Middletown gym teacher first to win golf education award

MIDDLETOWN – A city schools’ gym teacher has created an award-winning, adaptive golf program that allows special needs students to also enjoy a version of the game along with other students.

Brad Fletcher, the physical education teacher at Middletown Schools’ Amanda Elementary, was recently named the “Teacher of the Year” by First Tee Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky (GCNKY) Chapter.

Fletcher is the first person to receive the award from the GCNKY Chapter. Fletcher, who teaches the First Tee curriculum to students in both traditional and adaptive physical education classes, has been a partner teacher with the organization since 2019.

“I’m so honored to be First Tee’s Teacher of the Year,” said Fletcher. “As much as this award is mine, it never would have happened without our amazing students at Amanda, so I consider it their award as well.”

A part of their outreach program that Fletcher is involved with is their school’s program, which serves 90 schools in the area and provides miniature tennis balls, velcro targets and oversized plastic golf clubs along with a curriculum to teach his physical education classes about golf.

“I tie my program into the Masters golf week and teach golf during that time,” said Fletcher. “Last year, the program schools’ manager approached me about how I teach golf to our special needs students. The adaptive ideas I shared and how I implemented them into the curriculum spearheaded the idea to provide adaptive golf lessons in the First Tee Program for the 2024 program year,” said Fletcher, who has taught at Amanda since 2015.

Fletcher was awarded by First Tee officials at a ceremony last month at the Glenview Golf Course in northern Hamilton County.

In a statement, First Tee says it selected Fletcher for his enthusiasm over the past year for delivering the First Tee curriculum, while also meeting the needs of students facing a variety of physical and learning challenges across age groups.

Since 2004, First Tee has been integrating the First Tee School Program into PE classes across the country. Its curriculum is built around the game of golf, while positively impacting kids through both the game and its inherent ability to improve social-emotional learning (SEL) skills.

Fletcher said: “It’s a wonderful thing that people outside of Middletown are taking notice of all our hard work.”

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