A Large District’s PLT4M Roll Out
Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District (PYLUSD) has over 33 schools within the large district in northern Orange County. With 25,000 students across the district, stakeholders understand the impact each decision has on the community.
“Measure twice, cut once,” says the Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Cary Johnson.
Task forces, committees, groups, pilot programs, votes, and many different reviews and evaluations go into any major curriculum or program adoption at PYLUSD. Students, parents, teachers, administrators all have input and look to bring the best to the district in every subject.
Included in the thorough review of ‘every subject’ described by Cary Johnson is Physical Education,
“Physical Education is taken seriously here. Our teachers see it as a core subject and stick firmly to the California state standards.”
With COVID-19 drastically affecting Physical Education, Cary Johnson and PYLUSD took action to maintain the high standards their PE department could embrace across the district, even during a pandemic.
As the district prepared to tackle an unprecedented school year, Cary Johnson assembled representatives from the different schools to define their essential subject concepts and outline the plans to cover key curriculum.
“With so many unknowns, each subject had to be sure they could cover the needs of students in a virtual and hybrid setting. We needed to get the right resources in place to be ready no matter what.”
Brian Fortenbaugh, in his 23rd year of teaching, was part of the search and found a possible solution that could cover all of the ‘what ifs’ PE had looming over their heads.
“When I first looked at PLT4M, it sparked my interest. I checked out the instructional videos and resources. I really liked what it could offer for my students and potentially the full district.”
After talking more extensively with a PLT4M team member, Brian brought the program to Cary’s attention at the district level. Next came a thorough evaluation by PYLUSD and its’ Physical Education teachers to make sure it would live up to their high standards.
While the district needed to expedite some of the review processes with Covid, PYLUSD still gave PLT4M a close and meticulous look.
Cary dove into the program and connected with the PLT4M team himself,
“Seeing the instructional videos linked to the lesson plans was extremely powerful. Not only that, but the kids could actually identify with the PLT4M instructors in the videos. The content across the board was detailed and engaging.”
Past the engagement for teachers and students from a content perspective, Cary was excited about the connection PLT4M could make to the state standards,
“It was clear the program was driven by movement and activities that were consistent with California state standards. PLT4M would be intuitive for the teachers, and they could execute and roll out the program on a tight time window.”
With the right boxes checked, teachers invested and excited, and the Curriculum Director on board, the district was ready to implement PLT4M.
Check out PLT4M for your school district!
Rolling Out PLT4M
With the school year starting, PYLUSD needed to roll out PLT4M across the 12 middle and high schools. Cary Johnson brought the PE teachers back together and hosted an online training with PLT4M’s Director of Customer Success, Jackie Wogan.
While the district had general parameters for using PLT4M, they hoped that Jackie could help shed light on all of the program’s opportunities. Experienced with helping large districts roll out PLT4M, Jackie highlighted the different ways teachers and students could use both the curriculum and technology,
“While PLT4M is a core program used across many districts, the way each teacher or school ends up using it can look very different. PLT4M gives teachers the structure when they need it and the flexibility when they want it!”
And while Jackie helped share as much getting started information as possible, the teachers also took it upon themselves to collaborate and share best practices. The teachers shared a google doc that compiled the different unique ways they were using PLT4M or planned to use as the school year progressed.
With the plan, program, and process mapped out, each teacher was ready to go back to their school and roll out PLT4M. Early reports back to Cary were positive, and teachers were happy with what was happening.
A Closer Look At One School
One teacher who took the new PLT4M initiative in stride, was middle school PE teacher Aaron Acton. In his 25th year of teaching, Aaron had to rethink what his semester would look like at Tuffree Middle School.
“I took everything we talked about as a group and thought about what I could do to make the most of PLT4M and the new school year.”
First fully remote, Aaron layered in PLT4M’s introductory workouts and was diligent in his preparation.
“I have a pretty solid fitness background, but previewing PLT4M’s videos and written lesson plans helped me fully prepare for each day’s classes.”
With his classes first going through PLT4M’s Intro To Fitness program, Aaron went past the activity assignments the program called for and got creative with weekly assessments.
“I wanted to be sure it was getting through to the kids. I would write out different points of performance, some real, some not, and ask the kids to pick which actually applied to things like air squat, lunge, push up, and more.”
Aaron utilized the structure of PLT4M with his twist of flexibility and creativity!
Aaron Acton is an excellent example of adopting PLT4M amidst a pandemic, but he is not alone. Cary Johnson is proud to report that many of the teachers and schools all across the district have been successfully utilizing PLT4M.
Some schools have remained completely remote and others have returned to a hybrid model. While some schools use PLT4M every day, others look to it as a resource for specific units or curriculum sections.
And while the initial results have been positive, PYLUSD is working to ensure that they stay persistent in their efforts.
“We know that PLT4M has a lot of great resources, and they continue to come out with more. Our goal is to keep checking in as a group to ensure we are getting the most out of the program. We certainly feel like we are doing a lot with PLT4M right now, but we always work to stay diligent.”
Now at the school year’s halfway point, PYLUSD has thousands of students logging into PLT4M every day. Regardless of a pandemic, students are participating in a comprehensive Physical Education program thanks to the district’s ability to identify and support their students and teachers with relevant and engaging resources.