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ND works out physical ed requirements

BISMARCK -- Students of all grade levels in North Dakota public schools could see new requirements for how well they can run, jump and serve a volleyball, if new state standards are passed.

BISMARCK - Students of all grade levels in North Dakota public schools could see new requirements for how well they can run, jump and serve a volleyball, if new state standards are passed.
The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction formed a committee of physical educational professionals in June to review and update the state’s current Physical Education Content and Achievement Standards, which were last updated in 2008.
Gail Schauer, the assistant director for safe and healthy schools in the Department of Public Instruction, said the changes are intended to help integrate more activity and movement throughout the day for students.
“We really encourage schools to look at a comprehensive physical activity plan,” she said. “We’ve found that movement and physical activity can actually help your brain think better, and there’s so much research out there that proves that. Movement is so important for your mental and emotional health.”
The standards measure students’ competency and understanding in a wide variety of sports and physical activities.
Kindergartners have the most basic requirements, which include the ability to hit a balloon up in the air or drop a ball and catch it after the first bounce.
On the other hand, eighth-graders would be required to successfully execute an underhand serve in badminton, volleyball and pickleball 70 percent of the time and also successfully execute a “jab step,” also known as a side step, in a sport such as basketball.
Randy Votava, who has been teaching physical education in Grand Forks Public Schools for 23 years, said the district has been using a standards-based assessment program for physical education since the district received a $1.2 million Carol M. White Physical Education Program Grant in 2008.
In addition to specific sports skill standards, there are also more conceptual requirements related to personal and social behavior, as well as standards for recognizing the relationship between physical activity and overall health and well-being.
“Another big change is the incorporation of the term physical literacy,” Schauer said. “We want our kids to be physically literate and to move with competence and confidence in a wide variety of physical activities across a number of environments.”
To continue to improve the standards, North Dakotans are being invited to view and comment on the second draft of proposed standards.
An initial comment period began when the first draft of the proposed new standards was posted in October. The 60 comments received were used to update a second draft, which is available on the department’s website along with a survey and comment form.
Comments can be sent to DPI until April 20.

Related Topics: EDUCATION
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