Central Kitsap School District Consider Exempting Student Athletes From PE Requirements

Right now, Washington State’s Central Kitsap School District (CKSD) and eight other geographic service districts set their PE standards in accordance the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA). The WIAA is a private, nonprofit service organization that establishes PE requirement policy rules for the 800 schools within their nine school districts to ensure all schools operate under the same conditions.

Yet, the CKSD board members are considering deviating from the WIAA district policy so that students participating un extracurricular athletic activities could waive up to one full PE credit of the two PE credits required for high school graduation. CKSD director of secondary teaching and learning, Franklyn McKenzie, stressed that schedule gaps that occur as a result of PE exemptions would not equate to fewer classes for student athletes. Instead, this exemption could allow students to fill PE time slots with other classes.

WIAA-approved athletics and activities include: cheer, baseball, track and field, soccer, dance, cross-country, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, tennis, football, swimming and diving, golf, bowling, softball, and gymnastics.

In order to qualify for the waiver, the student would need to complete at least 75 hours or rigorous activity that includes elements of PE. However, students could only earn 1.5 hours at a time to reach their 75-hour goal. For example, if a football player practiced for three-hour stretch of time, he could only claim 1.5 of those hours.

CKSD members admit that some gray areas must be addressed before a final decision is made:

  • Board member Eric Greene raises questions how student injuries will be managed.
  • Board President Bruce Richards worries that students will struggle to meet the 75-hour requirement.
  • Board member Mark Gaines wonders how sports such as lacrosse, which is not listed under the WIAA-approved athletics and activities, will be accommodated.

Another board member, Jeanie Schulze, believes the best way to reach a resolution is for the CKSD to work collaboratively with school PE departments to create a linear policy.