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Storm Lake students to get academic credits, no GPA help, for phys ed

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Physical Education will garner academic credits at Storm Lake High School, the school board approved recently.

High School Principal Teresa Coenen came to the board last month to discuss the possibility of allowing academic credits toward graduation. Currently, the SLHS full-time students are required to participate in and pass physical education classes each semester. Waivers are granted to students participating in athletics. The State of Iowa requires that all students who are physically able should participatein 22.5 days of physical education classes per semester. The rules are more stringent at SLHS. Students must participate 36 days each semester.

The State of Iowa allows schools to award academic/graduation credit; but since 1990 PE credit has not counted toward grade point average or graduation requirements in Storm Lake.

Coenen finds that many schools throughout the state give credit and many apply the credit to the students' GPA - including Alta, Schaller-Crestland and Spencer.

The high school PE teachers unanimously support the concept of giving academic credit to students with the following stipulations:

* .4 credits earned each semester, with a maximum allowable credit of 3.2 in four years.

* Students would not be allowed to take multiple periods of PE for additional credit.

* PE credit would not be counted toward GPA, but would count toward high school graduation requirements.

* Students who currently qualify for sports waivers would receive PE credit as long as they participate in PE during one quarter of each semester. If a student waives the entire semester of PE to participate in sports, he/she will not receive PE credit.

The teachers also unanimously agreed that PE would be "more meaningful" to the students if they were given credit.

Students are not graded on their abilities, as all students differ in the areas of athleticism, but on attendance, preparation and participation to the best of their abilities.

With some students falling short for fulfilling their graduation requirements, the PE credits will help some be able to graduate on time.

"You'll make some students very, very happy," Coenen said.

The credits will be granted retroactively for all students currently enrolled in high school.

In other board of education news:

The school administrators will be taking a long hard look at the course offerings of the League of Schools which offers students the opportunity to take part in CNA, auto body and building and trades classes with Iowa Central Community College teachers. Currently, the CNA and auto body classes are offered at the Newell-Fonda High School and the building and trades classes are offered at Alta.

Currently students from SLHS enrolled in these classes are bused to the neighboring communities. Changes in location are being looked at, said Superintendent Dr. Paul Tedesco, as "over 80 percent of the students are from Storm Lake."

He has questions why those classes are not being offered in Storm Lake to cut down on the loss of education time.

Administrators at N-F and Alta have been contacted to see if the site for these classes were changed to SLHS, if they would still allow students to take part. Alta students could run into problems as they have changed to a nine-period day which means shorter class time for travel.

Discussion will continue with all schools involved.

A certificate of substantial completion was accepted from Lundell Construction on the site work for the elementary school project. A four-week extension to Lundell Construction was also granted to complete work that was unable to be completed due to the wet conditions in August which delayed the progress.

Still to be completed include: the south detention pond; placement of topsoil along the east property line; grading on the berm south of the south detention; repairing the Dumkreiger rock garden; removing temporary access drive and culvert; and finish grading the south end of the main detention pond.



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