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November 25, 2013

Some want marching band to count as PE

Indiana band members say it makes good sense

(Continued)

“I’m going to college, and I want to major in music education,” he said. “I would have taken more classes that really matter.”

Eastern Hancock High School is the only county school district that allows students the option to use extra-curricular activities such as band or sports to count toward a full physical education credit.

It’s what band boosters and members at New Palestine would like to see happen for students who participate in summer marching band.

“We’d like to give our kids the opportunity to take more AP (advanced placement) classes instead of having to take PE when they’ve worked hard all summer,” New Palestine band director Shawn Humphries said.

The parents who went to the Southern Hancock School Board presented statistics documenting just how much exertion the band members go through: They average more than eight hours a day on the practice field for 31 days. That equates to 253 hours during the summer. That compares to 100 hours for the typical physical education class, they pointed out.

There is precedent for approving extra-curricular activities for PE credit, parents told the school board.

In 2009, the State Board of Education made several rule changes, including the definition of credit. The intent was to allow schools more flexibility in working with students and engaging them in challenging curriculum. Students using the credit flexibility options must still meet the academic standards of the courses Physical Education I and II.

“It is being done at other schools, and in our minds, we are hopeful that it can be done here in New Palestine,” parent Jay Moan said.

Eastern Hancock Principal Dave Pfaff said his district thought the flexible option was perfect for his students.

“We’ve found that it allows our kids to take more math or other classes,” Pfaff said. “We felt it was a win-win all around and was a pretty common-sense thing we could do for our kids.”

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