Fitness-Focused Phys Ed At Hammond Central

PE teacher Sue Mathewson displays PLT4M on a smart board at Hammond Central High School.

Three years ago, Hammond Central High School in Indiana moved into a beautiful new state-of-the-art school building. As students and teachers within the urban school district settled into the new space, the physical education department saw the transition as an opportunity to start something new within the PE curriculum. The PE teachers wanted to transition from a traditional games-based program towards a fitness-focused curriculum. After obtaining a grant to invest in curriculum and technology, Hammond Central has seen the early signs of success with the new fitness-focused initiative.

The Push For A Fitness-Focused Program 


At Hammond Central High School, students participate in two semesters of 9th-grade physical education. After that, physical education becomes an elective, which is why PE teacher Sue Mathewson wanted to take a new approach to the class, 


“9th grade PE was typically centered around team-based games like volleyball and basketball. But we wanted to make it more individualized to allow students to develop more applicable lifelong fitness skills.” 


Sue, now in her 26th year as a PE teacher within the district, wasn’t afraid to change the curriculum she had taught for so many years, 


“After talking with my fellow teachers like Adam Hudak, who is also the football coach, we agreed that changing our approach to physical education with new curriculum and technology could improve the overall experience for all our different students at Hammond Central.” 

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girl lifting weights with devices around her

Funding The Fitness-Focused Initiative 


Once the PE teachers at Hammond Central High School started planning the new fitness-focused curriculum, they set out to find resources that would support the new initiative. After some initial research, Sue thought PLT4M could be an excellent addition to the classroom, 


“It seemed like the perfect fit for what we wanted to do in 9th-grade PE classes. We have a Promethean board in the gym, so I pictured displaying different lessons and videos right on the big screen.” 


Beyond just 9th-grade PE classes, other teachers like Adam saw this as an excellent addition to different electives like weight training. But with no money in the budget to fund any additional curriculum or technology, Sue decided to apply for a local grant from the Hammond Education Foundation that could help fund the fitness program. 


While many teachers don’t know if grants for physical education exist or are typically supported, Sue saw the grant as a perfect fit for aligning to the Foundation’s values and goals, 


“One of the things the grant requires is showcasing how it aligns with the Foundation’s core values, such as promoting self-awareness, equity and access, and community innovation. And with PLT4M, I could make the case that we were doing that by creating fitness opportunities for our diverse student population.” 


When Sue was awarded the grant, she was excited to dive into the new fitness-focused program. 

Intro To Fitness In Action 


Sue took the program to the classroom after receiving the grant and training to use PLT4M. To start, Sue introduced students to foundational movements via PLT4M’s Intro To Fitness program, 


“Because many of our 9th graders are brand new to fitness, we want to spend time teaching and introducing things like the bodyweight squat, lunge, hinge, press, and pull.” 


In class, Sue displays PLT4M materials and workouts on the Promethean board for students to watch and follow along to. For example, each lesson starts with a warm-up for students before diving into the main movements and activities of the day. Sue says that the students have embraced and enjoyed the addition of videos and technology into class, 


“The students have a lot of fun with the daily finisher challenges. And I love the opportunities to measure and track progress and growth.” 

Video from PLT4M’s Intro to Fitness program introducing the air squat. This is an example of a video that Sue displays in class! 

School-Wide Impact at Hammond Central 


Because students all take 9th-grade PE, Sue is excited to know the impact she is making with the new fitness-focused curriculum. Each student will now start high school with a fun and thorough introduction to fitness and exercise during physical education. 


And beyond just 9th grade PE seeing the positive impact, Sue says that PLT4M has been an excellent addition for students in other classes as well, 


“Our weight training classes have taken full advantage of PLT4M, which is awesome. And even our health teachers have tapped into the new health education lesson plans since we recently went away from our old health textbooks.” 


Altogether, Hammond Central High School has succeeded in the early stages of the new fitness-focused curriculum. What started as an idea when the new school building opened has since transformed into a school and community-wide success. So as Sue and her fellow teachers continue to evolve and grow in the coming years, there are lots more exciting things to come from Hammond Central High School, 


“This year has been a great launching point for experimenting and trying new things. As we keep going, there are lots of different ways we can tweak and adjust to make it an even better experience for our students.” 

Make Phys Ed Students' Favorite Class

Schedule a 15-Minute demo to learn how PE teachers are ushering in a new age of Physical Education with Fitness and Technology!

girl lifting weights with devices around her

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