University of Wisconsin-La Crosse |

Exercise and Sport Science

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  • Physical Education Teaching

    UW-La Crosse has been a state and national leader in preparing physical education teachers for decades. Our graduates, certifiable to teach kindergarten through high school, teach in all 50 states and several foreign countries. Study is broad based, with emphasis on motor skills, fitness, scientific principles, teaching strategies, and program development. 

    The UWL program balances traditional, individual and fitness activities with non-traditional physical education activities such as backpacking, ropes courses, and rock climbing. This balance provides students with numerous experiences to enhance their professional development. Because of its exceptional quality, the UW System has identified this program as a Center of Excellence, a designation reserved for high quality undergraduate programs.


    Our vision is to be the preeminent national leader in the preparation of physical education teachers in a society where all persons enjoy, regularly participate in, understand the benefits of, and advocate for physical activity for lifelong healthy living.


    We strive to achieve our vision by … preparing reflective  physical education teachers who integrate their content knowledge  with an understanding of developmental  characteristics in all learning domains to create, organize, manage, improve, and assess learning  for diverse  groups of students, and to communicate, motivate, and advocate  for lifelong physical activity for healthy living.  These globally responsive professionals are leaders  in their communities who bridge the gap between theory and evidence-based  practice through extensive clinical preparation in partnership schools.  They are personally committed to physical activity in their lifestyles , partake in continuous professional development , and collaboratively plan and implement standards-based  physical activity interventions using a variety of pedagogies and technologies  that are learner-centered .

    Career Opportunities

    Numerous career options are available for graduates of the Physical Education Teaching Program. Public and private school teaching and coaching positions are the primary employment options for graduates. Business organizations and the U.S. military also employ physical educators. Our bachelor's degree provides a solid foundation for graduate education and advanced work in physical education and other related fields.


    Our placement record has been excellent. Even during periods of oversupply, UWL graduates have experienced greater success in the job search than those from other schools. Our graduates are highly regarded by school districts and placement has been outstanding throughout the past decade.

    For additional information, please contact the Program Director.


    Amy Tischler, Ph.D. 
    Physical Education Teaching Program Director 
    216 Mitchell Hall 
    University of Wisconsin-La Crosse 
    1725 State Street 
    La Crosse, WI 54601 



     Application deadlines are the first Friday of October, January, February and June (4:00 p.m.)

    1. Submit entire application folder to Dr. Amy Tischler, PETE Program Director, 216 Mitchell Hall. Leave application folder in Dr. Tischler's mailbox outside of her office.
    2. Clearly label and assemble the following items, in the order they are listed, in a standard pocket folder:
      • Current Resume:  Including personal and contact information, (i.e., name, local address, home phone, cell phone and UWL email address), major/minor/concentration, and any work related experience and professional involvement
      • Health Related Fitness assessment pretest, individual fitness plan, posttest, follow up reflection, and rubric completed by ESS 118 instructor
      • Leadership Experience Reflection Paper
    3. After review of your application folder (approximately two weeks following submission of application folder), candidates meeting minimum criteria will be contacted via email to arrange the interview portion of the application process.
    4. Admission decisions will be sent to students via email within one month following the application deadline.
    5. The College of SAH Dean's Office will be notified of candidates approved for admission and will formally admit students to the School of Education as ESS - Physical Education Teaching Majors
    Admission to the PETE Program is competitive, and not all who apply can be accommodated.  All students meeting the minimum requirements are not guaranteed admission to the program.

    Application Requirements and Points Distribution

    1. Completion of Foundation Courses - Students must earn a C or better in each course.
      • ESS 112 Fundamentals of Movement
      • ESS 118 Introduction to the Physical Education Teaching Profession
      • ESS 225 Introduction to Physical Education Teaching Methodology
      • BIO 100 or 105 or MIC 100
      • HPR 105 Creating a Healthy, Active Lifestyle
    2. Completion of 30 college credits
    3. GPA and Praxis Core Test 
      1. Minimum 2.75 Overall GPA is required to apply for the program  and must be maintained throughout the program

