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Online News Day or Knight - Official news site of North Penn High School - 1340 Valley Forge Rd. Lansdale, PA

The Knight Crier

Online News Day or Knight - Official news site of North Penn High School - 1340 Valley Forge Rd. Lansdale, PA

The Knight Crier

NPSD implementing new PE courses for the 2024-25 school year

Maddie Cimino
North Penn’s 1st period PE includes students playing a game of Vollleyball.

New opportunities are presented every second of every day. Whether it’s getting a new job, getting offered a raise, or even meeting a new person, opportunities present changes, but that’s not always a bad thing. 

For students at North Penn High School, change is very familiar as the school district is constantly upgrading and adding to the courses provided for their students. Over the years, they have introduced a variety of different classes, but for the 2024-2025 school year, they emphasized the addition of Physical Education courses. 

“[This upcoming year] we have added 3 courses: Unified PE, Movement and Mindfulness, and Coaching/Refereeing,” North Penn High School’s Health and Physical Education Chairman David Franek said. 

With these additions, North Penn can target the diversity that exudes in the halls of the high school and allow the opportunity for unification between all students. 

“The Unified PE course [takes the form of] the buddy system that we have with Unified Bocce, Regular Ed. students paired up with our Special Education students,” Franek stated. “There are various special needs classes that we are going to have regular ed students paired up with as mentors for various components of our PE classes.” 

“[Through this], students get this great experience of working as a buddy, one on one, with their peers in a physical activity setting,” Franek continued. “This is something that has come up year after year, and I can’t believe it has taken this long, but we are excited to offer it.”

Along with tending to the diversity, the school district normally aims to provide courses for their student body that will set them up for their future or even provide them part-time jobs while they are still enrolled in high school. Currently, there are opportunities to earn a lifeguard certification and CPR and first aid certifications; however, this upcoming year, they are adding an option for a Coaching and Refereeing certification. 

“The Coaching and Refereeing class came about from a survey we did with the student body [around the time of the pandemic],” Franek said. 

“[There is] a decline in officials so we wanted to do something to encourage kids to make it a part-time [job] or possibly pursue it as a profession,” Franek continued. “We want to [give] more people to be able to provide a service to the community, like officiating [or coaching].”

These certifications aren’t binding; however, they allow for a side job for students to make money and test out a career pathway that could be of interest to them. 

“[By adding this course], we aren’t saying that every kid is going to make a career out of it, but people have. Sean McDermot, former North Penn K-10 student, now head coach of the Buffalo Bills, or even to a lesser degree we have had graduates that have come back and are now coaches [at the high school].”

The final PE course that is being offered next year is a Movement and Mindfulness course. With stress levels rising, the district wanted to allow the opportunity for students to lower anxieties while finding the best version of themselves. 

“Every year, the top 10 googled words come out, and around the pandemic, we heard the term mindfulness,” Franek stated. “[Because] there was a lot of time for self-reflection when you were quarantined in the house, not able to do things, and [which allowed people] to figure out the best version of themselves.”

Meeting two days a cycle, the Movement and Mindfulness course can do just that while utilizing the facilities the high school already has. 

When course selection comes around, the common question is which courses count towards required credits and which are electives. This may seem like a stupid question to some; however, it could greatly impact one’s decision to take a course. 

“Unified PE can be taken as a required Physical Education course to graduate,” Franek stated. “Coaching/Refereeing and Mindfulness, [on the other hand] count as elective classes.”

Another telling factor for some North Penn students is the teacher for each course. Although this will not be finalized until the numbers come back, Franek and the district have a couple of staff members in mind for each of the courses.

“We have some point people for each class. For coaching and refereeing, our two staff members who are our ‘point people’ are Sam Metellus, one of the Boys’ soccer coaches, and Zeb Engle, who coached baseball last year and was a college athlete himself,” Franek explained. “For our unified PE, the [main people] are Kristen Pananski and James Groff, who currently teach the majority of our special population classes here at the high school. And then for mindfulness, Tori Young is going to be heading that.”

Although adding new classes seems like an easy task, it is quite the opposite. Providing opportunities like these students can normally take a collection of people and several years, and their efforts don’t go unnoticed. 

“I appreciate the support of the district and central office for supporting our initiatives to do what is best for kids and to give kids more offerings,” Franek concluded.

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