Press Release


Minooka School District 201 Physical Education Teacher Nationally Recognized for Educating Students on Heart Disease

RESTON, VA, February 28, 2018 — Amy Vlcek, a physical education teacher at Jones Elementary School in the Minooka School District 201 will be nationally recognized among her colleagues for her commitment to educating students and families in the greater Joliet area on the importance of heart health. Vlcek is receiving a Jump Rope For Heart/Hoops For Heart (JRFH/HFH) Recognition Award from SHAPE America – Society of Health and Physical Educators. JRFH/HFH are educational fund development programs co-sponsored by SHAPE America and the American Heart Association.

The national award is given to a SHAPE America member who is a JRFH/HFH coordinator and demonstrates commitment, leadership, and creative involvement to the programs and to the national nonprofit membership association. The funds raised go toward cardiovascular disease and stroke research and health education. The programs promote physical education and are shining examples of 50 Million Strong by 2029, SHAPE America’s national commitment to empower all children to lead healthy and active lives through effective health and physical education programs.

The organization will honor Vlcek on March 22 during the Professional Excellence Ceremony during its National Convention & Expo in Nashville, March 20-24. The award-winning educator will have hosted her 12th annual Heart Month event this February, during American Heart Month.

The JRFH program directly speaks to the heart of Vlcek’s educational philosophy to foster a love of learning, develop healthy bodies and minds, establish lifelong compassion for others, and to promote positive attitudes towards a lifetime of physical activity.

“My heart and soul is poured into our Jump Rope for Heart event each and every year,” says Vlcek, a JRFH coordinator at Jones Elementary for the past nine years in the Minooka School District 201. Despite 25 percent of her students coming from low-income families, her enthusiasm for teaching kids to live a heart-healthy lifestyle along with support from school leaders has resulted in students raising more than $30,000.

The national award winner has been known to incorporate fun incentives to engage students, including flips across the gym and turning into an ice cream sundae when students reached their goal!

Assistant Principal Sarah Monroe says, “speaking to the community culture Amy has built, our gym is packed with more than 100 volunteers including parents, friends of students and staff members running stations and eagerly cheering students on during our school’s signature Heart Month event.” “Her enthusiasm is simply contagious.”

In addition to JRFH, cardiovascular health is a staple of Vlcek’s PE program. She makes it a point to infuse daily jumping rope lessons as well as teach a dedicated unit on the circulatory system shortly after Heart Month.

Some of her recent honors include recognition as Illinois JRFH School of the Year in 2017 and a special feature in the Illinois Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (IAHPERD) state news publication and in SHAPE America’s The Pulse national newsletter.

The physical educator is a member of both SHAPE America and IAHPERD.

Vlcek received her bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University and went on to receive her master’s degree as a reading specialist from Olivet Nazarene University.

For more information about SHAPE America’s National Convention & Expo, visit the website and follow the hashtag #SHAPENashville.


About SHAPE America
SHAPE America – Society of Health and Physical Educators is the nation’s largest membership organization of health and physical education professionals. Since its founding in 1885, the organization has defined excellence in physical education, and our National Standards for K-12 Physical Education serve as the foundation for well-designed physical education programs across the country. We provide programs, resources and advocacy to support health and physical educators at every level, from preschool to university graduate programs.

SHAPE America has 50 state affiliates and is a founding partner of national initiatives such as the Presidential Youth Fitness Program, Active Schools (formerly Let’s Move! Active Schools) and the Jump Rope For Heart/Hoops For Heart programs. “50 Million Strong by 2029” is our commitment to put all children on the path to health and physical literacy through effective health and physical education programs. For more information, visit

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