The Season of Giving with Mr. Mike Pelloni
Mr. Mike Pelloni, Rowan Elementary/Evans City Elementary Health/Physical Education Teacher
Mike Pelloni is in his sixth year as a health/physical education teacher at Rowan Elementary and Evans City Elementary Schools. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from Penn State University and a Master of Education in Physical Education from Slippery Rock University. Prior to his time at Seneca Valley, he has also taught the importance of health at South Butler County School District, Knoch High School and Middle School, Ambridge High School, and South Morrison Elementary in Virginia. In addition to teaching the importance of physical activity, sports skills, and sportsmanship, Mr. Pelloni implements a diverse curriculum based on locomotor, non-locomotor, agility, balance, and coordination, fine and gross motor skills through various physical activities and games.
IN THIS EPISODE, WE WILL REVIEW
•How Seneca Valley Foundation (SVF) funds extra needs in the classroom
•Why the SVF donation was so valuable
•How the donation impacted students
•What teachers, parents, students and community members would benefit from knowing about SVF
Episode 50 - Mike Pelloni
File Name: Voices E50 Mike Pelloni.mp3
File Length: 00:11:09
FULL TRANSCRIPT (with timecode)
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Introduction: Welcome to Voices, a National Award-winning podcast brought to you by the Seneca Valley School District.
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Jeff Krakoff: This is Jeff Krakoff. I am with Mike Pelloni, who's a physical education teacher at Rowan Elementary and Evan City. Mike, thanks for joining us today.
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Mike Pelloni: Thank you for having me.
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Jeff Krakoff: So we're working on a short series of just really good stories. We're calling this season of giving, and it revolves around the Seneca Valley Foundation because they do so much to help so many different people. And I understand in in your area you are in need and the Foundation was able to help you. So tell me a little bit about what what's going on there.
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Mike Pelloni: So I've come up with an idea that I thought to be beneficial for my first through fourth grade to understand the value of health and fitness and physical activity and exercise. And you know, instead of just telling them and them trying to understand, I thought it would be a good idea for them to actually have Fitbits. And in doing so, they could they could actually learn what being in their target heart rate is and in understanding how many steps it takes in order to get a mile.
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Mike Pelloni: And we would do that in class and then we talk about it afterwards and and
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Mike Pelloni: and, you know, apply what we were doing to real-life situations. You know, it's something that I think that, you know, you think about with high schoolers mostly, you know, maybe middle school, but something the elementary school, I thought, you know, why not learn at a younger age? So. So, you know, I didn't know where to start with it to be honest with you. But it's a it's an uphill climb. So I asked some parents, I asked. You know, I went through a website.
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Mike Pelloni: Talk more about that, but the website was Change.org, and I figured maybe that the Rowan Elementary PTA and parents could possibly help
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Mike Pelloni: You know, fund funded a little bit, you know, with some interest.
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Jeff Krakoff: OK, so let me ask you, do many of your elementary students already have a Fitbit or a tracking device? I would imagine? Probably not, right?
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Mike Pelloni: Yeah, I mean, there were a few, you know, they find some kids with some Apple Watches and, you know, kids show me, do I have to wear this? I have my own. And yeah, there were a few. Not many, not many. You'd be surprised to see how many kids have phones nowadays, by the way.
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Jeff Krakoff: Right? All right. Yeah, earlier and earlier ages. So how many Fitbits were on your wish list and how many did end up purchasing?
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Mike Pelloni: There were there were about 250 Fitbits,
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Mike Pelloni: and I was trying to get one for every kid in the school. Then the idea of the start was to get one for every kid in the school, then for the fourth graders to actually
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Mike Pelloni: be able to take it home with them and then have it for, you know, for recreation and use when they needed it.
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Jeff Krakoff: Right. What a great tool. So tell me how you got connected with the Seneca Valley Foundation and how they were able to help.
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Mike Pelloni: So I had no idea about the Seneca Valley Foundation, to be honest with you.
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Mike Pelloni: So, you know, I. I needed a little bit more money. It seemed like that, you know, things were kind of coming to a stop with with the donations from the parents and community.
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Mike Pelloni: But to my surprise,
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Mike Pelloni: I came into school and I see Dr. Vitale, I see and a bunch of people that she's with him
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Mike Pelloni: and they present me with with money from the Seneca Valley Foundation.
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Mike Pelloni: And they ended up paying off the rest of the Fitbits.
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Jeff Krakoff: That's incredible.
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Mike Pelloni: So it it really it really was incredible. It was. But it made my year that it almost had me in tears, and I was I was super excited and overcome with emotions, to be honest with you. I was just impressed that that, you know, the support you have from the school and the value that they see in what you're doing. I was it was it was something that I just wasn't used to.
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Jeff Krakoff: Yeah. So you had support from parents, you had support from the Foundation. What percentage of the cost of Fitbit's roughly was covered by the Foundation?
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Mike Pelloni: I'd say is pretty close to 20 percent.
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Jeff Krakoff: So you got a lot of support outside of that.
