Physical Education Exemption Examined, Rejected at Madison School Board Meeting

February 27, 2013 at 7:04 AM

MADISON, NJ – A lengthy discussion at the Tuesday, Feb. 26, Board of Education meeting centered on a presentation in relation to exempting high school athletes from physical education classes.
“We’ve never investigated the policy to this extent,” High School Principal Gregory Robertson told the board. “We surveyed 40 schools and spoke with four principals and various professional organizations. We’ve come to the conclusion that there is value in physical education.” He added, however, that there are areas that could be improved and understands why parents have sound reasons to request exemptions. “I hope we can clear this up and show why it’s necessary.”  Robertson said he entered the issue with an open mind.  “At the conclusion, we decided this is not in the best interest of our students.”
Sean Dowling, District Supervisor of Athletics, Health and Physical Education, said, “We feel it’s in the best interest of the students to take physical education. It benefits the whole child.” He cited concerns about obesity and had talked to students, most of whom, he said, are “very pro phy ed, I’d say the overwhelming majority.” In addition, the curriculum provides “equal opportunity” for all students. Dowling emphasized the value of physical education in relieving stress, team building, problem solving, conflict resolution, compassion and caring. Such opportunities as Project Adventure help students get together with others they might not do otherwise, he said.
The committee consulted with schools in Randolph, Jefferson and Cranford. They were told at one that the exemption was “a bookkeeping nightmare and they got rid of it.” Students became bored with study halls, he said, and asked to be in phys ed classes instead. A major concern, Dowling said, is that the exemption opens a “Pandora’s box” with every organization asking for exemptions. He noted that students in band, musical theatre and other areas also put in long hours, not just athletes.   Health education has taken on a bigger role, he said, with emphasis on nutrition, fitness, human sexuality and wellness.

Board member Linda Gilbert said that initially she was in favor of exemptions, recounting her daughter’s long hours on the swimming team.  But when she fast-forwarded 10 years to her son’s high school experience, the curriculum had changed. Now, students are offered classes in Pilates, yoga, dance and other activities.
Board member Shade Grahling read a letter from the Curriculum Committee, supporting the recommendation that there be no waiver. “We took the issue very seriously,” she said. “It would be complicated to administer and addresses a relatively small portion of students.”
Robertson said the block scheduling, with a common lunch time, has opened up the day and helps the entire student body.  
One parent asked about a pass/fail option on a voluntary basis.  “We can’t create policies for pockets of kids,” Robertson said. “I want to call a spade a spade. We can’t work with specific groups, like funneling labs into lunch. We decided not to go that route.” He said he hoped students would feel comfortable coming to him or other administrators if they have concerns.

Another issue arose about a proposed Central Avenue School trip. Superintendent of Schools Michael Rossi said the board approved a two-day trip for the fifth grade class, assuming they would come back at the end of each day. But parents had the understanding this would be an overnight trip, but had no additional information. Rossi said, “That has not been approved.” He said he would speak with the teachers to clarify the matter. “This didn’t go right and we need to fix the process,” he said. One parent suggested that school trips be more consistent among the elementary schools. “This has come up in the past,” Grahling said. Rossi said the matter would be addressed again. 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News


Lashz Studio Will Have You Looking Beautiful For The Holidays

December 3, 2016

Happy Holidays from Lashz Studio!

We are happy to celebrate another holiday season with our customers. Lashz provides superior customer service with expertise in eyelash extension, threading, facial hair removal and microblading (semi-permanent 3D hair strokes). Please take advantage of our holiday season offers.

See you soon at LASHZ!

26 Cook Avenue, Madison, New ...

REDUX Restaurant in Madison Has Your Tastebuds Covered This Winter

Don’t want to cook? We have you covered! The Market at Redux offers prepared meals, made from scratch in our kitchen ready for you to take home! Our offers rotate often, so stop in or give us a call to find out what we have each week. We offer everything from entrees to sides to dessert; it’s a one-stop shop! Redux always has multiple homemade fresh soups available by the ...

Think Of Madison Pharmacy For All Your Gift Giving Needs & Stocking Stuffers

Wishing Our Neighbors a Happy & Healthy Holiday Season!

Madison Pharmacy offers a large selection of unique gifts and wonderful stocking stuffers for everyone on your holiday list. Ear piercing gift certificates are also available to surprise that special someone in your life! 

