To kick off the 2021-2022 school year, UCLA Health Sound Body Sound Mind (SBSM) and Ready, Set, Gold! (RSG!) joined forces to offer a virtual orientation event for all teachers and administrators across their shared school network.
SBSM and RSG! first teamed up in 2008 when SBSM’s 10 year anniversary gala was attended by Olympians and Paralympians from the Ready, Set, Gold! program. Today, they are back working together to provide dedicated support for physical education programs in schools across Southern California. Between both organizations, teachers in over 30 school districts have access to tools and resources to promote better health and wellness for their students.
This inaugural event had three unique goals:
1) To encourage and motivate teachers at the start of the school year, particularly after a difficult year of remote learning
2) To provide a brief professional development session on the importance of inclusion and equity in physical education for students with disabilities
3) To share an overview of the resources offered by SBSM and RSG for schools and teachers
“The last year was extremely challenging, especially for our students and it was our educators who were there and ready to adjust to make sure no one was left behind,” said Michaela Reynolds, Director of Ready, Set, Gold! “During this event we celebrated these exceptional educators, their tremendous efforts over the pandemic, and the challenges that still continue today.”
John Naber, winner of 5 medals in the 1976 Olympic Games, kicked off the event with a welcome message to all attendees and looked back on his own experiences in sports growing up. He also shared a number of valuable takeaways and lessons learned from the last 18 months since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Following John’s introduction, 9-time Paralympian, Candace Cable, and disability artist/activist, Leroy Moore, had a conversation about their unique experiences with disabilities growing up and into adulthood. From a story about suing the school board to ensure equal access to mainstream education to a reflection on the value of a committed swim coach, both Candace and Leroy shared powerful stories meant to underscore the importance of promoting equity for all students with disabilities. A live Q&A with Candace and Leroy followed, allowing event attendees to ask specific questions and learn direct examples on how to create more inclusive opportunities for their PE classrooms.
This short yet powerful professional development session marked the first time RSG! and SBSM offered resources on the importance of inclusion. Moving forward, both organizations are committed to a greater focus on increasing professional development opportunities for physical education teachers.
Attendees then joined dedicated breakout rooms to learn about the 2021-2022 programming plans from each organization. Here, teachers were able to speak directly with staff members from RSG! and SBSM and explore the various resources available to them.
Moving forward, UCLA Health Sound Body Sound Mind and Ready, Set, Gold! have a shared vision to work together and ensure school physical education programs are supported so youth in Southern California have equal and equitable opportunities to be active.