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Diving Further Into the Three Tiers of Physical Education Proposal

Students partaking in a team sports game

As of January 2024, the Wayne Hills Physical Education Department is seeking to implement two new courses for students with varying aptitudes, interests, and futures: Wellness and High Performance. 

These two new courses will vary from the General physical education course in terms of their goals, intensities, and practices. The Wellness course is a nontraditional form of General P.E., as it incorporates fewer team sports activities and puts a greater emphasis on improving individuals’ physical and mental health. In this course, students will run on treadmills and lift weights to build muscle strength and endurance, as well as practice meditation and yoga to better manage their stress levels. 

Conversely, the High Performance course will appeal to students of higher physical skill levels and stronger motivations, and allow them to participate in team and competitive situations. Unlike the General and Wellness courses, students must meet specific requirements to be enrolled in this course, including a physical skills test, teacher recommendation, and previous year P.E. grade.

Wayne Hills physical education teachers Mr. Gelalia and Mr. Dicolo explained that the goal of these tiers is to help students feel comfortable around like-minded people, and to diminish the commonly heard, “man, I have to go to gym class today” attitude. Students who want to focus more on their individual health and fitness will most likely excel in the Wellness Course; students interested in becoming coaches someday might find the High Performance course to be the first step in pursuing their careers; those seeking a middle-ground would most likely enjoy the General course.

When asked about the benefits of the High Performance course, Mr. Dicolo explained that by placing students of the highest physical skill levels into one class, the same type of challenging, enriching environment can be created in P.E. class that is seen in other Honors or AP level classes. 

Some students opened their eyes wide at the proposal of a more competitive and physically intense P.E. environment. Junior Dhir Patel, who hoped to be in the High Performance P.E. course next year, thought that High Performance P.E. would be a “free opportunity to have fun with [his] friends and be around like-minded people.” He also pointed out the drawbacks from placing all students in the same level of P.E. class, such as those few people who “stand around and don’t contribute” in team games. “It’s a pain to be on the same teams as them,” Dhir admitted. For this reason, creating an environment where students are driven, invested, and committed would only be fair to those who look forward to P.E. class everyday and participate at the highest level. 

On the other hand, the idea of the High Performance P.E. course rubs some people the wrong way. After speaking with several students enrolled in higher-level academic classes, many have said that a High Performance P.E. course would diminish the rigor of their Honors/AP classes and hard-fought good grades. Junior Maddie Wolke, who is skeptical of students earning honors credit for P.E., believes that “athletics should simply be kept separate from academics” when it comes to course leveling. “Getting an A in AP United States History is so much harder than getting an A in any gym class,” added Maddie. 

Although some students are worried about their hard work being discredited, they might feel relieved to learn that the High Performance course will actually not be weighted the same as a typical Honors class–at least not at first. The athletic director of Wayne Valley and Wayne Hills, Mr. Drozjock, confirmed that if the proposal is approved, all three P.E. courses will be weighted on a 4.0 scale, until further discussion of making the High Performance course an official Honors class. “[Giving it a 5.0 scale] may be something we could go to down the road,” Drozjock stated. 

He also explained that these new tiers cannot take into effect until the 2025-2026 school year, if approved at all. The necessary data, testing, and approvals will not be set and done by January 2024, which is the deadline for new curriculums going into effect next school year. 

If Wayne Hills moves further in this direction, enrollment testing for the High Performance P.E. course will not begin until next school year. Until then, our Physical Education Department remains hopeful that the proposal will keep moving forward, so that P.E. class can finally offer “something for everyone.”

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About the Contributor
Stephanie Tulpan
Stephanie Tulpan, Junior Editor
Stephanie is a junior here at Wayne Hills. She has been writing for the Patriot Press ever since her freshman year, and is currently the 2023-2024 Junior Editor. She primarily enjoys writing about school news and culture/entertainment news. She is an officer in several other clubs, including student council and French Club, and is also a member of the Wayne Hills Dance Team.

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