By Erin Moy
Starting next year, the physical education requirement for high school students will change to six trimesters over four years instead of the original requirement, which required five trimesters from 10th to 12th grade.
The changes also extend to the middle school campus. In seventh and eighth grade, students will be divided into different P.E. classes based on ability and interest in sports.
“It could be a little demotivating when youâve got a really good kid in the class for a kid who struggles. Thereâs that disparity in ability and in interest and it kind of breaks down the overall class. Weâre trying to eliminate that as much as we can between seventh and eighth grade,” Athletic Director Terry Barnum said. He added that the new changes could help make the JV and varsity programs stronger.
“Because we will be able to start grouping the kids who are athletes and have identified themselves as athletes, we will start to group them earlier and so they will be able to progress a little bit better athletically and they are going be a little further along athletically once they hit high school,” Barnum said.
The new P.E. requirement will allow students to start fulfilling the requirement in ninth grade, an opportunity that Barnum hopes will allow students to take more electives while staying in shape.
Upper School Dean Vanna Cairns agrees that the new system could free student time.
“It could mean that a student could take a one semester class if he or she wanted. Better yet, it could mean lunch!” Cairns said.
The 700-point system at the Middle School, in which students are given point values in seven athletic categories, is also being reworked.
“Whether youâre doing 100 pushups or five pushups if youâre doing the best that you can do thatâs what is important instead of meeting some arbitrary number,” Barnum said.
“We looked at the overall curriculum from seventh through 12th grade and tried to design something that was consistent for the students who took P.E. all the way, as well as something that could complement the athletic department as much as possible,” Barnum said.