      2. Praxis Core Test Required Scores
        1. Reading: 156
        2. Math: 150
        3. Writing: 162

    4. Health Related Physical Fitness Assessment and Reflection Paper 
      Students will complete a fitness pretest (flexibility, pacer run, push-ups, curl-ups, body mass index, and trunk lift), develop an individual fitness plan to improve or maintain their personal fitness levels over one semester, complete a fitness posttest, and write a reflection indicating their commitment to maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle as a role model for future students. This entire process will be completed while enrolled in ESS 118.  The instructor of ESS 118 will administer and assess all components of this part of the admission process using the following rubric. Items to include in the application packet include: Pretest results, individual fitness plan, posttest results, follow up reflection, and completed rubric from the instructor.

    5. Health-related physical fitness testing accommodations are available for individuals with documented disabilities.  Please contact the Program Director if there are any questions concerning accommodations.

    6. Leadership Experience Reflection Paper 
      Students must participate in and reflect upon a leadership experience in a Pre-K-12 environment, (i.e., YMCA, park and recreation work, teaching in a summer program/camp, youth sports coaching, leading physical activities, supervising playground, etc.). The experience must include at least 8 hours of active involvement, and can be paid or volunteer work. Applicants must provide a reflection paper addressing the three items described in the following rubric. The reflection should be double spaced using 12 point font, 1 inch margins, and a minimum of 2 pages-maximum of three.

      Leadership Experience Rubric
      ITEM Basic
      0-2 pts
      3-4 pts
      5 pts
      Description of Experience Describes the experience
      (at least 8 hours)
      Describes the experience
      (at least 8 hours)

      Reflection addresses importance/value of experiences as related to candidates education
      Describes the experience
      (at least 8 hours) 

      Reflection addresses importance/value of experience as related to candidates education  and  future goals as a physical education teacher

      Provides specific examples
      Areas of Growth Identifies three areas of growth Identifies & discusses three areas of growth and provides an overall connection between the experience & growth Identifies/discusses three areas of growth

      Includes  specific examples  of experiences  representing each area of growth

      Clearly links  each  area of growth to the teacher standards
      Areas for Improvement Recognizes a need for improvement

      Identifies one area in need of improvement
      Recognizes a need for improvement

      Identifies & discusses one area in need of improvement

      Links this area to the specifics of the experience
      Recognizes a need for improvement

      Identifies & discusses one area in need of improvement AND explicitly links this to the experience AND to the  teacher standards

      Includes a potential action plan to begin to eliminate the weakness
    7. Interview  
      Once all application materials have been reviewed and approved, students will be contacted by the interview chair who will set up an interview schedule and solicit applicants to sign up for a 15-minute interview.  The interview questions will be sent to the applicants. Interviews will be conducted by three faculty members. The purpose of the interview is to evaluate oral communication skills and ability to relate current issues, content knowledge, experiences, and personal qualifications to the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to become an effective physical education teacher.

      Interview Rubric
        Not Acceptable
      Oral Communication Skills Minimal to no eye contact made.

      Verbal responses are apparently lacking in clarity and logical thought.  A lack of connection between ideas is present.  Lack of organized thought.

      Critical and conceptual thinking is not apparent.

      Poor grammar.
      Eye contact with 1-2 reviewers some of the time.

      Verbal responses are generally clear and logical in thought.  Follows line of reasoning and organized thought in most responses.

      Critical and conceptual thinking is apparent in some responses.

      Responses sometimes consist of inappropriate grammar, insensitive language.
      Eye contact with 1-2 reviewer most of the time.

      Verbal responses are mostly clear and logical in thought.  Follows line of reasoning and organized thought in all responses.

      Critical and conceptual thinking is apparent in most responses.  Responses are supplemented with examples and previous experiences.

      Responses seldom consist of inappropriate grammar and insensitive language.
      Equal eye contact with all interviewers.

      Verbal responses are all clear, logical, and presented in a confident manner.

      Critical and conceptual thinking is apparent in all responses.  Responses are supplemented with examples, previous experiences and factual information from professional sources.

      Responses never consisted of inappropriate grammar and insensitive language.
      Knowledge & Commitment to the Physical Education Profession Not able to identify the most important issues to the profession.

      Little to no apparent professional commitment exhibited.

