Carroll County Public School officials are looking into the impact of requiring high school students to take only one half-credit gym class as opposed to the current standard of two half-credit gym classes.
At a recent school board meeting, vice president Barbara Shreeve said that reducing the gym class requirement would allow students more flexibility for academics in their schedules.
According to Shreeve, students have said the second half-credit of gym interferes with advanced placement courses and other full-credit classes when scheduling their junior and senior years.
Students would still have the option to take a second gym class, but it wouldn't be a graduation requirement.
The state of Maryland requires high school students to take only one physical education class. The second physical education class requirement is a county requirement.
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School Superintendent Stephen Guthrie said that after the board meeting he formed a committee to "study the impact this revision to our graduation requirements would have on the school system."
"I think it's beneficial to all parties not to rush the decision, but take some time to fully examine it so that nothing is missed," Guthrie said.
Physical Education Supervisor for CCPS Linda Kephart told Patch that she is opposed to eliminating the second gym credit requirement.
"I am not in favor of this, most importantly for the health and wellbeing of students," Kephart said. "We provide a balanced curriculum and a lot of life time choices for students in that elective half-credit.
"I think it is more of a schedulding issue rather than valueing Phys. Ed," Kephart said. "It's only a half credit, it's not going to make or break their schedule."
Guthrie said that he has received some feedback on the issue, most of which he said has been opposed to the change. Guthrie added that the board has not formally presented the issue for public comment because there is no proposal on the table.
"Currently, we are only exploring the potential impact of this change," Gurthrie said. "I hope to bring back impact information to the Board in the next several months and make a final decision this spring."
Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Steve Johnson said it is important for students to have access to learning about living healthy lifestyles.
According to Johnson, one half-credit of physical education translates into approximately eight weeks of a class that meets daily. The students have a choice of one of the following courses: Team Sports, Individual/Dual Sports, Weight Training, Advanced Weight Training, Personal Fitness, Gymnastics and Tumbling.
"I do believe in the power of education, and I believe that students can and do acquire specific learnings from highly qualified educators that will help them live a more active and healthy lifestyle," Johnson said.