This spotlight was written from conversations and interviews conducted through the PLT4M Chalk Talk podcast. Check out the full interviews and conversations for more details on how Monte Vista has executed their remote Physical Education program! Thank you to Natalie Miloslavich and Chris Lum for sharing their insights and story!
Remote Physical Education – From Plan To Practice
Natalie Miloslavich was thrown a major curveball in her 10th year of teaching Physical Education at Monte Vista High School in California. Like all of California public schools, Monte Vista would need to teach entirely remotely.
While this could have sounded the alarms for a school of 2,500 students, the entire PE department took this challenge in stride.
Now, with a fully fleshed out remote PE curriculum, they are seeing students embrace the program and are excited about the rest of the year ahead.
To understand how this process is going so smoothly, Natalie signaled both to the structure of their PE program before Covid and the lessons learned from the first attempt at remote learning last spring. From these lessons, Monte Vista was able to execute and adapt the remote program and celebrate its successes.
Almost 8 years ago, Monte Vista Physical Education shifted its curriculum’s primary focus from games based to fitness-focused classes.
“Every single student goes through what we call ‘freshman PE’ where they basically build knowledge in moving safely and the life skills around exercise.”
From this foundation, all students can then expand on their interests and achievements within fitness, understanding that they all have the building blocks to succeed within multiple avenues of strength and conditioning.
One of the biggest things that stood out to Natalie through this change was how it allows more students to find something they were good at within Physical Education than in the games based approach.
“The kids who didn’t shine in PE before because they weren’t athletic or didn’t have hand-eye coordination might now be the best deadlifter. It has been cool to see kids who didn’t know they had specific skills because they were not athletically inclined to do sports are now the best jump roper (for example). It is fun to see kids find something they are good at.”
Monte Vista Physical Education was helping students to build lifelong fitness skills, and then in the spring of 2020, Covid came, and everyone went remote.
When Monte Vista first went remote, like many schools, the plan was only to be at home for a few weeks. With a strong foundation built throughout the year, Natalie and the other teachers looked to keep students active while at home.
“We tried our best to have students log what they were doing at home. It was very grab and go. We hoped that this would only be for a few weeks.”
And as Covid and remote learning dragged on, the lack of connection and communication with students past their journals and logs presented its challenges.
As Natalie quickly realized that this was going to be a long term situation, she attempted to put together different videos and content on her own.
“It took me an entire day to get one 10-minute video together. I wanted to do it well, but it just took so much time to put it all together. That is where PLT4M luckily came in as we got ready for a new school year.”
The 2020 School Year
With a fellow teacher, Chris Lum, going out and advocating for Physical Education resources in the form of PLT4M, Natalie set up her class structure around what PLT4M resources had to offer.
Natalie, ever the planner, went above and beyond to make sure she was ready to make the most out of a unique school year and a new resource. Not only did she go through some of the workouts on her own, but she also took diligent notes to pair the activity-based lessons with follow-up questions for her students.
Now in Natalie’s classes, students are tasked to follow PLT4M’s ‘Intro To Fitness Program‘ and ‘Mobility Program.’ Using the videos and instructional notes, Natalie will then ask students to respond to questions within her Google Classroom she has set up.
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The Monte Vista students have responded well to the remote style of Physical Education Natalie and her colleagues have adopted.
“I think one of the biggest things they appreciate is the structure. They know they are being held accountable via the PLT4M app as they log their workouts, and they like that. I am also able to make sure they are engaging by asking questions and following up with them.”
Past just the day to day feedback, Monte Vista actively seeks out feedback in the form of surveys and questionnaires to continue to support students as best as possible.
Looking Forward In The 2020-2021 School Year
Natalie and others are just starting to scratch the surface of what remote PE and PLT4M can look like with a long school year ahead. All signs are showing that Monte Vista is on the cutting edge of Physical Education for 2020. But this didn’t just happen overnight.
Monte Vista was able to take the guiding principles of their PE program, learn from what worked and what did not, and find supplemental resources to deliver quality curriculum and classes to their students.
Want to take a deeper dive? Check out the full conversation with Natalie, featured below.