Weekly roundup: Newport-Mesa Unified reinvents P.E., dual-language immersion programs expand, and more

Newport-Mesa Unified School District has changed how it approaches physical fitness, incorporating a healthy lifestyles curriculum and a diverse range of offerings.

A Daily Pilot columnist outlined how the district’s P.E. offerings include weight training, dance and yoga — and the recent introduction of more nontraditional types of activities such as pickle ball and Frisbee.

News chalkboard graphic“Physical education is more than just rolling the balls out and letting them play,” Kirk Bauermeister, Newport-Mesa’s executive director of secondary education told the Daily Pilot. “We hope that our students walk away with an understanding of healthy living and eating, as well as how important staying active is for overall health.”

The district’s reinvention of P.E. is part of an effort to make the age-old course more appealing to students with more diverse needs.

The columnist said the district’s curriculum is more aligned with how physical education should be built, using a variety of components including free, unstructured play time, with adjustments made for varying skill levels and an emphasis on healthy living and nutrition.

Experts say the most effective P.E. programs don’t necessarily require more money for fancy equipment, and they shouldn’t be strictly geared around skill tests and structured activities with singular goals, like timed runs around a track, according to the column.

Here are some other education news items for the region for the week ending Feb. 22.

  • Healthy Smiles for Kids of Orange County is a nonprofit organization founded in 2003, which exists to provide clinical pediatric dental care and education for children and families. The group offers dental care at local schools.
  • The idea of teaching in two languages is gaining traction, nationally and in Southern California. Some of California’s biggest school districts, such as Los Angeles Unified and Riverside Unified, are expanding their dual-language options.

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