A Letter to the Editor

To the Editors of Inklings,

The Staples High School Physical Education and Health Department would like to respond to the Opinion piece that ran in the March 13th issue of Inklings entitled, “Gym Class: Bringing Out the Best in Kids.” We as a department felt compelled to respond to clarify any misconceptions that may have arisen from reading that article. As educators in the field of Health and Physical Education in the 21st century, we make a conscious effort, on a consistent basis, to shift the paradigm of “gym class” to what our program has evolved into (and will continue to evolve into) as we serve the students of Staples High School.

While the article that ran in your last edition of Inklings may be a snap-shot of an experience that one student had in a Physical Education class, it did not display an accurate depiction of a department that consists of ten different professionals and twelve courses spanning our current freshman, sophomore, and junior programs. Our department offers over twenty different lifetime, recreational, and competitive activities in which our students may participate in over the three years they are required to take PE classes. Our department encourages students to enjoy the acts of fitness and working out but also to understand the benefits of participating in physical activities throughout their entire lives. Our objective is to expose our students to as many physical activities as possible with the hope that they will enjoy one or more of these and continue being active beyond their limited time in high school.

Recently, there have been a multitude of studies that validate the importance of physical activity and the positive correlation that movement and exercise have on academic success. This research, combined with our recent piloting of new technologies in our program, such as heart rate monitors and fitness software, has allowed us to bring learning in a Physical Education class to a whole new level.

Clearly, our goal is to be a fully comprehensive department that meets the needs of students as well as follows the mission of the school (specific to our discipline) – to promote critical thinking and deeper understanding in all subject areas. The latest research and data does not mean that we are going to abandon everything that we have done in the past at Staples. We will continue to provide students with an opportunity to “play” and get the necessary chance to expend much of their built up stress and anxiety from their ever-demanding lives. The difference comes from us being able to allow our students to analyze and synthesize the benefits of their daily activity, as well as educate them about the many ways that exercise, activity, fitness and wellness will continue to help them in the future.

To learn more about our program or to answer any fitness, health, and wellness related questions that one may have, we welcome all students and faculty to stop down and speak with any of our teachers.

Sincerely,

The Staples Physical Education and Health Department