Continuing Studies Adds Health and Physical Education Concentration to Master Program

It’s a licensure pathway but also a way to hone skills.

Concordia’s Faculty Senate just approved a concentration in health and physical education for the Master of Education program — filling an immediate need for students who want to teach physical education.

“This is a new pathway to initial licensure for health and physical education in our teaching and learning graduate program,” said Dr. Darrell Stolle, chair/professor of education. “It came about because of multiple inquiries from potential students with undergraduate degrees that were close to the health and physical education majors but didn’t qualify for licensure.” 

The program, which has been submitted to PELSB (Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board), will be mainly an online program with synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities.

Dr. Cassandra Glynn, director of graduate education, said it’s a specialized master’s program for current health and PE teachers but also a new licensure pathway for new teachers. “Practicing PE/health teachers can use this master’s to hone their skills with courses that focus on their specific field but, if they are prospective PE/health teachers, they can take additional coursework that can lead to licensure.”

“The courses are all approved, and we’ll start teaching two of them this summer,” Glynn added. “The licensure piece is the one that will still need to be approved.”

Dr. Kristen Ford, associate professor of education, said Concordia has a long-standing tradition of developing quality educators. “We are eager to share that we are able to provide both a specialized master’s program as well as a physical education and/or health licensure option. Additionally, practicing health and physical educators can also take these courses as non-degree-seeking students if they just want to take the course but do not need the degree or licensure. We have viable options for everyone at any point of their career.”

Ford also added that the content-specific portion of the program takes a deep dive into all things health and physical education by focusing on the WHO, WHAT, and the HOW of teaching. For example, they’ll:

  • review and implement the research that supports best and better practices 

  • consistently find ways to establish and reinforce a positive class culture and climate (by helping K-12 students feel that they belong and that a health and physical education classroom is a safe place to be and learn)

  • dissect the national initiatives and find ways to incorporate them at a local level

  • focus on the professional organizations that support the field and the corresponding standards for each content area 

  • research practices that help K-12 students make their learning visible through appropriate forms of assessment

  • research and design quality lessons and engaging activities that support learning for ALL students 

  • ultimately, strive to support the educator as they learn how to integrate or refine health and physical literacy practices

Groups of three or more from a school or district can join the Master of Education program together and receive a discount as a cohort; the discount increases depending on the number of teachers in the group. They can break off into different concentrations, making it possible that a PE/health teacher seeking the new concentration could come in from the same school with two other teachers seeking the teaching and learning concentration. All three would get the discount.

Those looking to learn more can get started here.