School district exploring marching band for PE credit

School board to vote on new course approval April 2

Morgan Hill school leaders continue to move forward with a plan to allow high school marching band members to receive physical education course credits for their participation in the new class.

After several sessions on the topic and approval from the Secondary Curriculum Council, the school board is expected to vote on adding the new course, PE/Marching Band, at its April 2 meeting.

The year-long class, which offers five credits in both visual and performing arts and physical education, was developed by band directors Jason Locsin of Live Oak High School and Greg Chambers of Ann Sobrato High School.

“We had a robust discussion about the best way to meet the needs of our students,” said Board President Mary Patterson following a March 26 board meeting that included discussion among trustees, district staff, parents and music teachers.

The PE/Marching Band course will be offered to upperclassmen who have already completed one full year of a traditional PE class as freshmen at either high school.

District staff recommended the approval of a two-year pilot program for the PE/Marching Band course through the 2020-21 school year. They also noted that the new course “will not result in a reduction of PE staff.”

The concept was bandied about for some time at past school board meetings, with parents asking the district to consider the option. Marching band members put in extended hours after school is over and can often be heard on campus practicing into the evening.

New courses are developed and submitted for consideration to add to the course inventory from time to time, according to staff. Such courses are in response to student needs and interests or to changes in state frameworks, graduation requirements or college-career readiness goals.

New course concepts may originate in various stakeholder groups, but they are developed and reviewed by teachers through the secondary curriculum council process, according to staff. That process includes discussion at the site leadership level, review by council members and a one-week advisory balloting process during which council members are encouraged to seek the input and guidance of their constituents.

Courses with favorable recommendations are further reviewed by Educational Services to prepare a recommendation to the governing board.

“PE/Marching Band offers a unique opportunity to study the potential challenges and opportunities of alternatives to traditional physical education instruction,” the staff report reads. “Music is unique as our two current band instructors will hold physical education credentials, band is already offered in the schedule, and students experience a high level of physical activity.”

The PE/Marching Band course was one of two new courses voted on by the school board April 2. The other was advanced video production, a Career Technical Education class developed by William Row at Live Oak High School.

Full course descriptions can be reviewed at mhusd.org.

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