ETHS considers extending GPA to include P.E. classes

Jaime Griesgraber

The District 202 school board Monday night heard a presentation about the physical education department, the first of three departmental presentations that will be given this year.

“When most of us were in high school, P.E. was about playing games,” said Shirley Nannini, interim chairwoman for the P.E. department. “We are now compelled by health statistics in this country that have led us to reform P.E.”

Nannini said Evanston Township High School’s department has made a lot of changes in past years. In addition to fitness, the department must focus on overall wellness, she said.

ETHS students currently must take a semester of physical education during both their freshman and sophomore years.

P.E. courses — including dance, spinning, lifeguard certification, sports medicine and an adventure education class where students learn survival skills — also are offered as electives for juniors and seniors.

Chad Harris, a P.E. teacher at ETHS, said the overall goal of the department is for students to learn the importance of physical health as a life-long endeavor.

“We don’t want our students to buy a treadmill in the future and use it as a very expensive clothes hanger,” Harris said.

During the presentation, Nannini raised the issue of counting P.E. grades in students’ GPAs. Currently grades for physical education are not factored in.

Including the grades would “give students the message that this is important,” she said.

Superintendent Allan Alson said the issue will be part of an ongoing examination of ETHS’s class-ranking policy, which will be presented to the board later.

The board unanimously approved a new draft of ETHS’s policy on early graduation, which Alson said was “simply to ensure that we have a policy in place for students who are eligible.”

Board member Jane Colleton said she was concerned ETHS was encouraging students to graduate too early, but Alson disagreed.

“ETHS does not encourage early graduation,” he said.