Unified Physical Education class has yet to be approved

Unified Physical Education, a pilot course, that was to be led by Samantha Stewart, Adaptive Physical Education teacher, has yet to be approved. This physical education class was meant for students with and without disabilities to form a regular PE class in which the students learn about wellness, exercise, healthy eating habits and inclusion. 

The class was supported and approved by Steve Lepire, principal of NPHS, yet the class could not run its course this semester. There was concern about the students getting the necessary amount of minutes dedicated to their support if Stewart was to take on both groups of students. Lepire noted there would have to be two teachers for this course, one for the general education students, along with Stewart for the special education students. 

“In order to run the class the proper way to ensure that all students and adaptive physical education received their required minutes, we would have to have a general ed teacher and an adaptive PE teacher into the unified PE class. The reason why we need to have a general education teacher in there is to make sure that the students that are in there because of their adaptive physical education class, is to ensure they receive all their minutes that are required and in their IEP (Individualized Education Program) by their physical education teacher. The class is postponed until we can find a way to run the class effectively,” Lepire said.

Stewart has many goals for the class and wanted to focus on inclusion and getting more students involved in the special education program. 

“Through this course and having inclusion, and our school does an awesome job with our Unified Sports, Panther Pals, all of that, we are inclusive, but it’s stepping it up another notch,” Stewart said.

Another supporter of the Unified Physical Education class is Anne Alvarez, a teacher for the severely handicapped. Alvarez believes the class would be beneficial to both special education and general education students.

“I think our students would have worked harder to reach goals that they thought might have been beyond them, but now they say ‘Oh I can do this if someone’s with me.’ I think that they would have felt better about themselves and communicated better with the kids around campus, and I think the kids around campus would have communicated better with our students,” Alvarez said.

Stewart and Alvarez are going to continue pushing for the class to happen in the upcoming second semester. This class would also help to inform and teach students about inclusion and how they should interact with and treat students with disabilities.

Despite the class being postponed, the Unified Sports Club is another outlet for students to interact and connect. This club is led by Jennifer Finger, junior and club president, and is participating in upcoming Unified Sports tournaments in kickball, basketball, etc.

Austin Moncourtois, sophomore and student in Stewart’s adaptive physical education class, was going to be a part of this new course, and is a member of the Unified Sports Club.

“I like competing against the other teams and just playing with my teammates and all that. I am upset that we didn’t get to do that because I was looking forward to playing on the team,” Moncourtois said.

1 Comment