Located right in the heart of downtown Madison, New Jersey * 66 Main ...

The Chatham Club Invites You to Give the Gift of Health…The Best Gift There Is!

The Chatham Club's favorite holiday gift picks…

Personal Training - Take your fitness to another level with one-hour personal training sessions, buddy sessions and more!

Pilates – Strengthen your core in our Pilates Studio with private sessions , reformer and tower classes. 

Sports Performance Training for your young athlete in both our indoor and outdoor ...

Look No Further Then Tons of Toys in Madison For Every Kid on Your List

For the holiday season, be sure to take advantage of Tons of Toys hold, wrap & deliver program.  Tons Of Toys will fill the items on your list, hold all the toys for you, and wrap them completely for free. Large items that need to be assembled or delivered can also be processed at no cost to you.

As well, if you can't find what you're looking for, Tons of Toys has 5 ...

STRYXE in Madison is The Place To Be This Holiday Season

Don't miss out on the STRYXE Holiday Gift Card special. Guests receive a $20 STRYXE Bonus Card with every $100 STRYXE Card purchase through Dec. 15!  

Santa will be visiting STRYXE Dec.11 from 6p.m. to 7p.m., in conjunction with the Sundays special.

STRYXE - 300 Main Street -Madison, New Jersey



Don’t Know What to Get That Special Someone? A Gift Basket from Healthy Italia is the Answer!

Whether you have that one hard-to-buy-for person on your list or a group of people you want to show your appreciation to this holiday season, a basket from Healthy Italia makes gift giving easy!

Every handmade basket is exquisitely designed and filled with quality products that will be enjoyed long after unwrapping.

Premade baskets ranging from $50 to $200 are available online ...

MADISON MUD Gift Certificates Are the Perfect Present for the Holidays

Think about it: A gift certificate for a friend or loved one will benefit you too!

Buy someone an 8 week class, they will make you a mug. Buy a gift certificate for 2 to Ladies Night Sip n Spin or Couples Night and you will get to go too!

It is a win-win situation - And now through Dec 10th SAVE 10% OFF ANY gift certificate purchase over $60!

MUD is also a perfect place to ...

STEWART-MORRIS Awards, Gifts & Flags; Unique Holiday Gifts For Individuals and Businesses


Featuring etched glassware, engraved frames and monogrammed jewelry.

We offer the latest Toss Design collection of totes, travel bags and accessories.

Our custom and stock flags help our customers show their true colors.

Corporate gifts and awards are our specialty.


Stewart-Morris, Inc. has been serving the local community since ...

Happy Holidays From Cleaners Advantage

'Tis the Season to take ADVANTAGE of every opportunity to save time and money!  CLEANERS ADVANTAGE is your local Delivery Service for Dry Cleaning and Laundry. We are family-owned business and BELIEVE in providing a quality service, at a competitive price with the primary goal of "Giving Back". Mention this AD and receive $20 off your First order of Dry ...

Story Time and Sing-a-Long with Santa

December 8, 2016

he Madison High School Class of 2020 will host “Story Time and Sing Along with Santa” from 2:00 to 4:00 PM Saturday, December 17, in the Madison High School cafeteria, 170 Ridgedale Avenue. Hot Chocolate, juice and cookies will be served with coffee available for the adults.  

Youngsters will be able to color and make small holiday crafts.  The afternoon  will be ...

Beckerman’s Theory of Everything

Any armchair theoretical physicist knows that Stephen Hawking has pursued a lifelong quest to come up with a Theory of Everything. This all-encompassing theory would tie together general relativity (large scale and high mass galaxies, stars, etc), quantum theory (quantum mechanics, quarks, atoms, subatomic particles), and Newtonian physics (gravity on small bodies, gas laws, electromagnetism) to ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, December 10, 9:00 AM

Charlie Brown's of Chatham, Chatham Township

Breakfast with Santa

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back Health & Wellness Other Police & Fire

Sat, December 10, 10:00 AM

Home Sweet Home, Madison

Mingle and Jingle at Home Sweet Home



Sat, December 10, 5:00 PM

Madison Area YMCA - Kids Central, Madison

Parents' Night Out: Date Night

Education Giving Back