New regime brings changes to P.E.

Among the list of new changes that were brought to Ames High this year, few are more noticeable and more directly influence the student body than those that apply to the Physical Education department. PE is now split into two sections, aerobic and anaerobic, neither to include swimming. Aerobic classes focus on aerobic exercises (go figure), such as running, jogging, walking, and any other activity that requires more endurance and cardiovascular health than brute force. Likewise, anaerobic classes focus on anaerobic activities that build muscular strength. This is accomplished mainly through weight lifting and other activities that require an explosion of force rather than a sustained effort for an extended period of time. This section of P.E. is more commonly referred to as “weightlifting” by the majority of the student body. If anyone wants to sign up for “weightlifting” P.E. they should talk to their counselor soon as there is still room for more students in those classes. “I like weightlifting,” said junior Torry Hand. “I feel more empowered when I lift than when I run.” Aside from that, the only other changes are that students no longer have to make up PE classes that they miss due to an excused absence, although unexcused absences and no-dresses still result in makeups. Also, the once loosely enforced dress code of a plain t-shirt and shorts is now strictly adhered to. “It is a stupid rule,” said junior Katelyn Thilges. “They should at least let us wear Ames High shirts.” Other students agree. “It is a discouragement of school spirit!” said junior Emily Vernon. But why change PE at all? What was so bad about the old system that made the administration change it? Not to say that the changes are bad, or that it isn’t a good thing that students won’t fail PE just because they got sick on the last day of the quarter and couldn’t schedule a make up before the grades were submitted. Nor that anyone will really miss having to swim in the middle of the winter. However, many students are wondering why the administration changed some PE policies that had been present for several years. “It started with the change in the grading system,” said PE teacher Tracy Rial, “We met with Mr. Evans, who said that grades needed to be more performance-based.” Under the previous PE system, it was difficult for PE teachers to measure a student’s performance, but with the new aerobic and anaerobic programs, It is much easier for students to be assessed objectively. “With the aerobic classes, we have the students run the pacer at the beginning of the semester,” said Rial, “then, we have them run it again at the end of the semester. To pass, they have to maintain their score from the beginning or improve.” Likewise, in the anaerobic classes, students will be assessed as to how much they can lift at the beginning and end of the semester, and they have to remain the same or improve to pass. Overall, the changes to PE are just something that students are going to have to deal with. There are good sides and bad sides to every policy change, and the PE changes are no exception. “I think PE is moving in the right direction,” said Rial.