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“A leader’s role is to raise the people’s aspirations for what they can become and to release their energies so they will try to get there.”

(Week of October 25, 2010) This week – on Tuesday and Thursday – I was fortunate to be involved in two special activities: (1) Speaking to the Macon County Public Schools’ principals and Central Office staff and (2) Presenting to a select group of Union County Schools physical education teachers. On both occasions, an early departure (read – a 3:30 AM wake-up and on-the-road by 4:00 AM) was necessary.  As I drove westward, I was able to take the above two pictures – one of a cool rainbow and another of a colorful mountainside on Interstate 40 – near Asheville, North Carolina.

Standard-Based Grading for PE: The primary goal of these two trips was to help the physical education teachers in both school districts move towards a stronger alignment in implementing a standards-based grading process.

In case #1, the Macon County school principals and Central Office staff seemed very supportive and keenly interested in moving away from the traditional way of giving grades (i.e., dressing out and participation) to a more educationally sound practice (i.e., assessing students on the required State PE curriculum). As school administrators, everyone in the room easily understood the need to do this, especially in light of North Carolina’s recent selection as one of the federal “Race to the Top” recipients.

In case #2, we were working with a group of K-12 physical education teachers who were interested in implementing a consistent grading procedure across the school district.  The teachers were provided with a listing of grade-by-grade Power Standards and a suggested assessment rubric (0-4 scale).

Both groups – the administrators and the PE teachers – were being leaders in their own right – helping to break the “chains of tradition” – and to create a new type of physical education for the children and youth they serve.

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