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posted: 10/5/2012 5:35 AM

District 214 may offer more options for gym exemption

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Students at Northwest Suburban High School District 214 may have a few more options for receiving a physical education waiver starting in 2013-14.

The school board on Thursday discussed possible changes to the academic handbook and curriculum, which included phasing out a computer proficiency graduation requirement, adding and deleting a few courses at the district's six high schools and changing the gym exemption rules.

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Now in District 214, junior or senior students can be exempted from gym class for one of three reasons: participation in an interscholastic sport, enrolling in a class necessary for college admission, or enrolling in a class necessary for high school graduation.

However, under Illinois school code, there are two other reasons for students to exempt from gym, and the district staff proposed working those into the district code.

The new rules would allow a student in any grade to be exempt from gym if he or she is a member of an ongoing competitive marching band program or enrolled in the school's Reserve Officer's Training Corps.

These students would pick up a study hall instead of gym class but could not have more than one study hall, said Rosemary Prinnick, associate superintendent for educational services. Students participating in those activities would still have the option to take gym classes, Prinnick said.

"We're trying to be responsive to what we've been hearing from our students, parents and teachers," said Superintendent David Schuler. "We have students staying up very late after marching band practice and then doing hours of homework when we know sleep is really important to them. This would give them an opportunity to have a study hall to get some of that work done during the day."

The school board will vote on the measure during its next meeting at 7 p.m. Oct. 18 at Forest View Educational Center, 2121 S. Goebbert Road, Arlington Heights.

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