News From the Students, For the Students

The Griffin Gazette

News From the Students, For the Students

The Griffin Gazette

News From the Students, For the Students

The Griffin Gazette

Los Al’s new hybrid PE policy for performing arts

With a change in state PE requirements, dance, choir, and marching band alone no longer qualify for PE credit
Loreen Watanabe
“[We have] to push several very heavy items from the band room to the grass field,” marching band student Maya Wresinski said.

LOS ALAMITOS, CA — Up until this year, students in performing arts classes like dance, choir, and marching band received PE credit because their electives were deemed to have as much physical activity as sports or PE classes. However, these students now have to take hybrid PE on certain late-start Mondays to obtain their PE credit. 

This new requirement only applies to current freshmen and sophomores; juniors and seniors are “grandfathered” into the old system because most have already received at least one year’s worth of PE credit from their performing art, said Mr. Platt, Los Alamitos High School’s Assistant Principal of Curriculum. 

The California Department of Education (CDE) uses the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) to organize and check student data. Mr. Platt explained that the CDE is using a more “fine-toothed comb” to look at data, and offering PE credit for a class that’s not specifically PE confuses the process.

Los Al’s previous system of giving students PE credit for performing arts complicated CALPADS because dance, choir, and marching band are not PE classes. These teachers also do not have PE teaching credentials. When the CDE looks at data that shows students receiving PE credit for non-PE classes, it compares to if a student were receiving world history credit for taking world literature, said Mr. Platt. 

“We have to adjust appropriately, when they’re pulling their data, that we are doing the right thing [and] our kids are getting their PE credit as mandated by ed code,” Mr. Platt said.

Los Al’s hybrid PE approach is a compromise that allows students to concurrently take their performing art and PE, while expediting the CDE’s data-checking process.

Los Al’s show choir rehearsals are extremely active, with students constantly dancing or observing choreography. (Sydney Forsyte)

“They’re working really hard in dance and show choir and marching band – we know that,” Mr. Platt said. “No one is [going to] doubt that. Watch what they do – they are putting a lot of effort in and doing a lot of physical activity, but that’s not a PE class.”

According to Mr. Platt, Los Al based its approach off of other Orange County school districts. While Los Al’s system is not exactly the same, it’s similar to the hybrid PE in districts like Anaheim Union High School District

Highlights of California’s five PE standards for public schools grades K-12. (California Department of Education)

One late-start Monday per month, ninth and tenth-grade students attend PE in the time between zero and first period. On these select dates, they complete exercises in a modified PE class and fill out a survey about California’s five PE standards

“I would prefer spending my late-start Monday breaks doing homework instead of waiting 30 minutes to fill out a Google Form of the same thing every week,” said a Los Al sophomore in Sound FX choir, who chose to remain anonymous.

While hybrid PE may seem like an unnecessary annoyance to most students, the new policy does come with benefits. 

For example, students used to receive art credit in their first year in dance, choir, or marching band and their 20 PE credits during the next two years in their performing art. Now, students receive their art and PE credit simultaneously. This means that current freshmen and sophomores can acquire their 10 art credits and 10 PE credits during their first year of dance, choir, or marching band. 

Additionally, in the past, performing arts students were pulled out of class or had to stay after school to take the physical fitness test in ninth grade. Mr. Platt said that this year they will take the test during their hybrid PE period. 

In the long run, Mr. Platt said, hybrid PE will allow performing arts students more freedom in their schedules because they won’t need to fill an entire period with PE. This is especially true for freshmen and sophomores, whose schedules are more packed if they want to complete their PE and fine art credits early. 

Though there was initial confusion among parents and students regarding hybrid PE when schedules were released in August, Mr. Platt said the school has been working to provide more “in-depth explanation.” However, many performing arts students have strong opinions about the change.

“I don’t like the new hybrid PE,” said Maya Wresinski, a sophomore in marching band. “I believe marching [band] should receive credit for PE. [We have] to push several very heavy items from the band room to the grass field.” Wresinski refers to marching band’s heavy instruments and set pieces, like bases and large flags.

I personally do not see a point in getting my PE credits ‘verified’ once a month. Our directors, classmates and even the PE teachers are well aware that as choir students we are getting our physical fitness in.”

