Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ponte Vedra Principals Backing P.E. Educators Support Gov. Crist's Push for Daily Phys Ed, with Some Creative Changes

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ponte Vedra Principals Backing P.E. Educators Support Gov. Crist's Push for Daily Phys Ed, with Some Creative Changes

Article excerpt

Byline: CHRISTINA ABEL

Ponte Vedra Beach elementary school officials support a push by Gov. Charlie Crist to pass a bill requiring daily physical education, including dance, in the classroom.

While some of the schools, such as Ponte Vedra-Palm Valley Rawlings and Ocean Palms elementary schools, already have physical fitness programs for their students, they say making it a statewide mandate is a good thing, as long as there is funding to support it.

"We'll have to get more flexible with our physical fitness and figure out how to creatively add it to the school day [if the legislation passes]," said Mike Parrish, principal at Ocean Palms. "It's all right to have a mandate, but if you don't have the funding it's more difficult to implement."

Kathleen Furness, the principal at PV/PV Rawlings, agreed and said that her school has already integrated more exercise into its programs.

"We are hoping that the governor will increase the amount of time our students do go to P.E.," Furness said. "It's definitely needed."

Phil McDaniel, president of the St. Johns Cultural Council, said he supports the physical education mandate, but wanted to make sure that activities, such as ballet, tap dance and jazz were included in the physical education spectrum.

McDaniel said he and other members of the group recently traveled to Tallahassee to get the bill amended to include these activities. After getting the bill amended, McDaniel said this is an important step in the cultural arts movement and in children's health.

"Kids need to have an activity to fight obesity," McDaniel said. "We spearheaded a dialog to add an amendment to the bill to add dance to physical fitness."

Under Crist's bill, daily physical education classes would be required in elementary schools by July. Some Florida schools already have regular P.E. …

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