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The Versailles Republican

March 12, 2015 • Headlines

Pictured are the 2015 IHSAA Class 1A Sectional #60 Champion Jac-Cen-Del Eagles. For a complete list of names pick up The Versailles Republican at your local newsstand. Congratulations JCD Eagles!
South Ripley Raiders celebrate following a victory run in the IHSAA Class 2A Sectional 45 Championship. For a complete list of names pick up The Versailles Republican at your local newsstand! Congratulations SR Raiders!
This photo was taken just a week ago when the area had another snowstorm. It was taken from the back porch of Cheryll Obendorf’s property, between Olean and Friendship, overlooking Laughery Valley. She said it’s also a very pretty scene with the splendid colors of the fall.
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Today’s PE class
‘We want every student to have fun through physical exercise’

Mary Mattingly

Editor’s note: First in a two-part series

While today’s schools may not look like the ones their parents or grandparents grew up in, particularly when you consider things like iPads, whiteboards and Google Chromebooks, some things have not changed much. For example, physical education class is likely the most popular class in school for many students. Perhaps it’s because students don’t have to sit quietly at a desk but instead are encouraged to move around, to play be it badminton, scooter races or knockout basketball.

The idea is simple. “We want every student to exercise and have fun through various physical activities,” said Jeff Huss, South Ripley Elementary’s physical education teacher. It could be corn hole or bowling, volleyball or basketball. It’s all about teaching life skills and activities, something they can go home and continue, although he acknowledges neighborhood play is probably not as common as it once was.

Milan PE


Milan 8th grade girls play an organized game of gater ball during PE class.

He’s been the school’s only PE teacher for 32 years. Back in his day, they had PE two to four days a week, he recalls. “The focus then was more on sports activities versus non traditional activities (i.e. scooter races). And, there is more fitness testing now,” Huss said of the differences over the years.

Over the past few decades, educators have been challenged to fit PE in with a growing number of other academic courses. At the local elementary schools, PE is considered one of the “special” classes, along with art, music, library, etc. The Indiana code recommends a weekly minimum of physical education for grades 1-3, 10 minutes, grade 4-6, 75 minutes, grades 6-8, 100 minutes and high school graduation requires 2 semesters. Recess periods don’t count as instructional time for physical education.

Ripley Publishing talked with several PE teachers and administrators at South Ripley, Milan and Jac-Cen-Del to get an idea of what students do in PE today, how it might be different than years ago and how the obesity rate may play into it. There’s even a bill in this year’s legislature addressing the length of PE. It’s still about physical activity, exposing kids to new games.

South Ripley and JCD offer PE 40 minutes a week. Milan Schools Corp. has a unique situation in that they have a pool, therefore, every student learns to swim in elementary school. Milan Elementary PE teacher Liz Marietta says, “I have each class twice a week. I teach them once in the gym and then once in our pool. The classes are about 35 minutes long.”
Josh Blankinship, the Milan middle school and freshman PE instructor, says he wants his students to get at least 35 minutes of physical activity in class. Middle school students come three times a week, freshman daily. “If we’re playing Knock Out (a basketball game that eliminates players on missed shots), then I want them doing push ups, something instead of just standing there waiting to start another game.” Weightlifting, an advanced co-ed PE class, is also offered for credit at Milan High School and many of the athletes take that class upon encouragement from their varsity coaches. South Ripley High School has an Alternate PE class for athletes in an organized sport that can be applied as credit instead of the year of freshman PE. A semester of health in 10th grade is also taken at SRHS. They also have Advance PE with weight lighting for 10th through 12th graders. Jac-Cen-Del has a personal fitness class, as well for high schoolers if interested otherwise freshman take PE and health nine weeks each.

Obesity rate

For the last several years it’s been hard to ignore the climbing obesity rate in adults and children. In children, ages 2 to 19, the rate is 17 percent, almost triple what it was in 1980. Besides changing what the federal school lunches offer, the obesity rate also impacted PE curriculum. Blankinship has noticed in the last five to 10 years “a shift to fitness and nutrition compared to when I was in school.” David Bradshaw, one of the PE teachers at Jac-Cen-Del High School, said he thinks that trend is more related to what goes on at home rather than at school. Nonetheless, schools and PE teachers are charged with doing their part to keep kids fit now, and later. “We want to teach the students why it’s important to exercise for your heart and lungs and life longevity, and how nutrition plays into good health also,” said Shelly Simers, the other JCDHS PE teacher.

Editor’s Note: The second part will focus on the Indiana code plus the classic and contemporary activities in the classroom.

Pick up this week's edition of The Versailles Republican for the stories below and more local news. Subscribe by clicking the subscribe link or call 812-689-6364.

• Local grant put on hold (front page)
• Kitchen Make-Over Challenge (week 3) sponsored by Margaret Mary Health (section B, page 5)
• Congratulations South Ripley Raiders and Jac-Cen-Del Eagles! (page 6 and 7)
• Milan students to attend Big M Math Camp at Ball State (section B, front page)
• Want to buy the newspaper? Click here to find out where!

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