McHenry High School physical education department scores second Blue Ribbon Award

The McHenry High School District 156 physical education department scored a repeat Blue Ribbon Award for excellence from the Illinois Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance after a yearlong effort to showcase the department's approach to educating the whole student.

District officials and physical education teachers and administrators received the Blue Ribbon Award plaque and banner during a Nov. 30 ceremony in Tinley Park where the association held its annual convention.

The award recognizes programs at both Upper Campus and Freshman Campus for innovative curriculum, consistent instruction, facility use, student involvement and more. This is the second time the PE department has earned the award.

"This award represents the incredible dedication and commitment of our PE staff in building one of the most innovative, inclusive, dynamic, and progressive physical education curriculums in the entire state," said Dr. Ryan McTague, superintendent of McHenry Community High School District 156.

In addition to the plaque and banner, McHenry High School's physical education department teachers will be invited to give a presentation about the department at an upcoming association conference.

Association officials look at several things when evaluating physical education programs for the Blue Ribbon, such as curriculum, instruction, facilities among other criteria. Evaluators cited the extensive use of technology in physical education programs and celebrations for student achievements and variety of options as examples of a strong program.

The PE department offers courses in Leadership, Adventure Education, Aquatic Fitness, Swimming Basics, Lifeguarding, Dance, Fitness for Life, Adaptive PE, Strength & Conditioning, and Team Sports.

Students at Freshman Campus have the opportunities to take introductory level courses before moving to advanced classes at Upper Campus.

"Teachers at MCHS prioritize creating a curriculum tailored to the diverse needs and interests of all students," said Jennifer Beattie, district division chair of physical education, health and driver education. "They take pride in fostering a positive learning environment and emphasize the importance of building strong relationships with their students."

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