Founded in 1926, the Society of State Leaders of Health, Physical Education and Recreation is a national organization comprised of individuals employed in state and territorial departments of education who have program responsibilities in school health education, physical education and related areas.
The Society has a strong tradition of providing leadership at the state and national levels. In the early years of its existence, the Society led the effort to encourage appointments of directors of health, physical education and recreation in every state. The Society also played a vital role in shaping a national agenda for fitness and was instrumental in the establishment of the President's Council on Youth Fitness in 1956, now known as the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.
Over the years, the Society actively participated with national organizations such as the President's Council and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education to support quality school physical education programs. In the early 1990s, the Society collaborated with other national organizations to develop National Standards for Physical Education and assisted in their dissemination to local school districts. The Society also participated in the development of the Healthy People 2000: Health Objectives for the Nation which included important goals for school physical education and health education.
During the late 1980s and the 1990s, school health education positions in state departments of education increased substantially due to federally-funded programs created by the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act of 1986 administered by the U.S. Department of Education, and by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's program for Comprehensive School Health Education to Prevent the Spread of HIV/AIDS and Other Important Health Problems Among School-age Youth. The Society's membership increased as a result of the additional positions. The Society provided a forum for these new leaders to learn, share and grow professionally.
The Society also contributed to national health education initiatives including the development of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, the National Health Education Standards published in 1995 and a state collaborative project to develop student assessment in health education. Additionally, the Society contributed to the writing of Health Is Academic: A Guide to Developing Coordinated School Health Programs, published in 1998.
In 1997, the Society convened representatives of four national organizations and a federal agency to author a consensus statement regarding the use of available health education and physical education resources. The statement, Putting the Pieces Together, encouraged professionals to use national standards, guidelines and assessment documents to implement quality school health education and physical education programs.
The Society remains positioned to continue its leadership role to ensure that the nations children and youth receive the most effective education possible to enable them to lead healthy, active and productive lives.
The Society's 90th Celebration Gathering October 5, 2017
Past Society Presidents