If Payson Unified School District physical education teachers have their way, there won’t be anymore students dreading PE class. Gone are the days of dodgeball and boring outdated exercises that isolate students.
Instead, classes will offer games and exercise that students of all skill levels follow using interactive gaming systems.
On Tuesday, the PUSD school board will discuss purchasing an $18,000 HOPSports Training System using money from a $1.4 million federal PEP grant the district received last year. Hear more about the program at Tuesday’s special board meeting starting at 5:30 p.m. at 902 W. Main St.
Physical education teacher Donna Moore helped write the PEP grant, including the HOPSports system in the application.
If approved, Moore said Payson High School and all elementary schools could have the systems in place by next year.
Using a projector, sound system and various sports equipment, HOPSports delivers a standards-compliant physical education program. For example, if Moore wanted to teach volleyball, she could turn on the overhead projector, load the volleyball class on the system and students would follow along on a HOPSports mat. Students would have their own mat and perform at their level. Students would compete with only themselves.
“Every student in the class, no matter the size, is completely involved,” Moore said. “There is no score or winning involved.”
The system includes more than 300 activity-based lessons, including baseball, basketball, football, golf, swimming, fencing and tennis taught by a virtual trainer. HOPSports has a wide array of cardiovascular and agility-training modules, including jumping rope, kickboxing, hurtling, yoga and Pilates.
Moore was introduced to the program while attending PE conventions. Its reputation worldwide and compliance with the National Association for Sport and Physical Education standards convinced her it was a good fit in Payson. The program is already in more than 900 sites in 47 states in addition to 11 global locations.
While the system is expensive, Moore said the PEP grant makes it possible for PUSD to afford it. “I saw it as something that would impact kids and get them excited about movement,” she said.
“Today, gaming systems is where kids are and they want to learn through them.”
“In high school they don’t like physical education because they don’t have equipment, they just have sports,” she said. “We are focusing hard on making a culture change.”
In elementary and middle school, students are still excited to learn and participate in PE, but “we need something right now to get high school kids going, to add that spark.”
This summer, construction is slated to start on an adventure ropes course for students, also funded by the PEP grant.
“We are truly looking to make a lifelong change in this community with this grant,” Moore said.