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Hartselle High adds LIFE course to curriculum
The state-approved class will focus on physical education, diet and family living

By Deangelo McDaniel
dmcdaniel@decaturdaily.com 340-2469

HARTSELLE — Unable to persuade the state Department of Education to exempt Hartselle, a unanimous school board voted to add the life skill physical education class at the high school.

"We expressed our feelings to the state, but it didn't do any good," Superintendent William Michael Reed said following Monday's meeting.

Graduation requirement

Beginning with the 2006-07 freshman class, students must take at least one semester of Lifelong Individualized Fitness Education to earn a high school diploma in Alabama.

The class, which the state Department of Education approved in 2005, will focus on physical education, diet and family living.

The course's goal, according to the state, is to provide students health-enhancing physical activities that they will make part of their lives beyond high school.

No substitutions

In previous years, the state had granted waivers from physical education classes to school districts. A student at Hartselle, for example, could substitute marching band or dance for physical education.

When Reed told the board about the class in November, he said Hartselle could no longer substitute classes for physical education.

Kathy White Goodwin, a registered nurse who is director of marketing and community services at Hartselle Medical Center, supported the class.

But three board members, including Dr. Andrew Dukes, didn't because they said there is no science behind it.

"Show me where you changed someone's behavior because they took this course," Dr. Dukes said in November.

The LIFE course, state officials said, will use modified sports and games as a vehicle to reinforce and apply fitness components and principles.

After learning about heart rate, for example, students can participate in soccer or basketball before measuring their hearts.

The state said the course is designed to reinforce what students have learned and help them adopt a lifelong plan for physical activity.

Opposition noted

Reed said Hartselle expressed its opposition to the course in a letter to the state.

"They essentially gave us no option," he said. "That's why we're adding the course to the curriculum."

According to the high school schedule the board approved Monday, assistant football coach Larry Peck will teach the course.

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