Continued Success Through Covid
Only a few years ago, Boise High School offered five sections of an athletic fitness class that had roughly 30-35 students per class. Now the program has over nine sections and almost 38-44 students in every class. Not only that, there is a waitlist full of students trying to get in!
An elective based PE program does not just become this popular in only a few years by chance. Instead, it takes teachers and coaches to champion the importance of fitness and strength and conditioning for all students.
At Boise, those champions have been Stephanie Fornander and Rachel Ryden. As teachers and coaches at the school, Stephanie and Rachel have fostered a program with male and female students, athletes and non-athletes, all looking to be a part of this impactful program.
Joining the class comes with high expectations, but expectations that Rachel noted many of the students take notice of before joining and actually choose to be a part of,
“Our general PE program comes into the weight room once a week, and some of the students who are not in sport see the program, and they are saying, ‘I want to do that. I want to push myself, challenge myself, and work hard.’ They join the class and inter-mix with the athletes, which has been a cool dynamic.”
And with a full class representing the diverse population of interests at Boise High School, Rachel and Stephanie are proud of the program growing over the past few years. Stephanie highlights the inclusivity of the program,
“Everyone is welcome. Anyone who wants to come in and work hard is welcome. It is inclusive, and we see everyone who runs the gamut of sports, goals, and interests come to join the class.”
Not only have they made students feel welcome, but Stephanie and Rachel also invite other coaches, administrators, and even parents to visit and check out the hard work in their classes. The program is a beacon of Boise High School!
Continuing The Culture Through Covid
As Stephanie and Rachel continued to build culture throughout their program, Covid came and threatened to bring everyone to a halt.
As the school had to shift to distance learning, Rachel and Stephanie knew that they probably would need some long term solutions for the upcoming school year.
Stephanie noted the importance of the standards they have at Boise,
“Our kids get after it, from the minute they walk in to the minute they leave. It is a rigorous course. So we wanted to make sure we implemented that same rigor into distance learning.”
And as Stephanie acknowledged the goal of maintaining the high standards they were proud of, she looked to find the right programs and resources to support that. After looking into PLT4M, she connected with Rachel and looked to see how they could blend their current plan and curriculum into an online program.
After securing the funding, they were able to build the program and be ready to go for the first day of school. Stephanie looked to start strong,
“We wanted to get the kids off on the right foot and let them know that we still had a program and curriculum they could look forward to. PLT4M helped to build some extra excitement.”
Levels & Expectations
With the start of the new school year, Stephanie and Rachel knew that they would have many different levels and layers of students to address.
Some students at home would have access to equipment and already experienced in the more complex movements. Other students would be coming with the same level of experience but have no equipment at home. And of course with a new year, there were sure to be students with no experience and in need of an introduction to the basics.
Accessibility was the key to success. Through the class and PLT4M, students were encouraged to make the most of any situation. With some creativity, students could use at home items and continue to train. From there, Stephanie and Rachel could suggest and tailor different workouts to fit the needs of all the different situations students found themselves in at home.
The message was clear,
“You can work out and have a rigorous workout no matter where you are and what you have access to.”
Stephanie and Rachel maintained the high standard and used PLT4M to fit their goals via an online setting.
And just because the start of the school year was remote, the continued process of welcoming new students with a fundamental and foundational introduction was crucial. Rachel described what the program consisted of,
“We walked them through all of the lifts with a PVC. We take it step by step and breakdown the movements. We practice it together. We start everyone on the PVC, even if they had us before. Then from our guided sessions, we would insert PLT4M resources to support what we were doing.”
From guided sessions to using supplemental resources of PLT4M, the program was able to take the same shape as any other year, only with a remote twist. The goal was to build students in gradually, giving them options that they could feel successful with. While Stephanie and Rachel are both proud of the challenge and difficulty their class presents, they also want to make sure that students can feel safe and comfortable learning new movements.
Transitioning To Hybrid
As the school year progresses and students grow in confidence, Boise has the opportunity to return via a hybrid model. With a strong push from administrators not to ‘reinvent the wheel’ and keep things consistent for students, Rachel and Stephanie plan to continue using PLT4M.
Rachel noted the continuity from remote to hybrid,
“The students already know what to do with PLT4M. With hybrid, three days a week, students have a full PLT4M workout at home. And two days a week, they are in person with us. As we transition, we want to keep accessing PLT4M to help provide all the workouts to our students via the app. What’s nice is now all our students will know it and be comfortable.”
The plan and process might continue to change throughout the year but Stephanie and Rachel can tweak and adapt within PLT4M so that they can continue supporting students no matter the situation. The options are endless, from modifying for in-season or off-season athletes to tailoring workouts for students who might need it.
Same Great Results, New Recipe
For Stephanie and Rachel, the results of a high level, rigorous program is still the intended result. With hard work, planning, and dedication, these two educators have found ways to adapt through Covid to continue their high level of success.
Now in her fourth year at Boise, Stephanie can see the results and impact the program is making,
“We see these kids, and they say, ‘This class made a difference.” Not only in sports or athletic capabilities, but in general life, and how they feel about themselves and general confidence.”
And as this class makes a difference to hundreds of students at Boise High School, Stephanie and Rachel celebrate the success but keep one eye towards the future and how they can continue growing their program.