Physical Education now four bands a week due to policy tweak

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Starting this term, 11th and 12th grade students will no longer have to attend additional gym classes to satisfy Department of Education physical education requirements. The administration has negotiated with the DOE extensively and has reached an alternative solution to the scheduling issue.

According to a letter released by Principal Brian Condon on Monday, juniors and seniors currently enrolled in daily gym classes will return to having PE four bands per week. For the first two days of the week, upperclassmen will attend Fitness PE class and for the following two days, they will attend their elective PE class. Nevertheless, instructors will remain consistent throughout the entire week. 

Since each gym class is worth 0.5 credits and the DOE only stipulates that gym classes must be at least two days long, this solution allows upperclassmen to compensate for a PE credit deficit created by the previous schedule. THHS recently switched from a five-day model to a three-two split physical education model, and because students themselves were not responsible for this change, an important exception to the DOE regulation of one physical education class per semester was made. Principal Condon assured, “It’s perfectly legal, perfectly legitimate, and perfectly within the academic policy for New York City and New York State.” By programming students with two gym classes each, they earn one PE credit per semester and fulfill graduation requirements. 

Mr. Condon shared that one of the administration’s goals with this new model is to improve attendance in gym classes. 

“What we want kids to understand is that when a senior or junior misses a day of Phys Ed, they’re not missing 25% of the week; they’re missing 50% of the week so that’s why you really need to make sure that you get to class and you’re there,” he said.

Still, many upperclassmen were pleased with the changes, preferring this new arrangement over the previous schedule. 

“I’m glad that we’re going back to having gym four times a week,” said junior Tanveer Dhilon. “As someone who has zero band on Fridays, having to come to school early as well as stay later for gym, and then clubs really took away from having half-days on Friday, I’m glad we’re making the switch.”

“I think this new schedule is a good fix and it will be nice to return back to normal,” agreed junior Emmanuella Borukh. 

Freshmen and sophomores will be unaffected by these new changes. As they remain enrolled in current PE classes, four days per week, underclassmen are on track to complete appropriate requirements before graduating without any additional modifications.

“Since my PE schedule didn’t change, I think it’s okay and I’m going to keep following my regular schedule,” said freshman Tiffany Cheung.

However, freshmen and sophomores will likely take health in their senior year to fulfill eight full semesters of PE.

Principal Condon envisions a shift in the THHS physical education curriculum that includes lessons on drug, alcohol, and smoking awareness and prevention. When students take health in their senior year, the course will focus on facilitating their transition to college. Principal Condon described, “There’s a lot of issues around mental health, social skills, [etc.] that you may encounter in college.” Addressing these issues becomes increasingly relevant as students come closer to entering higher education. 

The original modifications made last October were mandated by the DOE to fulfill graduation requirements. While students and faculty were dissatisfied, THHS administration worked to solve the issue. Principal Condon explained, “[The administration] continued to engage with the different parts of the Department of Education to get this exemption made.” 

Concluding the recently published PE memorandum, Principal Condon wrote, “We promised that we would find a solution to the problem we faced last October, and we are delivering on that promise.”

Photo by Joshua Vieira, Sports Photography Editor.

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