Rationale for P.E. Class Modification: DPI and Local High School Serve as Agents of Change


All images credited to The Post-Crescent.

Vanessa Underhill, Student of Journalism

Changes are afoot in the NHS Physical Education Department with new block scheduling set to be introduced next year.

Not only will P.E. classes meet every other day, for 90 minutes at a time. But additionally, student athletes will not be required to take a semester of physical education during their four years at Neenah High.

Department of Public Instruction (DPI) opened the door for this possibility.

Principal Brian Wunderlich explains exactly how this came to effect in Wisconsin: “The biggest change that happened is probably 8 or 9 years ago.  The DPI put into place that kids could who were involved in varsity sports could supplement a half credit of gym to add a core class.”

This new system is modeled off of De Pere High School, which has already implemented this system for several years.

Associate Principal Timothy Kachur addresses this: “We feel like it’s something that has had success.  Let’s start there, and if we need to tweek and revise as we go, then we will.”

Relieving student athletes of half a credit of physical education would free up their schedules for other common core classes that they may otherwise have issues fitting in the schedule.

That being said, if students pursue this option they must have 4.5 credits of English or 3.5 credits of any other common core class, math, science or social studies, by the time they graduate in order for this alternative course to count.

In contrast, De Pere only offers this for their varsity athletes; Neenah will expand this policy to junior varsity as well.

Fall sports will count for grades 9-12 while winter and spring sports would count for grades 9-11. This is due to the fact that no student in this program can have any code violations for the entire season. If there is a code violation, the sport will not count for the student’s physical education requirement, and the student will be required to take another P.E. course.

Students will continue to be required to take Active Lifestyles 1 or 2 as a prerequisite to any other gym classes taken.

Activities Director Josh Murnane goes on to explain the different sports that would qualify for this program. “All of our WIAA regulated sports count, as well as both lacrosse programs and powerlifting.”

Armed with knowledge of the qualifying sports, coaches and teachers at NHS will work cooperatively to give the entire student body the ability to live a healthy lifestyle.

The form for this program along with additional information can be found here.