P.E. courses to change next year to increase student interest

Eunho Lee, Staff Writer

Starting fall 2019, students will be provided an entirely new set of P.E. course offerings that will put the choice of activities into their own hands. With minimal changes made to the curriculum over the past few years, the aim of these new courses will be to revitalize student engagement in physical education.

“Our traditional offerings have remained pretty static over the past few years. I don’t think we’ve changed our course offerings in seven or eight years,” Health and Physical Education teacher Danielle Cooper said. “So we had a conversation about appealing to students’ wants and needs as far as movement is concerned, and the choice program was a byproduct of that conversation.”

Director of Wellness Education Mitch Finnegan further elaborated on the new curriculum.

“In the past, we have had a prescribed program because we really wanted to make sure every kid could get a very broad range [of activities],” Finnegan said. “Then, we decided that this might create more interest in students if they are in activities that they have had some say in choosing.”

The four course offerings for next year’s sophomores, juniors and seniors will be Lifelong Activities, Competitive Team Activities, Recreational Activities, and Personal Fitness Planning. The courses were designed to meet the specific interests of each student.

With all of these new options for students, Health and Physical Education teacher Richard Brissette feels “the number one positive effect will be that students will choose the activity or category that they like, which should then in turn give the students more say into what they are doing.”

Along with student choice in courses, the P.E. courses will no longer be separated by grade.

“In most high schools, P.E. is more mixed than we’ve had it here, and we think that type of socialization is actually really positive for kids,” Finnegan said. “It provides leadership opportunities for the older students, and just a healthier relationship between kids in different classes.”

In reaction to these new courses being offered, students have had positive feedback to the changes.

“Choosing what I want to do instead of doing a bunch of different activities would make P.E. a lot more productive,” freshman Field Kasrel said.

Junior Omid Esmaeili further elaborated on the freedom in the new curriculum.

“It will really allow students to have freedom in deciding what they want to do in P.E, and maybe with this change, people will learn and get more skills from P.E.,” Esmaeili said.

With the courses catering to specific student needs, the skills students learn in P.E. will stay with students beyond high school. Cooper highlighted these long term effects.

“We will be filling the classes based on student interest, so I think the motivation to participate in class, the level of enjoyment, and the possibility of taking an activity beyond high school are all things that should see an uptick,” Cooper said.