PY Board hears about physical education

Gwen Chamberlain

Today’s physical education is not your father’s gym class, and Penn Yan physical education teachers are working to help youngsters develop lifestyle habits that include physical activities and good nutrition.

Jonathan MacKerchar, physical education and health department chair, presented details about the programs provided to Penn Yan students at last week’s regular board of education meeting.

“PE is not a place where we send our kids when the ‘real’ teachers are taking a break,” MacKerchar told the board. He also pointed out that physical education doesn’t focus on athletics, but on personal fitness.

His presentation included a video detailing an Illinois program that applies research to practical programs.

The Penn Yan and Dundee School Districts recently were awarded a grant that will help purchase equipment to help area youth learn life-long fitness activities. “They picked us because we had children who were not healthy and not eating the proper nutrients in a day,” explained MacKerchar.

MacKerchar said research has proven that 20 minutes of physical activity makes students more prepared for the rigor of the classroom.

Physical Education programs at Penn Yan teach life skills, such as teamwork, cooperation, decision making, critical thinking, communication, coping, stress management, managing feelings, planning and goal setting, relationship management, self-management and advocacy.

Learning experiences in Physical Education include archrey, badminton, basketball, cross country skiing, climbing, dance, floor hockey, fitness, football, golf, hiking, mountain biking, orienteering, pickleball, recreational games, snow shoeing, soccer, softball/kickball, speedball/handball, tennis, track and field, tumbling, volleyball and yoga.

The health programs include learning experience in physical activity, nutrition, family life, sexual health, HIV and AIDS, sexual risk, tobacco, alcohol and other drugs, violence prevention, CPR/First Aid, personal safety, teen violence, bullying and relationships.

At the end of his presentation, MacKerchar said, “If you do not make time for physical education and health now, you will make time for sickness and illnes later.”

Other business at last week’s board meeting included:

• SPECIAL EDUCATION: The board accepted the annual report on the Committee on Special Education as presented by Richard Shaver.

• BOCES Board: The board voted for Lynn Gay, Jeanne A. Durfee and O.J. Sahler to seats on the Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES Board for a three year term beginning July 1.

• MEETING: The board’s next regular meeting will be held at 7 p.m. May 2 in the Elementary School cafeteria.

• MEET?THE?CANDIDATES: A Meet the Candidates event will be held at 7 p.m. May 9.