Local school dedicating more time to physical education


Reporter - Lauren Adams
Photojournalist - Randall Barnes

PADUCAH, KY-  Picking up  the whistle that hangs at his neck, Shawn McDermott blows into it early Wednesday morning.

"If you get hit, get out," he instructs a group of first graders playing a dodge ball type game with balls of yarn.

For the past 13 years,  McNabb Elementary's 'Coach Mac' would not normally have seen that group back in the gymnasium until next week.





In fact, the state mandates 30 minutes a day of some physical activity.  But, even a walk outside to conduct a science experiment can count.  And as school performance has been linked more closely with test scores, administrators have tipped the scales toward more class time and less P.E.

"Once a week wasn't enough. That's what I went to Dr. Ross with. I needed more time." 

And by splitting up extras like library and computer lab, Principal Greg Ross was able to find that time.

"When I was in school Miss Ragland found a way for us to be in P.E. everyday and if it can happen then, it can happen today," he said, adding studies show more daily physical activity means more attentive, focused students.

Instead of that old-fashioned one hour, P.E. class once a week, students now have P.E. and up to four 25-minute sessions at 'Fit Lab.'

The former third grade classroom has been revamped to offer a series of age appropriate activities including rowing machines and video-game type dance exercises.

Wednesday was just the fifth day for the lab but Coach Mac said he was already pleased, "Our thing is to get them active, get them playing and that's what we've done here."

The 'Fit Lab' is just the third of its kind in the state.  Principal Ross tells us he sent out an email detailing his plan to principals across the state- and many are interested in creating their own labs.