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Sep 23, 2014 3:07 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Considering Allowing Varsity Athletes To Replace Some Gym Classes With Study Hall

Sep 23, 2014 6:45 PM

To help student athletes at Southampton High School balance academics and sports, district officials are considering allowing students to apply their participation in varsity-level, school-sanctioned sports teams toward their state-mandated physical education requirements for graduation.

If approved, the change would allow some 10th- through 12th-graders to swap out traditional physical education classes during the school day for an extra study hall. The idea is to allow student athletes who sometimes do not get home from practice or games until late in the evening to have more time to finish homework and to study. Students who opted to participate in the program would be able to do so only during the seasons their varsity sport is being played.

The district has formed a committee of teachers, parents and School Board members to determine if the policy change would work for Southampton and how it could be implemented.

“The whole point is that when kids are involved in after-school sports it takes up so much of their time,” Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Dr. Nicholas Dyno said last week. “Rather than be redundant, they can use that 45 minutes for extra study time during the season.”

According to District Superintendent Dr. Scott Farina, the New York State Department of Education already allows high schools to offer this alternative as long as a board resolution authorizes it. The district would still be responsible for making sure students meet all of the physical education standards for the state.

To date, there are three physical education learning standards every graduating student must meet in New York State. The first standard, personal health and fitness, dictates that students must have the necessary knowledge “to establish and maintain physical fitness, participate in physical activity, and maintain personal health,” the State Education website states. The second standard dictates that all students are given a safe and healthy environment for physical education activities, and the third, resource management, is to foster students’ abilities to manage their personal and community resources.

Currently, Dr. Farina said the district believes most, if not all, of the district’s varsity sports would qualify for the exemption, though the district intends to evaluate each sport to determine who would be allowed to participate.

“We are just in the investigative stage right now,” he said. “The committee is to see if we believe this would be overall beneficial to our students.”

The committee, which is led by the director of athletics, physical education, health and wellness, Darren Phillips, has met once, and a presentation to the Board of Education will be made later this fall, though a date has not yet been set.

“This is something that has been tossed around the district for the last couple of years,” Dr. Dyno said. “But the fact is we have a lot of busy students, so it has been on the forefront of our minds for the last six months.”

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How did kids manage back in the day...
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on Sep 26, 14 3:10 PM
Sounds like a great idea to me.
By J. Frankenbach (15), Southampton on Sep 26, 14 3:16 PM
The amount of homework, classwork, pressure to pass State exams, pressure to get into college (much more of a necessity in this day and age) has multiplied over the years. I don't know how the athletes fit it all in with practices and games. Many that go to college on athletic scholarships cannot keep up with both their academics and sports. I agree this is a good idea.
By Mrs.Sea (268), Sag Harbor on Sep 26, 14 4:00 PM
Bigger, faster, but better?

The latter remains to be seen...
By Mr. Z (11676), North Sea on Sep 26, 14 4:31 PM
Ummm....stupid. people have been balancing that for years. Make them take gym class. Schools are getting lazier, students are getting dumber and we should be scared for our future
By LovedHerTown (132), southampton on Sep 26, 14 5:16 PM
....and if your theories are correct, don't the parents and families of the students have any responsibility or role in all of this?
By Mrs.Sea (268), Sag Harbor on Sep 27, 14 9:44 AM
Could be a great win for a lot of student athletes, even better if they can opt out Gym Class in season and into a structured/supervised study hall/study skills class to learn make productive use of their time.

A student athlete who only puts in his practice/game with no extra time allocated to his sport could easily put in 20 hours a week into their sport.
By Lester Ware (15), Sag Harbor on Sep 27, 14 11:24 AM