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Mike Pelloni: A lot of support. You know, I think there were quite a few people here. I do remember, you know, for example, like I had no idea, but Fun Fore All, you know, was was part of the support that helped fund
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Mike Pelloni: the remaining amount.
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Jeff Krakoff: OK.
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Jeff Krakoff: So what kinds of things are you doing with the Fitbit, exactly, with your students?
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Mike Pelloni: So when they come to class, they make sure they're charged, obviously, then we, you know, they put them on and make sure they're on correct and we will whatever activity we're doing for that day, will we'll.
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Mike Pelloni: We'll keep them on and we'll track it, and then at the end, the class will sit and we'll talk and we'll see how many steps they've taken and and how many miles they've gone and what their heart rate was at the end of class. And we'll discuss, you know, what your heart rate should be during exercise or during rest. And and you know what's you know what it shouldn't be too high, and we'll talk about the steps and how many steps are in a mile and so on and so forth and how far they've gone that day. The kids find it really interesting and really informative.
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Mike Pelloni: You know, it's such a young age. I think it's just it's just a great asset to have.
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Jeff Krakoff: Right. What a what a great way to start at a young age tracking activity levels. Are they tracking calorie input and things like that too, or mostly just steps and heart rate?
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Mike Pelloni: Well, on the the Fitbit watch there's, you know, there's calories, there's steps, there's distance. You know, there's there's target heart rate. So we'll do whatever that that interests them, to be honest with you. I mean, they get excited really at this age, they get really excited about how many steps they took in a class and how many miles they actually went, and they didn't realize their heart rate can go that high and what that means when their heart's beating so fast. So it's really fun and enjoyable.
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Jeff Krakoff: So does anybody in the class get competitive and start comparing steps with one another? Or are you seeing any of that?
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Mike Pelloni: Oh yeah, they're always talking to each other. I got more steps than you. My heart rate was higher than yours. Yeah.
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Jeff Krakoff: So what kind of feedback are you getting from the students and or their parents of having access to this great tool?
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Mike Pelloni: Everything's positive. Everything, everything's been positive. Haven't seen much from the parents, but the kids, you know, they come in and they're really excited. They want they want them, they want the kids on there like, you know, so every class, every class, we don't use them, every class. But for the majority of time we do. So when we don't have them there, they're always asking about them.
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Jeff Krakoff: OK, so if the Seneca Valley Foundation hadn't been able to step in and help get over the hump, what would have happened?
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Mike Pelloni: It's a great question.
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Mike Pelloni: I don't know. I'd like to think that that, you know, the parents would have stepped up or even maybe my administration down here. I'm sure I got great support from from my principal Nam Farmer. And
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Mike Pelloni: I'd like to think that that happened. But they, you know, they they just came in and Seneca Valley Foundation just finished it up like, you know, just like that. So we didn't have to deal with that.
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Jeff Krakoff: Great. Well, it's it's good. Good to know. We will never have to ask that question because it's done so. What was the process like dealing with the Foundation? Was it simple? Was it complex? Walk us through that.
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Mike Pelloni: Oh, a simple. Like I said, they came in and they they they gave me a check. I actually have it. It's it's on the back wall. Yeah, I save it for a memory of the support that you get because you don't have that everywhere. But we we went into the gym and with all the members there and Dr. Vitale and we took a picture with the students and us holding the check and.
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Mike Pelloni: It was it was it was easy, it was really easy.
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Jeff Krakoff: Well, that's good to hear. So if you could share something with your parents and other teachers that would be in the community about the Foundation and the role it plays in the District and how it helped you and your students, what would just what would you tell them?
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Mike Pelloni: Well, I would tell the teachers that if they have something that is supportive to the students, but they're hesitant on, maybe, you know, putting it out there because of maybe funding or money that, you know, just to put it out there anyway. Because for some reason, the Seneca Valley Foundation found out about what I was doing and whether that was obviously there was word of mouth somewhere they did know about it. And so, you know, if you have a great idea, don't be afraid to put it into fruition.
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Mike Pelloni: But, you know, to the community members that there's a there is a Foundation that exists at Seneca Valley School District that is that is fantastic and that, you know, big businesses, small businesses, parents can be a part of and, you know, make great memories for teachers and students.
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Jeff Krakoff: Right. Now, I'm curious, did you already have a Fitbit or a tracker before this process started?
00:10:22:29 - 00:10:44:18
Mike Pelloni: I didn't have a Fitbit. I did have an Apple Watch, and I do try to, you know, watch my my rate whenever I do activity or how many steps I'm getting in a day. It's kind of like addictive, you know, that tells you you don't have as many steps as you did before. So you're trying to always beat the steps that they have prior. So.
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Introduction: Right. That's great. So you're actually leading by example to your students and tracking and leading a healthy lifestyle. So. Thanks so much. That was a great story. That was Mike Pelloni, physical education teacher. Again, thanks for joining us today.
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Mike Pelloni: Thank you so much for having me.
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Jeff Krakoff: All right. Take care.
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Mike Pelloni: You, too.