Elk River School District Proposes Changes to Physical Education and Health Requirements

Updated: 01/06/2014 11:27 PM KSTP.com By: Kate Renner

Some big changes proposed for the ISD 728 Elk River School District involve just how active their students will be during the school day.

The school board met Monday night to discuss changes to the physical education and health requirements.

The meeting was a work session for the school board to finalize the proposal, which includes reducing the amount of physical education high school students must take, and cutting two-thirds of the health classes in middle school. Parents were invited to listen in.

Next week is the earliest the proposal could be voted on; that's when there will be time for public opinion.

Steve Jacob's two daughters are three-sport athletes. "I'm in favor of keeping gym for sure where it's at. I think it's important for them to have that outlet during the day, some kids that's where they thrive," he said.

The Elk River school district is proposing making one of the two physical education requirements in high school an elective. Two varsity women's basketball players say that could be a better play for their future.

"I think the Spanish might be more (beneficial), because I do practice (basketball) every day, so I don't need to gym as much, but for other kids, they might need it more if they don't play sports," said Freshman Gabi Haack.

Another big change proposed at the middle school level is cutting health in the 6th and 8th grades.

"Health will remain the same in 7th grade, but the standards will be met in other curricular areas such as science and family and consumer science," said Superintendent Dr. Mark Bezek.

Down at the elementary level, technology and someday Spanish will rotate in as electives in place of gym once a week.

Superintendent Dr. Mark Bezek says his district needs to offer more world language and technology courses over physical education to be attractive and to draw and keep students, he hopes will develop to be well-rounded.

Some parents expressed concern about the rising childhood obesity rates, but Superintendent Dr. Bezek says he believes habits learned after the school day are more responsible for the obesity trends than what happens at school.