Low enrollment leads to dance fitness-intermediate PE merger

August 31, 2017 — by Ananya Vadlakonda and Lina Kim
Photo by Andreah Salazar

Teacher Kim Anzalone instructs students during a session of Dance Fitness last year.

The 60 students enrolled in fifth-period PE this year are finding themselves in the weight room lifting weights and doing various CrossFit workouts one day, followed by exuberant Zumba dancing in the Small Gym another day.

This mix of experiences is a result of the Intermediate PE class and Dance Fitness merge.

At the beginning of the year, only 18 students had enrolled in Dance Fitness taught by AP US History teacher Kim Anzalone, leaving the PE department with the option of either discontinuing the class or merging the class with an already crowded Intermediate PE period with PE teacher Yuko Aoki. Soon after, the department decided to combine the two classes.

“It would just make a lot of sense to combine our two classes and then split them down the middle,” Anzalone said. “So that’s what we did and I think it’s turned out to be really cool.”

With the two classes combined, the large group was divided into two smaller groups of roughly 30 people, allowing them to alternate between Dance Fitness and Intermediate PE every class period.

“You don’t do all weightlifting and fitness and you don’t do all dance,” Anzalone said. “You break it up, and I think it keeps people more engaged since they rotate.”

Last year was the first time Dance Fitness had been introduced as a class. But once the PE department decided to offer it as solely an enrichment class instead of a PE replacement for all students but seniors, the enrollment dropped and led to the department making the decision to combine the Dance Fitness class with a period of Intermediate PE.

That decision disappointed at least some students who had originally enrolled in either Dance Fitness or Intermediate PE, because they were now taking a class they hadn’t signed up for.

“I originally signed up for Dance Fitness, so that’s what I wanted to take,” senior Laasya Giri said. “But now I have to do PE again and it feels like I’m back in freshman year. I’ll just get through it, but it's really annoying and I’d rather not be there.”

Others, however, were more enthusiastic about the change.

“I personally don't like PE a lot, so I think I like it better,” sophomore Surbhi Bhat said. “But some people who don’t necessarily like to dance or are not able to dance might prefer doing PE.”

With the combination of the two classes, students have been able to experience a wider variety of fitness as both dance and the CrossFit based curriculum in Intermediate PE are given equal importance, making the class “healthier physically for [the students],” according to Anzalone.

Additionally, Aoki is glad that the merger allows students to experience different kinds of physical activity.

The PE department remains undecided on the long-term fate of the Dance Fitness class, but is looking to expand its offerings.

“We want to have more enrichment added for the next year,” Aoki said, “so that’s the department goal which we are working on.”


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