New Initiatives of LHS P.E.

Maddie Chang and Angie Tang

The Physical Education department at Lexington High School strives to help students lead an active lifestyle during high school and beyond. 

“Our focus is not on athletic ability or skill level but on ensuring students understand the benefits of being active and apply these skills in a way that benefits their life experience,” Eamonn Sheehan, the head of the P.E. department, said.

In the past few years, the P.E. department adapted to the pandemic by providing students with online alternatives to traditional P.E. classes. 

“We focused on emphasizing mini activity breaks during our classes, asking our classes to do some activity journaling, and encouraged them to develop activity routines that worked for them in their particular setting and to take opportunities for activity breaks,” Sheehan said.

Now that P.E. is back in person, the department is trying to return to its old curriculum with a focus on encouraging teamwork and collaboration.

We modified the curriculum to focus more on what you can do in a group… We asked kids what they would feel comfortable trying or not trying, and as things started to change and evolve with everything that was going on, we could go back to our traditional curriculum,” Josh Sideman, a P.E. and adapted P.E. teacher at LHS, said.

This year, P.E. has returned to its pre-pandemic state as activities reopen and students interact more with their teachers and peers. However, the P.E. department is still looking to improve their curriculum.

Our focus as a department is continuous improvement and it’s about taking opportunities to review what we are offering to our students and make the adjustments to make our units the best and most relevant they can be,” Sheehan said.

Student feedback is extremely important to the LHS P.E. department. Curriculum courses are decided based on student surveys, and pilot classes are often run to test different offerings. 

We do student surveys, see what kids want, try what kids like. If we feel as a department that it is something we can go with, we’ll pilot it for a semester,” Sideman said.

Next year, there are plans to change P.E. course offerings. Instead of courses such as “volleyball and badminton” or “yoga and pilates” where students spend a whole semester on one activity, P.E. classes will cover broader topics such as “collaborative P.E.” or “competitive P.E.”

This new initiative is the result of collaboration within the P.E. department. 

 “It’s nice when you can bounce ideas off each other… there are a lot more distractions these days,” Sideman said. 

By recognizing the impacts of the pandemic, the LHS P.E. department’s changes display the importance of a diverse and flexible curriculum that can accommodate student interests, while addressing potential future challenges.