Pixel Tracker

Friday, December 14 , 2018, 12:14 am | Fair 49º


Santa Barbara School Board Approves New Criteria for Independent Study P.E. Courses

The new rules could impact students who participate in extracurricular activities in lieu of traditional physical education classes

[Editor’s Note: In an earlier story, Noozhawk reported that 55 junior high school students would no longer qualify for independent study physical education with the new restrictions. This is true for the recommendations given by Robin Sawaske, associate superintendent of education, but the final language adopted by the school board was slightly more accepting. The impact of the approved language was never discussed at Tuesday’s meeting.]

Fewer students could qualify for independent study physical education under new rules approved Tuesday night by the Santa Barbara school board.

The Santa Barbara School District allows certain secondary students to get their P.E. requirement from extracurricular sport activities. This year, 107 junior high students and 109 high school students opted out of traditional P.E. classes. It’s unclear how many students will be impacted by the altered rules next year, since applications are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

With the recommended criteria, 55 junior high students would no longer qualify for ISPE, but the board adopted language that is slightly more accepting.

Under the new rules, students must compete at a national or state level or be in advanced level courses if there is no ranking system for that activity, according to Robin Sawaske, associate superintendent of education.

They must participate in an activity for at least 15 hours every two weeks, downgraded from a recommendation of 20. Students can’t enroll in an extra elective to replace the regular physical education class, and students in 11th and 12th grades who have completed their four semesters of physical education credit for graduation may enroll in ISPE as an elective if they meet the criteria.

Since the only substantial change is the increase in required hours, Sawaske doesn’t anticipate many, if any, students getting disqualified by the board’s vote.

“I really don’t think we’re going to see a drop at all, in fact, with all this attention we could see even more people taking advantage of it.”

If students don’t spend 15 hours every two weeks on their activity, they shouldn’t be in ISPE anyway, she said, since they would have plenty of time to play outside of class.

Staff recommendations would have required students to be ranked at the 75th percentile or above in state or national competition, but the specific rank was eliminated during board discussions.

Allowing some team sports to qualify should help some student athletes stay in the ISPE program, school board member Ed Heron said. Heron believes there will be an impact, but the board’s more lenient changes haven’t upset many people he has talked to since the vote.

Parents flooded board members with objections to the original revisions at public meetings, saying the time and effort spent by students is more important than skill level and rankings.

“Please, let them be happy,” one mother said. “They’re not a number.”

Some team sports — including water polo, which 20 ISPE junior high school students play — wouldn’t have qualified under Sawaske’s recommended changes, which upset coaches and parents from the Santa Barbara Hockey Association.

Current ISPE students list their activities as dance, gymnastics, swimming, tennis, sailing, golf, aikido, fencing, skiing, baseball, basketball, horseback riding and surfing.

Sawaske said ISPE is meant to give “elite athletes” a way to fit their extracurricular sports, homework and everything else into their day, adding that it wasn’t meant to give students credit for pursuing sports merely because they were ones the school districts didn’t offer.

The push for stricter requirements came from junior high school administrators, who believe that students need to take general physical education classes for social reasons, the health component and variety of athletic activities offered.

Santa Barbara Dance Arts owner Steven Lovelace had concerns about ranking dancers and was one of many to say 20 hours per two weeks was an “excessive” requirement for student athletes.

Giselle Moseley, the mother of a ballet dancer, said the extra class time, if ISPE wasn’t an option, would cut back on time for dancing.

“There is value in P.E., but it’s not a fair trade in her eyes or mine,” she said.

The students who no longer qualify will be placed into regular P.E. classes.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.