With all the cuts in education along with the threat of childhood obesity , a new look in physical education just may be what the doctor ordered. Physical Education has been perceived as a “throw out the ball ” mentality and the vast plethora of Hollywood movies depicting “gym” teachers frame them as a laughing stock instead of reality. That perception is not what is really happening in many schools throughout the country .
Whether it be the movies , Dodgeball or Bad Teacher , it pales in comparison what is transpiring at Sierra Vista Jr. High School in California under the auspices of physical teacher, George Velarde. He is a proponent of the New PE , which means teaching fitness over sports skills . It is about objective measurement over subjective grading . Mr. Velarde has transformed his school into a state of the art fitness center .
The Physical Education program features the following :
- Research based study of physical education by Cal State Northridge
- Standard based physical education for grades 7-8
- Formative assessment for skill based activities
- Latest physical education technology and best practices
- Objective cardio-vascular assessment through use of heart rate monitors
- Polar-Cardio GX system -Live heart rate system
- Hop sports exercise training system
- Brain breaks in physical eduacation and in the academic classroom
- Fitness Gram computer lab
- Survivor and game weeks
- Trikes and Tritons
- Intramural program
- Family night program
- Staff wellness program
The weekly schedule includes technology and assessment using heart rate monitors ; Polar Tri-Fit assessment system ; portfolios and a unique PE report card software manager . The Hop Sports training uses an audio/video projection system that contains hundreds of exercise/ health component videos . The lessons range from cardio-kickboxing , boot camp workouts, exercise ball core training to lead up sports activities. The fitness center includes a 50 piece Exer-Learning section such as , Dance Revolution , Virtual Reality Bikes , Rock Climbing Wall and a Xavix exercise program and a 50 piece cardio-vascular section with water and computer rowing machines , spin bikes, ellipticals and stair steppers.
The students at Sierra Vista Jr. High School can also utilize the circuit training weight room , which includes resistance machines , water rowing machines and Ski ergometer machines. There is an adventure program similar to the TV show , Survivor , that challenges the student’s mental and physical abilities and promotes critical thinking and team cooperation.
The PE program has been featured on the CBS news ( Early Show) and has been recognized in local , state and national media along with state representatives , and a delegation from China in lieu of Global Affairs and Research . The fitness test scores have improved every year in aerobic endurance , body composition , abdominal strength , trunk extension strength , upper body strength and flexibility. The PE program not only demonstrated improved fitness scores , but also the schools academic scores( API) since the department changed from the OLD PE to the NEW PE. This was an improvement of 63 points in an eight year span.
When parents , school board members, and the community look for ways to improve the education of the whole child , it is prudent to be informed that there may be a free , preventative health care system ready to be enlisted by well- trained PE teachers , who are armed with the latest trends and knowledge for a lifetime of health and fitness.