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Three Hours of Phys. Ed?

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As the third and final trimester of the 2018 school year begins, BCA students have noticed an additional class in their schedule.  This class, titled “Fitness” has come with a myriad of questions. 

First, is this class an additional hour of physical education, or a continuation of Health classes from last trimester? Also, are athletes who are usually excused from Physical Education required to attend this class? It is clear that a great deal of confusion has arisen in light of the numerous and constant changes to the health curriculum.   

“New Jersey high schools need at least 150 minutes of health and physical education per week in all grades, but we only have around 104 minutes.” 

Because Health was changed into an online class for the first and second trimesters, students seem to have even more questions. I met with Mrs. Dina James, one of the Physical Education and Health instructors, to obtain insight that could help clear up any uncertainty concerning this change.

With regard to Health education being online for the first time this year, this modification may have felt abrupt. However, the idea was officiated last spring, when the administration approached the Physical Education teachers.  The administration wanted to incorporate more stress-free activities into the Health curriculum and have other work completed online.  This was all in hopes of encouraging a relaxing environment that would counteract the stress that students always seem to be experiencing because of the rigorous BCA workload. 

Mrs. James explained that during the first trimester, the sophomores “did some power walking, yoga, and meditation,” while during the second trimester, the juniors and seniors engaged in “easy backyard games such as spike ball, ladder ball, bean bag, and badminton.”

Similarly, Physical Education is changing as well. There will now be an extra hour of class added to almost all BCA students’ schedules, along with the regular twice-a-week Physical Education classes. These additional three mods per week make up what is being called “Fitness,” which follows basically the same curriculum as Physical Education does.

This will be in effect for juniors and seniors for the upcoming third trimester because the school is required to meet a state-regulated set number of minutes per week for physical activity. Mrs. James says that New Jersey high schools “need at least 150 minutes of health and physical education per week in all grades, but we only have around 104 minutes.” Moreover, the Fitness classes are not restricted by grade; one class may include students ranging from sophomores to seniors.

If Fitness is the same as Physical Education, then why don’t most students have three days of the same mods scheduled? For example, a student with Physical Education scheduled for mods 1-3 on Mondays and Thursdays may note that his or her Fitness class does not align. Fitness may be scheduled for another time during their days, like mods 13-15 on Fridays. While this may be frustrating for some, Mrs. James explains that the locations of Fitness classes on students’ schedules are not placed randomly, but simply depend on when certain facilities are available for use.

Furthermore, for any student athletes who are concerned about whether or not they are excused from Fitness, Mrs. James says that for those who “are already waived out of their regular Physical Education classes, [they] will also be waived out of the Fitness class.” Moreover, students who participate in Ballroom Dancing or Stretching/Pilates are excused from Fitness.

“If students are already waived out of their regular Physical Education classes, [they] will also be waived out of the Fitness class.”

Some students may be disappointed with the extra requirement to change into athletic wear and the loss of free time that could be utilized for homework, interacting with friends, and meeting with teachers for extra help. However, this change can also be viewed positively as a way for us BCA students to get the de-stressing that we need.

How do you feel about the changes to the health curriculum?  Let us know in the comments below.

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Three Hours of Phys. Ed?