Pine Valley board discusses physical education position

SOUTH DAYTON – With the retirement of an elementary physical education teacher, the Pine Valley Board of Education discussed the possibility of not filling the vacancy.

Charlie LaDuca, physical education teacher, will be retiring at the end of this current school year. Laurie Beaton, a physical education teacher in the elementary school, presented to the board of education Thursday on how her schedule could potentially look without LaDuca.

Beaton explained four scenarios including herself as the only full-time physical education teacher, with a part-time teacher, with a full-time teacher and with the high school physical education teachers teaching elementary swim classes.

High school teachers Chris Buczek and Kayla Corsaro have seen a decrease in the number of classes they teach due to lower enrollments. Superintendent Pete Morgante said a decrease in seventh and eighth graders has eliminated a section of gym classes.

LaDuca stressed the importance of having physical education in the elementary school, stating grades K through 6 are “formative years.” Having two full-time teachers is important, LaDuca added. If children are misbehaving, one teacher can continue a lesson while the other teacher works with the student. In Pine Valley, one out of every five students has an Individualized Educational Plan, according to LaDuca.

With two full-time gym teachers in the elementary school, students would have 90 minutes of gym class each week in Pre-K through second grade and 120 minutes per week for third to sixth grade. If the district were to have Buczek and Corsaro teach swimming in addition to a part-time physical education teacher, students would receive the same amount of physical activity as if there were two full-time teachers.

If Beaton was the only full-time teacher and high school teachers taught swimming, students would receive 30 minutes of gym time weekly for Pre-K, 60 minutes for kindergarten through second grade and 120 minutes for third to sixth grades. If Beaton had to continue to teach swimming as the only full-time teacher, Pre-K students would receive 30 minutes of gym time, kindergarten through second grade students would receive 60 minutes and students in grades 3 through 6 would have 90 minutes of gym class each week.

“… Our product is children and that’s a precious commodity,” LaDuca said.

An additional benefit of having two full-time teachers is it allows coverage in both locker rooms during class periods, but also allows flexibility of having gender-separated classes. Beaton said she will talk with female students about nutrition and puberty when the male students are not included in the class.

With LaDuca’s upcoming retirement, the board of education and Morgante expressed gratitude for his years of service. LaDuca said he could not think of anything else he would rather do than teach. The board of education approved advertising for LaDuca’s replacement. Board members will decide at the next meeting on June 19 if the position should be full- or part-time.

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