Re-1 explores allowing sports to count for PE |

Re-1 explores allowing sports to count for PE

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – High school principals in the Roaring Fork School District Re-1 are seeking a district policy change that would allow for extracurricular school-sponsored and organized community-based sports programs to count as physical education credits for students.

“By allowing alternative means for students to earn the required physical education credits outside the normal school schedule, they have more room in their schedules for more academically rigorous offerings,” principals Paul Freeman (Glenwood Springs High), Cliff Colia (Carbondale’s Roaring Fork) and Kevin Schott (Basalt High) suggested in a recent letter to the Re-1 school board and Superintendent Judy Haptonstall.

Additionally, with limited full-time teaching positions to allocate at each school, if the need for physical education classes were reduced those teaching resources could be allocated elsewhere, they said.

The idea was discussed at a May 26 school board meeting in Basalt, but not decision was made. It will likely be brought back before the board in the form of a formal policy at the June 23 meeting.

School board members and administrators were generally supportive of the concept, but want to develop a more-detailed policy that will spell out the parameters for which sports and activities would translate to a P.E. credit.

“We do want to include some curriculum expectations with the physical education credits,” Re-1 Assistant Superintendent Brad Ray said. “There are a lot of variables, and we need to come up with some language on what really constitutes a credit.”

Currently, Re-1 high school graduation requirements include 10 hours of P.E. credit. And, while students may earn credits through alternative activities in some instances, the existing policy does not allow for extracurricular sports or other organized club or town recreation programs to be used for credit.

“Students enrolled in Re-1 high school physical education classes receive 4.2 hours of instruction and activity per week …,” the principals noted in their letter. “Over the course of a semester, this totals about 70 hours.”

By comparison, many non-school sports-related programs offer up to 10 hours of instruction per week, and school-based programs offer even more intensive physical activity as well as guidance from coaches, they said.

“We do believe that extra-curricular activities should meet some basic criteria before they could qualify as a substitute for the required physical education credits,” they agreed. Participation would also need to be verified in some way.

Credit-based P.E. classes such as ball and net sports and weightlifting are effective, but also have their limitations in terms of instilling an ethic of maintaining physical fitness, the principals also noted in their letter.

“Many of these non-P.E. activities provide much more comprehensive skill development for life-long activity-based personal physical fitness,” they said.

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