SHAPE America is proud to collaborate with the Send a Teacher fundraising initiative to help send teachers to the SHAPE America National Convention & Expo in Tampa! This initiative was created by SHAPE America member and 2017 National Health Education Teacher of the Year, Andy Milne. Andy has been teaching health and physical education since 1994, first in London, England, and now in Chicago, IL where he has spent the past seven years teaching at New Trier High School. We recently interviewed Andy about his Send a Teacher T-Shirt Project, to learn more about this initiative.
What inspired you to start the Send a Teacher T-Shirt project?
My school’s administration encourages teachers to seek out professional development and sends us to conferences with their blessing. I have been fortunate to present across the states, and the more that I network at conferences and on social media, the more I realize that there are many teachers who have restricted access to professional development due to a lack of funding. This is what inspired me to create this project, with the aim of raising sufficient funds to cover the registration for one teacher to the SHAPE America National Convention in Boston. Teachers will be selected in March from submissions to our "Send a Teacher" scholarship application form
When did you begin the project and what success has it had so far?
I started the initiative in 2016 and raised sufficient funds to support two Boston Public School teachers in attending the national conference. We did the same the following year and sent two Nashville public school teachers to the national convention in Nashville. Additionally, in 2017 we raised $500 with our #HoustonStrong efforts, helping an elementary school rebuild their PE department after Hurricane Harvey destroyed their school. We also supported two GoFundMe campaigns and paid for the SHAPE America membership for a number of teachers. We are already on target to cover the registration fees to send at least two more teachers to #SHAPETampa in April 2019. You can find more on these efforts on my blog site, www.slowchathealth.com
How can people support the initiative to help send teachers to convention?
You can support the initiative by purchasing the T-shirts, posting pictures of you wearing the shirt, spreading the word on social media using the hashtag #sendateacher, and encouraging others to assist a teacher who would not otherwise have the opportunity to attend #SHAPETampa. Check out our new T-shirt design "Health & PE for Every Body" now available through SHAPE America or at www.sendateacher.com
, and search #sendateacher on Twitter to see images of teachers wearing the shirts!
Why did you select the national convention as the conference to send teachers to?
The SHAPE America National Convention & Expo
provides outstanding professional development. There is no better opportunity to get ideas, learn skills, and find new ways to motivate and empower your students. Educators and stakeholders share examples of successful advocacy campaigns, activities, and lessons learned, and give you access to free resources to support your program and students. Teachers of the Year, experienced presenters, and dynamic educators offer sessions on standards-based instruction and assessments that will help your students develop physical and health literacy skills. It’s amazing!
What else does national convention provide to make teachers better?
How often do you get to invest in YOU? Getting away from it all and surrounding yourself with professional development opportunities is so rewarding. Aside from earning contact hours or CEU credits, it’s an inspiring event that offers the most amazing networking opportunities.
What do you hope this project will mean for teachers in the field?
The teachers and their students who benefit from the Send a Teacher funds will have an opportunity that would typically be out of reach for them. However, the initiative has already inspired at least one state AHPERD to set up their own campaign. It would be amazing if similar projects existed within each state.
What is your vision for the upcoming SHAPE America campaign and the future of the project?
I appreciate the opportunity to work with the support of SHAPE America to widen the reach and increase the impact of the campaign. However, if I had to stand on my soapbox and give a ‘call to action,’ it would be directed at school administrators and budget holders: invest in your teachers! Every teacher deserves a supportive administration that pays them well and provides them with regular professional development. Without these things you run the risk of losing educators from our profession.