Rochester (N.Y.) Schools Find Wiggle Room In Phys Ed Requirement

Thursday, September 22, 2011

At School 35, teacher Michael Ram's fourth-graders take turns standing in front of the class and acting out the meanings of vocabulary words: bewildered; marvel; reminded.

"There's always an opportunity to get them moving," said Ram, who even taps into the transition time between lessons for physical activity.

This may be a far cry from a traditional gym class, but physical lessons like the one in Ram's class are becoming more common throughout the City School District as budget cuts have forced regular classroom teachers to take on some responsibility for keeping their students active.

This year the district had to eliminate nearly two dozen physical education teachers because of budget cuts, leaving less staff for traditional gym classes. Yet schools still have to meet a state requirement that all students in grades kindergarten through six get 120 minutes of physical activity per week.

So they are turning to regular classroom teachers to fulfill the mandate.

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