WARWICK, RI – Tuesday night, the Warwick School Committee voted to table a health/physical education policy, approved an $11,000 Gamm after-school program and OK’d new Tech Department Chromebooks at $982K, both grant-funded.
“Last month I did not support this policy as written,” said Committee Vice-Chairman Shaun Galligan, who was not satisfied with the physical education component.
The policy reads, in part:
“A quality physical education program is an essential component for all students to learn about and participate in physical activity. Physical activity, with or without accommodation as needed, should be included in a school’s daily education program from Kindergarten through grade 12. Physical activity should include regular instructional physical education, in accordance with The Rhode Island Physical Education Framework, as well as co-curricular activities, and recess.
Every Warwick school will adhere to RI state requirements for physical Education.
According to RIGL§16-22-4, Instruction in Health and Physical Education, physical education is required for all students in grades K-12, with curriculum aligned with the RI Physical Education Framework. The District will provide students with an average of 100 minutes per week of Health/Physical Education. Students will be moderately to vigorously active for at least 50 percent of PE time. Free play, and after-school activities are not counted as Physical Education. All Physical Education classes will be taught by a certified, highly qualified Physical Education teacher. PE teachers are encouraged to seek yearly professional development in PE and physical activity to stay current and enthusiastic about the curriculum goals and maintain their role as a physical activity professional in the school building.”
During the meeting, Galligan said he didn’t believe students would be getting 100 minutes of health/physical education per week under the new policy.
“My misunderstanding is they had two physical education classes and a health (class), but if it’s a PE and a health, then it’s just 90 (minutes),” said Curriculum coordinator Anne Siesel. “(Students) still get that 10 minutes of physical activity with time where they’re doing physical movement in the classroom by a highly qualified, certified teacher. Not a PE teacher, but a highly qualified teacher.”
“Based on that response right here, this policy is not ready to move forward tonight because that’s exactly what’s on page nine of this document,” Galligan said. “I think what we’re doing here is we’re putting the cart before the horse. I’m speaking on behalf of all parents. Let’s stop writing things that we’re not doing.”
“This is potentially just a language issue,” said committee chairman David Testa, “The policy should reflect what we’re doing.”
“We’ve got to fix this,” said member Leah Hazelwood, noting there were problems with the policy at the middle and high school levels.
“They go without physical education for more than a year,” Hazelwood noted. Last month, Siesel told Galligan the district’s curriculum is based on the physical education standards set by RIDE and was updated within the last five years.
The policy will be reviewed again by the committee at a future date.
Gamm After-School Program OK’d
In other news, the School Committee approved the Grant Department purchase of Gamm Theatre services for a Gamm after-school program at Norwood Elementary School. There will be two programs. One for grades K-2 and one for grades 3-5.
Both programs will run eight weeks. The cost is $5,600 per program, $11,200 total, funded with CBO Extended Learning Grant Funds.
Tech Department Getting New Chromebooks
The Committee also approved grant-funded Chromebooks for The Technology Department, at $393 each. They ordered 2500.
“These will be used for new staff members and to replace existing aging devices,” said Jeff Taylor, Director of Technology.
Taylor noted the expenditure and vendor was approved by and funded by the Federal Government’s ECF Round 3 Program. This was part of the $1,220,563.62 grant that was received for student and staff Chromebook Devices.
“These will lock in the purchase of these devices for students in the 2024-2025 school year,” Taylor added.
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