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Physical education takes the court at U-46 meeting

By Seth Hancock
  Physical education is more than just taking a break from the academic day at Bartlett High School.
  That was the message Bartlett PE teacher Eric Ilich told the Board of Education in School District U-46 when he spoke for his school’s PE department during public comments at a board meeting on Monday, March 21.
  Ilich called that PE staff at Bartlett “a dedicated, smart, passionate group of professionals who have a shared mission of doing what is best for kids each and every day.”
  “We do our very best to provide learning and leadership opportunities for our students in a variety of ways,” Ilich said. “Physical education at Bartlett High School is as much about learning concepts as it is about getting moving.”
  Students have had the opportunity to learn in a variety of ways according to Ilich, who said the Junior Leaders Program held a “Dancing with the Stars” competition, and the PE department held the fourth annual team handball tournament for juniors and seniors, an all-day event that was held earlier in April.
  The handball event is a way to promote participation, support, sportsmanship and intensity.
  “This event highlights the qualities of a team player, sportsmanship and the competitive spirit of our students in a non-traditional sport, team handball,” Ilich told the board. “This is one of the most anticipated events at Bartlett High School and is a very memorable learning opportunity for our students.”
  Ilich said the PE students at Bartlett have been fitness tested four times this year which “includes the students completing eight fitness tests from pushups to the pacer, collecting their data, charting and graphing results, reflecting and goal setting. Fitness testing is now imbedded in our physical education culture. We’ve been testing since 2007.”
  Students learn a wide-range of things in PE according to Ilich “from learning muscles and bones and strength training exercises in the fitness center to working in groups, teams and communicating, cooperating and fulfilling roles and learning the importance of trust with classmates of varying skill sets.”
  Concluding his comments, Ilich quoted Harvard professor Dr. John Ratey’s book “Spark.”
  “You have the power to change your brain, all you have to do is lace up your running shoes,” Ilich said.
  Ilich invited members of the board to come out to Bartlett and witness or participate in a PE class, and Jeanette Ward took him up on the offer. She went on Monday, April 11 to participate in the presidential fitness test, and at the board meeting that evening she said she completed all eight tests.
  “I had a lot of fun, and Eric was a great host and I really appreciated that,” Ward said.



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