Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Literacy and Fine Arts School has received a Blue Ribbon award from the Illinois Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. The award recognizes excellent physical education programs in Illinois. Fewer than 30 schools have received the award.

“This is a great achievement and speaks to the teachers’ level of commitment and ongoing dedication,” said Rebecca Langan, a King Lab parent. “At a school where we have a K-8 population with a variety of needs and interests, this PE team works hard to get all the kids involved every day. This is a tough job and our school community is so proud.

“What strikes me most is this PE department, the staff is truly committed to athletics and personal fitness,” Ms. Langan continued. “They are great role models and provide a lot of personal attention to each child, and they encourage each child to rise to his or her own challenge. They have the idea of the ‘just right challenge.’ In the four years I’ve been here, it’s really transformed.”

Coach Jessica Springer told the RoundTable, “What really makes it great here is that we have three great PE teachers, myself, Emir Metovic and Kristin Hendricks. We really gel together and are really passionate about what we do, passionate about the kids and passionate about fitness in our own lives. I think the kids can see that. The other part is we have a faculty that backs us in everything we do.”

When asked if the PE team tries to incorporate students with disabilities into the program, Ms. Springer said, “There’s no try. They are fully incorporated in PE. If you walk into my class, you would have trouble picking out who those students were.”