P.E. Curriculum undergoes several changes

An introduction to the variety of new activities offered in upcoming months

The ultimate aim of PE is “to ensure an inclusive program that fosters a life-long commitment to physical fitness, a love of the outdoors and encourages healthy, active lifestyles that include activities, such as walking, hiking, biking, etc.,” according to Oak Park Unified School District’s Moral Imperatives Goals and Action Plan, Goal 4e.

The shift in the PE curriculum has introduced new classes and programs at Oak Park High School. The possibility of classes for the 2020-2021 school year include intramural basketball and strength and conditioning, teaching the basic and advanced fundamentals of both.

“The goal behind these new PE courses is to offer our students a multitude of options so that physical activity can be enjoyable, social and challenging,” Director of Curriculum and Instruction Jay Greenlinger said.

Additionally, students in all PE Classes will have monthly, functional yoga classes instructed by Audrey Walzer, focusing on balancing and healing the body.

“[As seen online,] bending one’s body into a pretzel feels like the realm of Cirque du Soleil, not everyday life, but when one’s body hurts, it becomes much more interesting. My fondest hope in working with OPHS students is that they might learn about their bodies the way my adult students wish they had when they were younger,” Walzer said.

As for district-wide changes, hikes have been introduced at Oak Hills Elementary School and Red Oak Elementary School and will likely come to Medea Creek Middle School in upcoming years. ROES PE teachers take their students on a trail to the water tower and beyond.

“By doing hikes, I hope it will have a domino effect. If the kids enjoy the hike, they will want to share it with their parents,” ROES PE teacher Christy Amaral said. “If they can get their parents on a hike, maybe they will have found a new family activity that will have lifelong benefits.”

There will also be more of an emphasis placed on effort, improvement, enjoyment and sportsmanship. According to Greenlinger, the participation grade accounts for 70% of a students’ final grade. This allows for someone who earns an 85% on their running grades to maintain a strong A in PE.

“Our hope is to continue to enhance the PE courses to include a variety of sports and activities,” said Greenlinger. “PE is the avenue for building these skills and engaging in regular physical activity.”

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