School districts within Southern California are beginning to get on board with increasing physical education within its school systems.
Redondo Beach Unified School District elementary schools have only recently hired certified physical education specialists. It has now hired both full- and part-time physical education specialists for its elementary schools and the hope is that the trend will continue.
In the past, physical education in elementary schools was the responsibility of the elementary school teacher as well as his/her other duties. Now teachers are able to concentrate on the instructional aspect while the new hires are able to concentrate on the physical aspect.
Though many programs in schools have been cut or reduced because of lack of funding, the physical education program was able to remain untouched due to its newness. “There’s no history,” explains deputy superintendent Annette Alpern.
Fallbrook Union Elementary School District in San Diego has also begun hiring physical education specialists. When the district created its three-year planning document, parents spoke up with their support to hire physical education teachers while teachers requested additional time for Common Core standard planning.
As a result, Fallbrook Union added four new elementary physical education specialists, purchased new equipment and added instructional aides. The cost came to almost $375,000.
The hiring of the physical education instructors has a two-prong benefit. First, students are being taught the value of physical activity by a certified professional and second, teachers are given the time for planning of Common Core lessons.
While the new teachers have come to be an important part of the curriculum, they are still temporary for the time being. The grant to add them to the staff was a one-year grant which was primarily to allow Common Core teachers time to prepare for the new standards.
Mario DiLeva, executive director of the Torrance Teachers Association, however hopes that the district sees the importance of developing a standard physical education program in the future.