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IPS Educators Advocate for Physical, Health Education in Visit to Washington

SPEAK Out! Day drew school educators from across the nation to Washington, D.C.

Two members of the health and wellness staff at Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) recently visited Washington, D.C., to help raise awareness about physical and health education.

Andrew Bartolacci, an IPS physical education teacher, and Kathy Langdon, the district’s physical education and health coach, visited the nation’s capital Feb. 14 and 15 as part of SPEAK Out! Day. The event was sponsored by SHAPE America and The Indiana Shape Society. Bartolacci and Langdon are members of both organizations.

“We spent about 30 to 60 minutes with individuals and elected officials on the Capitol Hill,” Langdon said. “We thanked them for their support. We also shared the impact of what our district and physical education programs do for our students.”

She noted that for nearly 10 years SHAPE has been advocating for health and physical education to be included in the definition of a well-rounded education in federal legislation and policy.

Langdon said the conversations with elected officials and others in leadership positions included such topics as lifetime health and physical activity habits, academic achievement, classroom behavior, healthy behaviors, and school connections.

Langdon and Bartolacci also shared the impact of the district’s recent positive initiatives, including the “Take Care, Be Aware” traffic safety campaign, expanded professional development for staff, and increase prioritization of diversity, equity and inclusiveness.

They also shared stories about how COVID-19 impacted students, instruction, and teachers and families.

Each member of Congress was thanked for helping fund a block grant to states and to school districts that can be spent on well-rounded education, safe and healthy student programs, and technology, Langdon said.