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P.E. online? It's Possible in the Springfield Public School District

Photo Credit: Michele Skalicky
Photo Credit: Michele Skalicky

Some Springfield Public School students are in school both inside and outside the classroom—they’re taking online courses offered by the district.  The program started this school year and includes one course:  physical fitness.  So, how can someone take a P.E. class online?  Nichole Lemmon, coordinator of eLearning for the Springfield School District, says it’s actually an effective way to teach it. She says the online course emphasizes lifetime fitness…

"We're encouraging students to find a way for themselves to exercise, and we provide them with a heart rate monitor.  It's a state-of-the-art piece of technology that actually their teacher then is allowed to see how many hours they're working out, what their heart rate is, the duration of their workouts, so they are required to upload that information to their teacher, so that's how they're getting their physical fitness hours in," she said.

According to Lemmon, students, for example, are told they must do an aerobic activity and are provided with suggestions of what they might do…

"You know, if they say, 'well, I'm really into something else, like, you know, I'm really into this martial arts,' well then they can do that and wear their heart rate monitor.  We also provided the students with, basically, a little in-home gym, so we gave them weights.  We gave them a stability ball.  We gave them resistance bands so that they can do workouts without really ever having to leave their home," she said.

Class size is limited to 33 students and all courses are taught by Springfield Public School teachers already employed by the district.  Students may take an online class as part of their regular schedule or as an overload to their schedule.

Starting this summer, not only will students be able to take P.E., they’ll also be able to take other courses required for graduation:  lib & law and personal finance.  Lemmon says having online courses available should help meet the demand in the summer for those classes…

"It will allow the buildings to be, you know, not as full, but we'll also provide more opportunities for students.  So, where classes might have  been full in the past, we have two more additional sections available that you can take online," she said.

Registration for fall online classes begins tomorrow night (1/26) at 7.  Registration for summer online classes will take place in March during regular summer school registration.

According to Lemmon, 94% of students will take an online course in college, so she says taking these classes in high school will help prepare students for the future.

For KSMU News, I’m Michele Skalicky.