State standards are being expanded beyond the three Rs to include electives such as art, music and physical education. In Delta County, P.E. teachers have begun working together to develop a curriculum for students of all ages.
As part of that process they were able to obtain a grant from the Colorado Health Foundation to purchase curriculum and buy equipment that's badly needed throughout the school district.
Kari Kuta, the P.E. teacher at Lincoln Elementary School, was hired as grant administrator. She is teaching halftime while coordinating the effort to develop a standards-based P.E. curriculum for Delta County.
There are 29 full- and part-time physical education instructors in the school district. Many have master's degrees; all understand the strong correlation between physical education and academic performance.
Recently, a committee of eight teachers examined every P.E. unit in place to determine if it was aligned with state standards. That process revealed a big gap at the high school level, Kuta explained at the Feb. 21 school board meeting.
According to the Colorado Department of Education, the goal of high school level P.E. is to instill personal responsibility for one's health and fitness through an active, healthy lifestyle that includes a lifelong commitment to wellness.
That goal is not being addressed, Kuta said, through team sports, weight training or participation in marching band or ROTC, activities for which students can receive P.E. waivers.
The P.E. teachers are asking that policy be changed to require students to take a one-semester prerequisite that focuses on health-related fitness, a class that will create well-rounded students who know how to apply the knowledge they've gained to stay fit and eat healthy throughout their lives. They could then take an elective of their choosing to complete the one credit of P.E. required for graduation.
There is some concern the requirement could negatively impact band and other electives. Kuta says she doesn't want to hurt other programs; she just wants to help kids stay fit. ROTC, band and team sports are all great, but they don't teach fitness for a lifetime, she said.
"It's not just skills," Kuta said. "It's explaining training principles, developing a personal fitness plan, evaluating assessments."
"Getting up and moving sure got complicated," said school board member Kathy Svenson. She applauded the effort, having seen students earn P.E. credit for standing on the sideline.
Later in the meeting, school board member Jan Tuin — who retired after teaching music as an elective — said he was reassured by discussions with high school administrators in Paonia and Hotchkiss. He believes students will still be able to pursue their interests in music and art while fulfilling the graduation requirement for P.E.
The policy review committee will begin crafting a policy for the school board's consideration.blog comments powered by Disqus