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Finding The Good: Grooving to get moving

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ENDICOTT (WBNG) -- We know many of our local teachers have been going above and beyond for their students during the pandemic. But some are going as far as breaking a sweat.

For almost a year now, physical education teachers in the Union-Endicott School District have been moving and grooving all to keep their students active.

"It actually began at a P-E conference that I went to with my colleagues," explained Teresa McKinney, a Physical Education teacher at Union-Endicott "And one of the presenters was a group of male P-E teachers called the Dan-Sirs, and they talked about dancing is one way to get kids moving."

So in April of 2020, the teachers started hosting virtual dance parties, creating a fun way to engage with their students who were stuck at home.

"It was a way just to get the kids moving and smiling," explained McKinney "I loved it and I thought I could bring it back and recruit some P-E teachers to do it."

And that's exactly what she did.

"We just miss the kids so much and we just wanted them to know we care about them and wanted to get them moving at home."

Since it started, Ryan Hallenbeck, the Director of Physical Education & Athletic at U-E, says it's been a hit across the district.

"The community response has been fantastic. It turned into something much bigger than we expected, but the key to this was about making connections with the kids."

Hallenbeck also says it's been amazing to watch it grow in popularity with the students.

"They've grown to 75, to 100 kids now signing on each week and dancing."

And as the teachers will tell you, it's much more than just dancing with the students.

"It's just so neat to see that is made so many people happy," said McKinney "And that's what we wanted to do. We wanted to make them smile, let them know we care so much about them."

These virtual dance parties are now something many of the kids continue to look forward to each week.

"I love dancing!" said Lucy Salati, a 4th grader at AGM "It's one of my favorite things. It gets my heart beating!"

"It's just a fun way to motivate you, and it makes the day happier!" said Mora Dannibale, another 4th grader.

If you want, you can watch all of the U-E Physical Education Department virtual dance videos by checking out their YouTube page.

Scott Sasina

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