Stacey Turkington, Adapted Physical Education at RSU 14 serving the Sebago Lakes communities of Windham and Raymond has received the the Maine Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (MAHPERD) 2021 Richard H. Bartlett Adapted Physical Education (APE) Award.
Stacey has been providing adapted physical education for students for 17 of her 22 years with RSU 14. In these years she has thoughtfully prepared appropriate modification of traditional physical education (PE) activities and equipment adjustments for those with a disability so they can partake in the traditional PE classroom. Stacey has provided these services with genuine care and concern, all the while putting the student first.
Her nurturing approach was recently recognized when she was nominated anonymously for the annual Dr. Richard H. Bartlett Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award. Between the anonymous recommendation and a letter of endorsement by Principal Dr. Kyle Rhoades of Windham Primary School, Stacey was chosen as this year’s winner.
“Countless learners from our district have benefitted from Stacey’s hard work and gentle touch,” Dr. Rhoades said in his letter. “When observing her with children, you know they want to work with her because of how she presents herself. Learners feel this confidence and grow from the safe feeling created.”
Stacey believes that being physically active is imperative to a student’s overall health and it is for this reason she puts heart and soul into her work – and into the students she works alongside.
To develop quality programs for her students, Stacey starts with observing a student ideally in their regular Physical Education class, at recess, with PT/OT therapists, and/or in their classroom. After reflection on the data collected, she shares her results with the student’s IEP team to determine the best program for each student. Stacey continually checks in to ensure the program developed is meeting the student’s needs and completes an assessment at the end of the year. While Stacey’s focus is quality APE programming, she doesn’t take credit for all her learners’ success because in her words “in the long run, it is actually a team approach.” Working with learners with disabilities involves so much more than just teaching. It involves a lot of human development research and medical advancements. Stacey is constantly learning new techniques and adding more and more tools to her toolbox.
“Running from school to school can take its toll and I must admit that there are challenging days,” says Stacey. “But it is the passion that keeps me going – that and the love for the kids. What I love the most about my job is that I have the pleasure of working with students from primary school to post-graduation. I get to work with most students from the age of 5 and watch them grow until the age of 21 when they age out of the program. It is an honor to work with these students and it is the most rewarding job EVER!”
Maine Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (MAHPERD) Honor Awards are presented to MAHPERD members in recognition of their excellence to their profession by demonstrating outstanding dedication to their students and profession. To learn more about MAHPERD visit maineahperd.org.