Magazine article District Administration

Reading, Writing, Catching and Dancing

Magazine article District Administration

Reading, Writing, Catching and Dancing

Article excerpt

As study after study finds students who exercise regularly perform better in the classroom, school systems like Los Angeles USD are working to enhance elementary and middle school physical education programs.

LAUSD is funding a new program in which 17 physical education instructors are sent to five elementary schools to train classroom teachers to lead their students in an outdoor PE class, in addition to their regular classroom learning, says Chad Fenwick, the district's K12 physical education advisor.

Teachers at the schools--which apply to be part of the program--also will be provided with balls, racquets and other equipment. After two years, the instructors will move onto another set Of elementary schools.

"Teachers will learn how to teach the kids skills like throwing, striking, catching, dancing and tumbling," Fenwick says. "Studies show the more skills students learn, the more physical activity they'll get the rest of their lives."

The district has received a grant funded by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide PE training to classroom teachers at an additional 22 elementary schools. A National Institutes of Health grant will fund similar programs at Los Angeles middle schools. The district also is developing standards-based assessment tools to measure students' athletic skills. "Our emphasis is moving toward learning the skills rather than assessing fitness levels," Fenwick says. "Every child can be successful --we know if they learn those skills they will be healthier. …

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