2017 Healthy School Hero: Scott Williams
Physical Education Teacher (K-5), Meriwether Lewis School
PE Teacher Scott Williams likes to move it, and he’s on a mission to share his enthusiasm not only with his students at Meriwether Lewis School (MLS) in Charlottesville, Virginia, but with all kids in Albemarle County.
Shortly after he first started teaching physical education at MLS in 2004, Williams introduced a “Morning Movers” program to provide early morning movement opportunities for students in every classroom, leading into morning announcements. He created a YouTube channel, MLSPE, and began recruiting other male staff members to tape fun “Men of Meriwether” dance and exercise videos that teachers could play in their classrooms. Soon, students wanted to choreograph their own activity-break dances, and eventually other teachers and alumni got in on the action as well. Williams continues to share the best creations on the MLSPE channel, which now features more than 60 videos that PE and classroom teachers throughout Albemarle County Schools and beyond can use to get kids moving and having fun in the morning or anytime during the school day.
Williams has spearheaded other initiatives to encourage movement as well, from Early Bird PE to Family Dance Night to FAST Times, a program that brings local schools together for physical activity field trips. He also started a Fitness and Nutrition Team at MLS, which brings in fitness, nutrition and wellness practitioners from the community to share their knowledge with students. The team has held annual health fairs since 2010 and wellness weeks since 2011, and is currently planning its 8th annual health fair, with stations addressing physical activity, healthy snacks, and mental and social wellness.
And Williams doesn’t take a vacation when school’s out for the summer. He founded Camp4Real, a summer day camp for students in Albemarle County. Staffed by PE teachers, coaches and a nutrition consultant, the camp emphasizes healthy living through physical activity and organic or all-natural foods. Williams is looking to expand the business to other schools.
Williams is passionate about spreading the word about physical education, dance and movement in the classroom as a presenter and keynote speaker at physical education conferences across the country—an extension of his work that he finds satisfying. At the end of the day, however, it’s all about his students.
“The most rewarding aspect of my work is hearing stories from parents about the kids taking what they’ve learned in Camp4Real or PE and driving change at home,” he says.