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Q&A: McEwen uses adaptability to make BHS a more inclusive space

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself, who are you and what do you do here at the school?

A: My name is Sarah McEwen, I’m the adapted PE teacher and leadership program coordinator. I’ve taught here for nine years, and I am also a coordinator for Link Crew and a  sponsor for Best Buddies.”

Q: What led you to teach students, especially adapted P.E.?

A: At my previous school,  I saw the potential for my student-athletes to contribute even more if they could have a connection to a leadership opportunity, and it just so happened that a teaching section was open.  I brought the concept and structure to BHS.”

Q: What core values do you center your teaching strategy around, and why?

A: I strive for my students to have an environment to facilitate growth in all areas of life, especially those centered around communication, adaptability, and relationships.”

Q: What is your favorite way to solve problems when your lesson plans do not work out?

A: When small inconsistencies occur, I am able to adapt to it extremely quickly;, however, when new ideas are implemented and  a larger mishap takes place I will reflect afterwards, so that I can recreate and do it again to make it as effective for my students as possible.”

Q: What is notably different about Batavia’s adaptive PE program compared to those of other schools?

A: Block scheduling makes course placement difficult, so some students who wish to participate cannot. The range of student ability in our program is very diverse, so most accommodations have to be done in the moment.”

Q: How do you feel that adaptive PE programs across the country can be improved?

A: Awareness that disabilities, programs for students with disabilities, and leadership opportunities to work with people from an array of backgrounds exist.”

Q: Is there anything different you have planned for this year compared to past years?

A: This is only the second year that we’re incorporating art into our group, which has had amazing feedback from participants this year. This year we have been tying together best buddies and the leadership programs to provide a cohesive environment for both students with disabilities and students looking for environments to grow as leaders.”

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