McHenry High School physical education teacher John Beerbower, who serves as director of the strength and conditioning program in McHenry High School District 156, is being recognized with two awards for helping to improve a popular program that has become a model for other high schools.
Beerbower – who also is the assistant divisional chairman for health, physical education and driver’s education – was named Educator of the Year by the Illinois Computing Educators during a recent statewide conference.
He also was named Teacher of the Year by the Veterans of Foreign Wars regional district, which is made up of 19 posts in the northern and northwest suburbs.
Both awards recognize Beerbower’s work to integrate technology into the strength and conditioning program. Students use iPads to track workouts and keep data, along with individual heart rate monitors to help them stay in their target heart rate zone.
Beerbower and other physical education teachers are able to compare the data with students’ SAT scores.
They have found that the better conditioned a student is physically, the more likely it is that the student does well on the SAT.
“It’s not just the use of the technology, but it was the data gathered from that,” said Amber Heffner, executive director of Illinois Computing Educators, an affiliate of International Society for Technology in Education.
Beerbower was selected from 50 nominees statewide.
McHenry VFW Post 4600 Cmdr. Dwane Lungren said Beerbower’s work has made the strength and conditioning program a model for other schools.
“He’s a leader,” Lungren said.
In the past two years, teachers and administrators from about 30 other schools have come to McHenry to see the program firsthand.
In the fall, Beerbower gave a presentation at a conference for the National High School Strength Coaches Association, which was hosted in McHenry.
Beerbower, who has been in McHenry for 14 years, said the awards wouldn’t have been possible without the support of other teachers and administrators.
“It was an honor to receive the awards, but the real honor is the opportunity to work with our great students and colleagues on a daily basis,” Beerbower said. “Education is all about the relationships.”