Washtenaw ISD Teacher Named 2023 Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year


Adapted PE teacher Delia Powell teaching how to throw a football. photo courtesy of the WISD

From the WISD:

Washtenaw County, Mich. – Washtenaw Intermediate School District (WISD) teacher Delia Powell was named 2023 Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year by the Society of Health and Physical Educations (SHAPE) Michigan. Powell is the Adapted Physical Education Teacher for High Point School serving students with severe and multiple disabilities from across Washtenaw County.

Adapted physical education (APE) provides specialized instruction in physical education for students with disabilities. It recognizes that students with disabilities have different strengths and abilities, and then provides physical education instruction in a way that allows them to fully engage in the activity. Adapted physical education helps students improve their physical and motor fitness, fundamental motor skills and patterns, skills in individual and group games and sports, and activities including intramural and lifetime sports.

Adapted PE teacher Delia Powell. photo courtesy of the WISD

“Delia’s passion and energy for adapted physical education is contagious. She provides a wealth of opportunities for students with disabilities, both in and out of the classroom, and we are proud of her recognition as Adapted Teacher of the Year,” shared WISD Superintendent Naomi Norman.

In her fifth year at WISD, Delia Powell never expected to be an APE teacher. “I never went into teaching originally to become an APE teacher. I just wanted to make sure that I could teach all students with all abilities.” Through her graduate studies, Powell met students and staff who opened her eyes to the world of adapted physical education, and now she wishes more people knew that students with disabilities are more than just a label. “Our students have their favorite games, and they like to have fun. They’re hard workers who like to be social and make friends. I light up when students participate in activities in their own special way and have fun doing it. I love when I see the excitement in their eyes and smiles.”

Adapted PE teacher Delia Powell and students warming up for class. photo courtesy of the WISD

Powell hopes to continue creating meaningful experiences for students that they can then carry into their everyday lives. “My vision is that our students will have more opportunities to participate with their general education peers in school or out in their communities,” shared Powell. “My goal is for our students to live a healthy and happy lifestyle through physical activity and healthy lifestyle choices. They can do most anything others can do – they just might do it a little different.”

Washtenaw Intermediate School District (WISD) is the educational service agency for
Washtenaw County, Michigan, serving nine public school districts and the public school
academies in the greater Ann Arbor region. WISD provides special education student programs
and early childhood programs from birth through age 26, plus an array of services to the
community and local schools, including: Special education leadership and coordination, special
education student programming, early childhood services, technology support, business and
human resources assistance, cradle-to-career community partnerships, and teacher and staff
professional development. For more information, visit www.washtenawisd.org.

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