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[Weekly Inspiration] Student Wellness: The Great Equalizer

[Weekly Inspiration] Student Wellness: The Great Equalizer

For Judy LoBianco, the PreK-12 health, physical education, and nursing services supervisor for the South Orange-Maplewood district in New Jersey, physical education is about more than shooting basketballs. She recently gave a keynote speech for EdWeek where she talked about the power of physical education in 2019.

“In health and physical education, we believe that what’s fundamental to all of our educational issues is a child with a beating heart and air breathing through their lungs,” said LoBianco to a room full of educators. “Without your health, there just is nothing else, and there’s no way that we can tackle all the educational issues in America and beyond without making sure we take care of the whole child.”

In 2019, LoBianco is happy to say that health and physical education has finally taken its place at the table with the rest of the world’s educators. Physical education, she argues, has a unique and critical role in the growth of students.

LoBianco feels that physical education is about more than just building confidence in athletes, and that physical education is critical for everyone. That’s why her classes focus on equity, diversity, inclusion, mindfulness, teamwork, conflict resolution, and other social-emotional skills. She wants her students to learn about how their body moves, to feel comfortable being who they are.

“We want kids to walk out of a health classroom knowing how to self-advocate,” she explains. “We want them to analyze their influences. We want them to know how to make healthy decisions. We want them to be able to find valid and reliable sources of information.”

LoBianco’s lessons about making sure every child feels valued and loved can extend far beyond the gymnasium. Check out the video here, and a read full profile of LoBianco on EdWeek.