New year, new changes for PE


Josh Underberg, Staff Writer

The Physical Education Department has implemented several policy changes for the upcoming school year, including a new quarter system, a uniform requirement, a new grading system, and a new health requirement.

“The members of the PE Department having been discussing these changes for the past two to three years,” Head of School Dr. Tom Kelly said.

As the new Chair of the Physical Education Department, Amy Mojica has helped to make these changes, Coach Ray Barile said.

The new quarter system will allow for the physical education courses to match up evenly with each athletic season and the high school semester system, Mojica said.

Starting next year, students will be required to participate in two different levels of Health Education, one as an underclassman and one as an upperclassman. “People are at two different levels of maturity in high school, so it will be helpful to be able to teach two separate curriculums,” Mojica said.

With two quarters rather than one trimester of health, there should be an additional ten extra classes, which will allow the teacher to cover material in greater detail and add multiple days of self-defense to the health curriculum, Mojica said.

After many years of struggling with what students are wearing in their physical education courses, Mojica has implemented a new dry fit tee shirt that must be worn in class, Head of Upper Division Dr. Levenstein said.

“Without the uniforms, it is difficult to tell whether or not students are wearing the same shirts that they wore to school in physical education class,” Mojica said.

Several students oppose the new requirement with the belief that it is not necessary and a step too far. “In most classes of physical education you do not sweat much, and often, going to the locker room to change will make you late for your next class,” Max Dauer (11) said.

Especially for students who have gym class later in the school day, it makes no sense to change because even if they are sweaty they will be not sitting through classes after, Madhav Menon (11) said.

Alexei Le (10) said he hopes that the dry fit shirts will encourage students to be more active in class because of how comfortable they are, he said.

“The dry fit shirts are very useful because if we sweat, they will absorb it better than the old cotton shirts used in the Middle Division,” Ethan Irushalmi (11) said. “They feel great and the change was much needed.”

The new shirts are also aimed towards helping people to feel more comfortable with their body image in the pool, Mojica said.

“A lot of people did not want to go in the pool last year partly because of their opinions on their body image so the shirt cancels out that thought,” Bryana Guerrero (12) said.

Finally, the physical education grading system in the Upper Division has been changed from a pass/fail system to a high pass, pass, low pass and fail system.

“Students can now have a grade that more specifically matches what they are earning in class,” Mojica said. “Last year with a pass or fail system the kid who was getting a 99 was getting the same grade as the kid who was getting a 66 when there was truly a difference between those two students.”

The new grading system will encourage students to participate more in their physical education classes, Guerrero said.“I think the new grading system and the new shirts are a step towards the school making people want to participate more.”

“The new grading system is great because it gives more opportunities to students, and with the possibility of a high pass students can show that they really care about the class,” Le said.

With more possible grade outcomes, however, there is now less room for error, Oliver Lewis (10) said. “Personally, I believe that with a more open grading system and more possible results, it could come down to who is better athletically, which I do not think is fair.”

“The changes within the Physical Education program are designed to encourage and reinforce participation and effort at a higher level than previously observed,” Kelly wrote in an email. “All of the changes speak to the PE Department’s desire to further enrich the physical education experiences for our students, 6-12, and to discourage students from thinking that our PE program is not a course to be taken seriously.”