The District 202 school board unanimously voted to include physical education at Evanston Township High School in students’ weighted grade point averages Monday night.
Board president Martha Burns said the district received 51 emails from parents, staff, and community members regarding the proposal. Of those responses, 94 percent of them were for the initiative, while 6 percent were opposed to it.
In an effort to improve the curriculum, the PE department has broadened the course offerings, added fitness activities in all courses, improved fitness facilities and equipment, and developed a health-related fitness assessment that will be administered each semester.
Board member Omar Khuri said he doesn’t believe the inclusion of PE in students’ GPA will cause grade inflation as there is already a distinguished grading system in PE. But he doesn’t know what the grade distribution in PE is relative to other classes.
"I do know that grading in physical education at least in this high school is not about how well you kick a soccer ball," he said.
"It’s about the engagement in the excercise not the success of the exercise. There’s a heavy academic component to physical education now in terms of evaluating your own physical fitness level or determining smart food choices. There are a number of things in the curriculum that are not physical but they are definitely education."
In response to concerns about class load, Khuri said that the demands of PE will not change because the district isn’t changing the curriculum or expectations.
"All we’re doing is including the grade in [students] overall grade point average, which puts a little more pressure on them to not take gym as lightly as they may have done so in the past," he said.
The policy will be implemented with next year’s freshmen class.