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Eye of the Tiger

Districts vary on PE graduation requirements

Administrators tout benefits of two-year PE

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(BRIAN NUEVO/EYE OF THE TIGER)

(BRIAN NUEVO/EYE OF THE TIGER)

(BRIAN NUEVO/EYE OF THE TIGER)

BRIAN NUEVO

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Student athletes in RJUHSD are required to take two years of PE for graduation. However, other school districts in California offer Athletic Prep PE for in season athletes, allowing them to forgo PE while in season.

In California Ed Code 51242 it states “The governing board of a school district may exempt any four-year or senior high school pupil from attending courses of physical education, if the pupil is engaged in a regular school-sponsored interscholastic athletic program carried on wholly or partially after regular school hours.”

This allows school districts in California to exempt any athletes that are participating in any CIF sport from PE.

Palo Alto Unified High School District is one of those districts that offer the Athletic Prep. This allows students to have a prep period in place of PE. Athletes would still be required to enroll in PE and have to return to class after the season.  

Left, freshman inside linebacker Alex Alcautar drinks water in between drives during one of his rare breaks at last Thursday’s game against Consumnes Oaks. Above, Alcautar runs in PE the following day.
(TRINITY COMPTON/EYE OF THE TIGER)

Freshman football player Alex Alcautar, who is currently enrolled in PE 9, feels that it isn’t necessary for athletes who are taking multiple athletic classes

“You should be able to do the sport you love the most while getting credit and having the free time [instead] makes it better,” Alcautar said.

PE is structured to where students are required to run twice a week. Senior water polo player and swimmer Kyle Gard thinks running on game day is a nuisance and the free time could help with academics.

“Based on all the random stuff we did in PE on gameday like running really sucked,” Gard said. “It would be really nice to finish homework in [athletic] prep and not have to do it late at night after games.”

Junior Brad Morin, who played soccer last winter while AP Euro, believes the prep could help out first time AP athletes at the sophomore level.  

“It would have definitely helped, especially with AP classes for the first time especially helping with my time management,” Morin said. “The extra hour and a half a day would’ve made school a lot easier.”

Because athletic sports cater to a specific sport, RJUHSD assistant superintendent of curriculum Jess Borjon believes it doesn’t necessarily correlate with the curriculum as PE 10.

“It’s [a] very one dimensional learning experience,” Borjon said. “Students aren’t arriving at the same learning outcomes as they would PE 10.”

Borjon sees the two year requirement the district currently implies that PE as more valuable to the students rather than just taking a singular sport or athletic class.

“There are learning outcomes that are associated with PE 9 and 10 that we think is very valuable and doesn’t entirely fit a team sport,” Borjon said. “We think it’s very important that all our students reach the learning outcomes for PE”.

The district understands the tradeoffs between athletes not taking PE and a free period, but according to Borjon they firmly believe in the PE curriculum and that it shouldn’t just be looked over.    

Borjon believes team sports have a different mentality compared to PE, as they focus more on a singular aspect instead of a multitude of sports.

“By every student taking 9 and 10 there’s a sequence from [class] 9-10 there’s a slightly different focus that you would not get in athletics,” Borjon said.

Athletic Director Emily Dodds believes having athletes participate in PE should be required rather than be exempt from the class.

“I don’t think doing PE especially for an athlete is that difficult,” Dodds said. “I’m a big proponent for movement.”

Other districts like the Rocklin Unified School District require three years of PE to graduate but accepts exemptions for the third year to athletes who participate in at least four seasons of sports. Dodds agrees with this use of exempt and could only see it as a possibility if RJUHSD was to increase the number of years required for PE.

“If we bumped it up it would bring cause for evaluation,” Dodds said. “With only the two, there’s a lot of people that have to give [sports] up, it’s our opportunity to get them moving and not sitting in a desk listening to a lecture.”

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