Gardner: Tell LCSD1 Trustees to Keep P.E. in Junior Highs

Wyoming Tribune-Eagle (Cheyenne, WY), October 12, 2019 | Go to article overview

Gardner: Tell LCSD1 Trustees to Keep P.E. in Junior Highs


Due in part to the fact that our junior high test scores have been low compared to the rest of the state, Laramie County School District 1 has introduced a survey on its website that asks for input on middle-level courses.

When viewing the survey, the reader is asked to give their opinion on elective courses that are offered in the junior high.

First, the survey does not reveal that physical education is now required and in jeopardy of becoming an elective under the new schedule change and possible change to a middle-level philosophy.

Second, the reader does not know that currently health and P.E., along with being required and offered together, have been separated out.

Third, the title of the survey leads readers to think that we are moving to a middle-level philosophy, which may not be entirely true.

Quantified research shows the benefits of daily physical education and health are directly correlated to academic success and brain growth. Why would we make physical education and health an elective when research demonstrates the profound benefits, and we are a nation facing increased rates of childhood obesity and diabetes, a national opioid epidemic and the ever-increasing rates of vaping and smoking in our youth?

The Association for Middle Level Education recommends daily physical education, and encourages schools following their model, not to decrease the time students are exposed to physical activity. The fact that most middle-level or junior high schools in our state require and support physical education and health should encourage us to do the same.

The Association of Middle Level Education also encourages the social-emotional growth of the middle-level student. Middle-level students need ways to discuss the social-emotional aspects of their lives and develop healthy methodologies that help them deal with their peers and outside pressures of drugs, alcohol, sexual issues, suicide and school violence, to name a few. According to the survey, health (currently taken in conjunction with physical education) looks to be separated away from physical education and become a standalone elective.

The LCSD1 Board of Trustees has voted to move from the block schedule to a standard schedule, with four core classes, an advisory period and two electives. As it stands, they have provided three alternative schedules at various parent advisory meetings. …

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