with the resources below!

First, stories and best practices from the field:

1) As a member of the Illinois Enhance P.E. Task Force, Superintendent Jean Sophie of Lake Bluff School District is proud that her staff encourages students to become active participants in their health by facilitating the development of individualized fitness plans and goals.

2) Principle April Haar and her staff at Unity Point Elementary School have made health and wellness a priority through changes in their P.E. curriculum, school lunch menu, and their partnership with the Jackson County Health Department.

3) Dan Phelps, P.E. teacher at Hononegah High School identifies community partnerships as foundational to developing a withstanding physical education culture at his school. Phelps believes that it is the responsibility of physical educators like him to develop students’ lifelong fitness knowledge.

4) Naperville Central High School’s Learning Readiness P.E. program has been engaging students in meaningful physical activity since 2003. Paul Zientarski, the coordinator at the school uses scientific evidence to show students and others that physical activity positively affects cognition.

5) The Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development at the Southern Illinois University of Medicine has helped facilitate improvements to P.E. in over 60 schools. Jeff Franklin, the project coordinator, believes enhanced P.E. is part of a comprehensive approach to improving student health and wellness in schools.

6) Belmont-Cragin Elementary School in Chicago has been working to enhance P.E. and is now implementing Chicago Public School’s 30-20-10 program to provide 30 minutes of P.E., 20 minutes of recess, and 10 minutes of physical activity in the classroom each day.

Resources so you can get started – right now!

  •  Get Fit & Flourish: Enhanced Physical Activity Manual, a new free resource packed with lesson plans and activities to help students develop the skills needed for life–long physical activity. Read more.
  • Enhanced Physical Education Resource Guide, a product of the Illinois Enhance P.E. Task Force, providing research on the connection between student achievement and physical activity, model policies, evaluation tools, curricula and more!
  • Visit IPHI’s dedicated webpage, Enhancing Physical Education in Illinois, to hear webinars on the Task Force report and recommendations, and to download other resources on enhancing P.E.
  • Access the other handouts and more resources at ISBE’s Enhance P.E. website.


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