      Does not exhibit the need to advocate the value of physical education.
      Identifies the one important issue to the profession.

      Identifies the importance of professional development as an ongoing process.

      Expresses ability to advocate the value of physical education.
      Identifies multiple important issues and exhibits some understanding of the problems.

      Indicates commitment to professional development processes through general though reasonable plans and activities.

      Expresses ability and energy to advocate the value of quality physical education with reasonable, identified solutions/activities.
      Identifies multiple important issues and is able to offer reasonable solutions to the problem.

      Indicates commitment to professional development with specific, formal plans and activities.

      Expresses ability and energy to advocate the value of quality physical education with ability with multiple solutions/ activities appropriate for multiple target audiences (e.g. parents, administrators, other teachers, etc.).
      Professionalism and Self-Confidence Not on time for interview.

      Inappropriate dress (shorts, T-shirt, sweats).

      Interest in interview process is lacking or not apparent.

      Does not seem to be prepared and appears to know little of the PETE program.

      Self-confidence is lacking or not apparent
      Too casual dress for professional interview.

      Appears interested and is alert during interview.

      Hesitant at times - sometimes self-confident.
      Appropriate casual for interview.

      Appears interested, alert, and exhibits controlled enthusiasm.

      Behaves with self-confidence most of the time.
      Professional dress (slacks/suit/tie/skirt/dress slacks).

      Is very self-confident and exhibits positive personality.

      Completion of Minimum Requirements Does NOT guarantee admission into the PETE Program

    Appeal Process

    There are two situations that may require a student to submit an appeal.  An appeal to apply  is for students who do not meet either the minimum requirements for GPA or the minimum requirements for the Praxis Core test (students can only appeal one, not both).

    1. Appeal to apply:   Students may appeal to have their applications considered for admission to the PETE program if they are deficient in one, but not both, of the following:
      • Minimum passing scores for the Praxis Core (Students must pass at least two areas and must demonstrate having taken the failed Praxis Core component a minimum of three times before an appeal will be considered. In addition the student must be able to demonstrate having taken measures to improve that particular score.)
      • Minimum  2.75 GPA

    Steps to making an Appeal to Apply

    1. Prepare an appeal packet for the PETE Appeals Committee containing
      1. Student written statement of appeal, which includes:
        1. Identification of requirement being appealed.
        2. Reason(s) why the requirement was not satisfied.
        3. Why the committee should approve a waiver in this case ( for example, in justification of the request, please submit convincing evidence of academic success, personal circumstances beyond your control, prospects for success as a teacher, etc.).
        4. In the case of an appeal involving the PPST, students are advised to show that a significant effort has been made to prepare for each testing attempt (for example, working with an academic skills specialist/counselor).

      2. Two letters of support from faculty/staff or other professionals who can speak to the issue being appealed and the student's prospects for success as a teacher.

    2. Appeals to Apply are only accepted at the J-term and Summer application dates. Appeals must be submitted to Dr. Amy Tischler, PETE Program Director, 216 Mitchell Hall before 4:00 on the 1st Friday of October, January, February, or June

    3. Students will be notified in writing, via email, of the appeal decision. Please refer any questions to Guy Herling, Assistant to the Dean, 228 Graff Main Hall, .
    1. Appeal of denied admittance:   Within one week of being denied admission, a student must submit a hard copy letter of appeal, hand delivered to the PETE Program Director who will share it with the PETE faculty. The student may be asked to meet with the PETE faculty as part of the appeal process.  The decision after the appeal is final.  Students are allowed to apply for PETE admission twice during their academic career at UW-La Crosse.




    Request a Transcript Evaluation

    Prospective students are invited to request an evaluation of their transcripts. This will help to determine if any of their prior course work may be applied to the program's requirements. Candidates with a strong academic background in exercise science/kinesiology, and to some degree teacher education, may see a significant reduction in the number of required credits as listed above. You may request a transcript evaluation by sending legible copies of your transcripts and a brief cover letter outlining your career goals to:

    Guy Herling, Assistant to the Dean
    College of Science and Allied Health
    UW-La Crosse
    1725 State Street
    La Crosse, WI 54604

    (608) 785-8156