ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. — For the fourth year, physical education students and faculty from St. Bonaventure University partnered with Bill Collins, director of training at Special Olympics New York, to present at a state conference.
The team presented at the New York State Association for Health Physical Education, Recreation and Dance Conference Nov. 14 and 15 at Turning Stone Convention Center. St. Bonaventure was represented by graduate assistant Tim Gallagher and members of the Physical Activity Club Leadership Team: Matthew Acquilano, Jessenia Andujar, Lauren Capotorto, Logan Dewe, Jessica Petruzzi, Ryan Winchip, Jillian Rowe, and faculty advisers Dr. Paula Scraba and Allison Barnes.
Most of the physical education students are student teaching or in field block at Allegany-Limestone Elementary School this year.
Their presentation was titled “Special Olympics Coach Education System: Inclusion Model For Physical Education.” Each student described a specific component of training others as certified Special Olympic Coaches, in addition to how they use Special Olympics Coaches training guides to develop soccer lesson plans for all students in their classes. In addition to the group presentation, Andujar was center stage Nov. 15 in a motivational program during the conference’s general session with Dr. Rob Gilbert of Montclair State University, one of the world’s leading experts on sports psychology.
Improving the performance and well being of students and athletes is based on the quality of physical education, sports training and experiences, explained Scraba. The Special Olympics Coaches Education System identifies basic standards and competencies and integrates those inclusive qualities into a physical education program for all students. In addition, the Special Olympics system is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Coaching Education.
The goal of Special Olympics’ school-based programs is to give students of all ability levels the chance to use their physical education experiences to participate in year round sports at no charge. This model also creates opportunities that enhance efforts to promote inclusion and acceptance among all students. Now, a new Young Athlete Program has been introduced as a base for an innovative sports play program assessment for preschool children and is used as part of SBU’s Kinder Kinetics program, which is held on campus in the spring semester.
Special Olympics New York CEO Neal Johnson, a St. Bonaventure alumnus, has been instrumental in collaborative programs with the university. New initiatives this spring include:
• Special Topics Course PHED 399F: “Leadership Through Special Olympics: Serving, Learning, Leading,” which is being offered on Tuesdays from 6 to 8:40 p.m.
• A unified basketball program that creates an inclusive environment where athletes with and without intellectual disabilities compete on the same team. Local schools will create unified basketball teams to compete at SBU Friday, April 19.
• Individual daylong clinics for Special Olympics athletes on Saturday, April 20, hosted by the university’s women’s and men’s basketball teams.
For additional information about any of the programs, email Dr. Paula J. Scraba at email@example.com.
About the University: Inspired for more than 150 years by the Catholic Franciscan values of individual dignity, community inclusiveness, and service, St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them.