The Bardvark: "All the Young Dudes Carry the News"-David Bowie
Gym Program Evolves: Waivers Cut, Elective Options ExpandThursday, October 18, 2007 By Talor Gruenwald '08
Outstanding gym programs and dynamite sports teams have never been the drawing cards of BHSEC, but Bard’s physical education program has experienced a major overhaul in the last year. Ms. Nardone, the new Physical Education Director, is continuing the work started by Mr. Larkin to expand the program’s offerings and ensure that students are adequately satisfying the requirements of DOE gym policy. Some of the developments, however, such as the end of the gym waiver program, have sparked protests from a student body used to physical education autonomy. Gym waivers allowed BHSEC students to fulfill the state-required gym credits through physical activity outside of school. There was, however, a fundamental problem with the gym waiver: apparently, it didn’t adequately fulfill state requirements. Students were not doing the amount of physical activity per week that New York State requires for four semesters during high school. Therefore, the gym waiver program has been cut, with an exception made for Year IIs who have not fulfilled their requirements and may use “Gym Independent Studies” to complete the four semesters. For everyone else, there is a new comprehensive program to ensure that students complete their gym requirements by early 11th grade, if not the end of 10th grade. After students have finished fulfilling the state requirements, Ms. Nardone is offering a slew of new electives that students in the college program can opt to take if interested. These include learning the fundamentals of many sports, including Ultimate Frisbee, Golf, and Field Hockey. Some students on sports teams, however, say that they spend much more time practicing than PE students do in gym class, and are therefore entitled to physical education credit. The girls’ basketball team, for example, practiced four days a week from 6:00 to 8:00PM last year. The administration holds that there simply wasn’t enough oversight to be sure that waiver students, many of whom did their exercise independently in private gyms, were actually putting in the required hours. In terms of school-sanctioned sports teams, Ms. Nardone would like to encourage more school-wide involvement, making sports teams a more integral part of student life. She is particularly interested in adding current club teams such as Track to the Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL). Students seem to be responding to these efforts: almost forty students expressed interest in joining the Track team. Ms. Nardone also hopes to add other sports to our list of athletic options, including flag football and flag rugby. Students have expressed interest in pursuing both of these sports, and though they will not be apart of the PSAL, they will have comparable season lengths and will be competitive.