by Teresa Cevallos
Fall Baron athletes are in the final stretch of their sport and the winter season is closely near. Underclassmen have been putting in mass amounts of energy into the vigor of their sport as well as facing the treachery of juggling both academics and sports. These same athletes are also spending time during their school day to fulfill the Physical Education requirement. Underclassmen athletes should be allowed to use their sport as a way to get PE credit in order to benefit their academic careers.
Freshmen going into their first year of high school are thrown into intense higher level classes they have never taken before. On top of that, many of these students are athletes playing their first high school sport. The transition into high school sports and high school level classes is difficult to balance. Students often struggle to define what is more important to them: success on the field or success in the classroom. An hour of their time is spent out on the PE field, but that hour could be used to help balance their new student-athlete life.
The typical sophomore athlete has completed Course I of PE and successfully passed the fitness gram. As they enter their second year of PE, students wonder,“Why am I forced to take PE when I spend two hours everyday after school running drills and conditioning for my own sport?”
PE is meant to teach students how their bodies move, but most find themselves performing activities that require very little energy in comparison to the energy that they put into their sport. Students perform a multitude of physical activities outside of the gym. In a PE class, students are forced to play the same game of kickball every day for a six week unit. Athletes are not left with lessons on how to improve physical activity, but left with an hour of time that could be used for academics.
Programs at Bonita Vista High School such as Club Blue and The Vocal Music Department allow their students to earn their credits through classes set up by their respective programs. Both programs do partake in activities pertaining to the class as well as earn the necessary PE credit. Club Blue allows both 9th and 10th graders to earn their credit this way, but Music Machine limits this opportunity to 10th graders who have passed the fitness gram.
The fitnessgram is a physical test administered to 9th graders in the February of second semester. The test assesses students on aerobic capacity, abdominal strength and endurance, upper body strength, body composition, trunk extensor, and flexibility. The purpose of this test is to encourage healthy habits and regular physical activity for a lifetime.
These underclassmen athletes devote an hour of time during the school day to learn about living a healthy lifestyle, when they’re already dedicating hours and intense physical activity to a sport outside of the classroom. Instead of earning PE credit traditionally, underclassmen athletes should be allowed to use sport practices and games as a way to earn PE credit. Their practice and games could be counted as a seventh period where they are graded on athletic performance. A certified PE supervisor could easily administer the fitnessgram for athletes.
Not only would this cut an hour off a student athlete’s school day, but this could open up beneficial academic opportunities. Students could spend the hour that would’ve been used for a PE period to take another academic class. This could be a weighted class used to boost a GPA or to complete an A-G required class such as health.
Students could use this new class to explore interests in the arts. PE takes up a class period that could be used for the drama, art, or music classes students have always wanted to take. Much of the time, students decline the opportunity to take these types of classes, because a seven period schedule is too difficult to balance in conjunction with an athlete’s practice/game schedule.
Bonita Vista High School strives to help students achieve success in the classroom, but has neglected to support an important factor. By taking into consideration the rigor and intensity of a student athlete’s life, you can help their academic success skyrocket. Allowing student athletes to receive their PE credit through their sport could open up new doors for students that have never been accessible at Bonita Vista High School. Students could use their new open period to explore their interests by taking that one class that was never able to make it into their schedule. The student athletes of Bonita are tired of jumping through hoops to meet their goals, and that isn’t just on the field.