— Anonymous Sound FX sophomore

Sound FX members run two miles every week and stretch and condition before each two to three-hour rehearsal, according to the sophomore. They added that these rehearsals involve “hardcore, non-stop” dancing that requires a significant amount of energy and stamina. 

“There isn’t much downtime at these active rehearsals, and every minute you are expected to be moving in some sort of way to review what we have already learned,” the Sound FX sophomore said. 

Hours of vigorous rehearsing go into Los Al’s dance shows, like “The Night Council” last year. Some dance students also train to perform with aerial silks. (Bella Kim)

Similarly, Los Al’s dance classes involve much physical activity. Tessa Meider, a senior in her fourth year of Advanced Dance, described Mrs. Jones’, Los Al’s dance teacher, strenuous warm-up, which includes about a half hour of stretching, cardio, and strengthening exercises. 

“I’m always sweating and tired by the end of it,” she added. Mrs. Jones also teaches a conditioning class for Advanced Dance every Thursday after school, which involves 45 minutes to an hour of high-intensity interval training. This type of exercise alternates between intense movements to increase your heart rate and shorter recovery periods. 

“It’s often four circuits with three rounds of each circuit,” Meider said. “Every so often she does something different like Pilates.”

Since Meider is a senior, she already completed her PE credit from dance. However, she said it’s “odd” to change the requirements now and that she feels glad she doesn’t have to worry about hybrid PE. 

Dance is a sport, and we are constantly working on technique, choreography, stamina, and conditioning. Dance is hard, especially as you get to higher levels. I think it definitely should still count as PE credit.”

— Tessa Meider, senior Advanced Dance member

As for students receiving independent study PE credit for activities like ballet, fencing, equestrian, and rowing that Los Al does not offer, Mr. Platt said those updates will likely not be finalized until next spring. 

Although many performing arts students expressed dissatisfaction with hybrid PE, Los Al recognizes the hard work and physical exertion involved with their activities. This new system strikes a balance between students’ schedules and state education expectations, ensuring that students can acquire their PE credit and continue in their performing arts.

CORRECTION: The abbreviation for the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System is CALPADS, not CALPEDS. Additionally, Los Al does not offer independent study for general dance, as dance is a course on campus. Students can have independent study for ballet specifically because ballet is not a Los Al course. Other off-campus activities like fencing, equestrian, and rowing also qualify for independent study. This was corrected and clarified on Sept. 18, 2023. 

View Comments (2)
Donate to The Griffin Gazette
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Los Alamitos High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Bella Kim
Bella Kim, Editor-in-Chief | Co-anchor
Bella Kim is a junior at Los Alamitos High School. This is her second year with the Griffin Gazette. Bella has won two Best of SNO awards, for her articles "A Los Al senior’s podcast: ‘The Sy-STEM’" and "Los Al sophomore to compete in Olympic Trials for sailing." Over the summer, she was part of the first cohort of JCal, the Asian American Journalists Association and CalMatters' journalism program for California high school students. Last August, Bella finished her five-month internship with Spotlight Schools. Currently, she is The Youth Center's marketing intern, a contributor to L.A. Times High School Insider, and the first member of the South Bay Youth Journalism program. This summer, she will represent California at the Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference in Washington D.C. Bella has a passion for ballet and has been dancing for over ten years. She dances at Los Alamitos Ballet School and performed in their "Sugarplum's Realm" production last December. When she’s not in the studio, Bella enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, writing poetry, and going to the beach. She also likes musicals, roller coasters, and collecting bookstore tote bags. On campus, Bella is co-president of the Literature Appreciation Club. As editor-in-chief, she is excited to lead the Gazette in its second year of publication and co-anchor the first year of Griffin Gazette Live broadcast news. You can contact Bella at [email protected].
Donate to The Griffin Gazette
Our Goal

Comments (2)

All The Griffin Gazette Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • J

    Jasmine LeeSep 17, 2023 at 2:27 pm

    As expected, awesome job Bella! Really interesting and well structured article 🙂

  • K

    Katie ArnoultSep 16, 2023 at 1:59 pm

    I love this article and all the great photos! Kudos to all those hard-working students in marching band, choir and dance!