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Physical Education Teacher Says New Gyms Will Be Too Small

By Marilyn Clark

July 16, 2004

Pam Moak, a physical education teacher at Landolt, spoke about the eight new gyms which will be built with Bond 2004 funds during community input time at the June 22nd CCISD Board meeting.  Moak said that when the schools were built at which these gyms will be constructed, only 1/2 of the students actually went to PE. According to Moak, all students are now required to attend PE for 135 minutes per week. This is mandated by Senate Bill Number 19 of 2001. (See http://www.esc20.net/health/physical_education.htm)

Moak pointed out that over the years, physical education (PE) at the elementary school level has changed. PE was once sports-based. Now, PE is about skill development and movement. Moak said, "We donít want kids standing around waiting for a turn." The PE program is designed to involve all students in a physical activity simultaneously, preferably with a piece of equipment.

Moak continued, "It is about getting kids to value a healthy, active lifestyle. With obesity becoming epidemic in this country (and a corresponding rise in type 2 diabetes in children), affecting the quality of our lives, we must get kids moving and keep them aerobically active for as many minutes as possible in a PE class.

When we have large classes, safety becomes a consideration. We must have enough space so that kids can move safely."

However, according to Moak, the new gyms will not provide enough safe, space for all students in a gym class to run, do hula hoops, or jump rope at the same time. Moak shared that the American Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance says that 100 square feet of space per student is needed for safe, random movement.

On July 14, Paula Kun of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education said that
"The National Association for Sport and Physical Education recommends 110 to150 square feet for learning movement activities in which children can move freely and safely. We recommend that the student teacher ratio should be 25 students to one teacher per class."

Moak asked the board to look for a way to build larger gyms.  If a solution is not available, she proposed that the district build fewer gyms (with adequate safe space with Bond 2004 money).

Moak indicted that she and the other teacher with whom she works and she understands some of the other schools would be willing to wait for the passage of a future bond package to build the remaining gyms.

Ralph Parr said, "It has been approved by the voters that we do this."

Board President Glenn Brown said, "I have a question about the gym.
Is someone looking at this issue, regarding the appropriate size of the gym?"

Dr. Sandra Mossman replied, "Yes, Mr. Niccum and (Director) Mr. Daws, both have met with the teachers at the schools and are working in conjunction with them and the administration."

Glenn Brown responded, "So maybe, when you provide the board with some information, you can address that as well."

Dr. Mossman agreed, "Sure, we will provide additional information ..."


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