[Sept. 2016 News] New equipment propels P.E. department different curriculum

By Ashton Dedona ’17 Arts Editor and Kaya Leitner ’19

The physical education department has made changes to its curriculum this year but not to the state of its boys’ locker room.  

Some students questioned why the 2013 Pep Grant, provided by the U.S. Department of Education for Nutrition and Physical Education, was not applied to renovating the boys’ locker room-a space that some boys find to be unusable. “I don’t even go in there,” Caleb Lipton ’19 said. “It’s really dirty.”

“We’ve [instead] been fortunate to make some equipment changes and facility upgrades. Specifically the fitness center, the traverse wall and some of the other equipment we’ve been using in the program,” David Gusitsch, the physical education director, said.  “These are all things that had to do with the Pep Grant it had nothing to do with our district budget,” Gustich said.

The department planned to renovate the locker room this past summer but came across issues securing a contractor and ended up not having enough time to  change it before school started. Gusitsch hopes to finish it next fall.  

In the meantime, changes have been made to the physical education curriculum. In previous years, swimming was a part of both the freshmen and sophomore curriculums. The physical education department, however, has implemented recent changes which remove aquatic activities all together for the sophomore curriculum and extends swimming for freshmen to a full quarter.

“A part of this [decision] is that we’re listening to the student’s feedback,” Gusitsch said.

The changes were made after the department recognized a drop off in participation from sophomores during the swimming unit.

To replace the gap in the sophomore curriculum, they have combined health and exercise science into a one-quarter-long wellness course in order to increase the physical activity time for students rather than classroom time. Lifetime and team activity courses have also been added as a gateway into junior physical education courses.

Physical education teacher CJ Shamas agreed with Gusitsch, explaining that students’ end-of-the-year course evaluations were seriously considered.

“Every year when we come back [to school], it’s like, ‘wow, look at those changes,’” Shamas said.

Physical education classes will also have access to the traverse wall, a side-ways climbing wall, another addition to the course. Teachers hope to use it to enhance activity, communication skills and cooperative skills.

“There is a lot of creative skills that have [sic] to go into it,” Shamas said. “It’s not just hopping on and climbing left to right.”

Gusitsch and other department teachers hope that the curriculum adjustments will have a positive outcome for all students and look forward to seeing a renovated boys locker room in the near future.