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P.E. Requirement For Musicians, Athletes Suspended at Saratoga High

Los Gatos-Saratoga high school district trustees suspend controversial board policy at Saratoga High School pending further studies.

Los Gatos Saratoga Union High School District trustees suspended Tuesday evening a controversial board policy that would have mandated all students at Saratoga High School take physical education classes on top of strenous extra-curricular activies such as band and sports participation.

The vote came after more than 20 speakers addressed trustees about their opposition to the new mandate—a part of new graduation requirements for incoming ninth-graders at both high schools.

The change was supposed to take effect in October, however, it's now been postponed at Saratoga High School.

Parents concerned about the policy have explained they're worried about the impact the mandate will have on band, extra-curricular athletics, students' well being, the Saratoga High School health requirements, elective options and education code requirements.

At the Oct. 16 trustee meeting, three possible options were presented and based on community, staff and student input, trustees considered suspending the implementation of the policy at SHS.

The suspension means SHS will continue to allow students who participate in marching band and inter-scholastic athletic programs to skip P.E.

The deferral also means ninth-graders at SHS will continue to abide by the health class requirement, which doesn't blend health and P.E.

Trustees and SHS officials will conduct additional studies regarding concerns about the issuance of P.E. credit by non-credentialed staff, and students who don't pass five of the six physical fitness test standards are required and other compliance issues, district officials said.

The district will be organizing meetings with staff, students and community members to evaluate the options regarding future health and physical education programs at SHS.

No action was taken with regard to the policy at Los Gatos High School, said LGSUHSD assistant to the superintendent Jane Marashian. On the agenda last night, however, was a parent meeting update on the LGHS' freshman transition plan.

A staff report said on Oct. 30, parents of incoming seventh- and eighth-graders discussed various aspects of the plan, including changes to the controversial policy. LGHS Principal Markus Autrey presented an update regarding input received during the meeting.

Sheila Sanchez November 15, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Agree, Brian. I know several kids who participate in marching band at Evergreen High School and know who demanding that is. Requiring these kids to participate in P.E. and expecting them to participate in the extracurricular activities will impact one or the other. One parent at the Oct. 16 meeting reported that instituting ninth-grade PE at one local high school, decreased marching band participation.
Sheila Sanchez November 15, 2012 at 11:41 PM
Maybe the district can just enforce compliance with the Education code that requires ninth-graders who don't meet five of the six standards of the PE test to take it in the 10th grade. It shouldn't matter how the kids attain physical fitness, what matters should be that they're getting physical exercise and being in band and sports should comply, IMHO.
Jason Fulbright November 16, 2012 at 03:24 AM
The real problem is that I am guessing Saratoga and/or Los Gatos do not have quality physical education programs that actually teach to the rigorous, content rich state standards. Anybody who has taken the time to actually read the standards would realize that a quality program helps students design programs, integrates other subject areas and focuses on lifelong fitness and wellness concepts- concepts not covered in band. I challenge the district to actually hold their physical education teachers accountable for delivering a quality, academic and worthwhile program. My guess, there program is nothing more than hypocritical coaches that sit in their offices watching game film making their students run the mile every week (when they cant run it themselves) and then put them in "game play" when they actually should be educators, educating and challenging their minds intellectually. The real problem- if something is deemed worthwhile then you will fight to keep it intact. Obviously, there programs are not seen as worthwhile. That is a superintendent and administrator problem. You have to be IGNORANT to think that marching band and physical education are the same thing. Anyway, good luck Los Gatos/Sarartoga in finding a solution.
Angel Rey November 16, 2012 at 04:39 AM
The problem in schools today is that there is little respect given to PE, and Performng Arts. Sports, marching band and any other extra curricular activity is just that EXTRA. It is not required of any student to become part of any team, marching band, etc. to earn their high school diploma. In fact, these are activities that come with a fee for students and if students decide these are things they want to be part of they have to be responsible and complete anything else that is required to earn HS diploma. Correct me if I'm wrong but l believe it is required of ALL students in ALL high schools to take PE and Performing Arts (Theatre, Music, Art, etc.) to earn their diploma. Maybe the district in question should give these athletes and marching band members community service hours for their "services." However, many high schools require students to complete a certain amount of community service hours to earn their diploma. Can you believe that? No hours, no diploma. Every year many high school students pass their PE and performing art classes earning their HS diploma without ever playing a sport, joining the marching band, being part of the student body,etc. I agree with Jason...Jud...some HS is waiting for you to fix their program.
David Salles November 16, 2012 at 02:23 PM
It is essential that parents and administrators take a look at the schools Physical Education program and hold them accountable. The subject is Physical Education and not as one of the school has listed it as Physical Fitness, there is a difference and that is educating.

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