On Wednesday, Feb. 10, Central Valley Academy’s Jane Connors learned the New York State Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (NYSAHPERD) had named her the Central North Zone’s top high school physical education teacher. The group selected her from nominees representing the seven counties of central and northern New York.
Ms. Connors earned the honor for her ongoing work with her fellow physical education teachers to develop a comprehensive and effective physical education program at CVA. The honor also recognizes her service to AHPERD and the glowing recommendation from her principal Dick Keeler.
“She continues to put the needs of her students and colleagues ahead of her own. She is a dedicated educator,” he said.
Ms. Connors keeps the accolades in perspective.
“I am excited to receive the recognition, but it won’t change what I do. I love my profession and I want CVA’s PE program to be the best around,” she said.
She is quick to remind people that CVA PE teachers do not teach gym class—that’s just rolling a ball into the room for kids to chase and kick. Instead, their curriculum incorporates physical activity, health and nutrition education all mixed into a 40-minute period that keeps students moving and engaged.
Ms. Connors pioneered the department’s use of online tools such as BUZZ and Brain Honey to lesson plan and monitor student participation and progress.
At CVA, physical education class is as serious and demanding as other subjects including math, science and English. PE lessons adhere to specific learning standards and include activities that test students’ understanding and clearly spell out what the teacher expects them to have learned by the end of class.
Superintendent Rich Hughes recently spent a period participating in a physical education class jointly taught by Ms. Connors and PE teacher Anthony Mucurio.
“Their teaching included the best elements that I would expect to find in any classroom. They engaged students from the beginning, stated their learning objectives, checked for participation and progress, and shifted learning from being teacher-led to being student-directed,” he said.