The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 18, 2008


Carlisle School updates PE and health programs for current year

The Physical Education Department shows a video to the CSC. From left to right, Assistant to the Superintendent Claire Wilcox, parent Mary Storrs, Phys. Ed. teachers Margaret Heigl, Dan Hunt and Lyn Carmel. (Photo by Cynthia Sorn)

The Carlisle School Committee (CSC) learned about recent changes in Physical Education (PE) and health classes when PE teacher and Curriculum Coordinator Margaret Heigl presented an update on the programs at the CSC meeting on January 2. In addition to Heigl, those providing the instruction are PE teachers Dan Hunt and Lyn Carmel and school nurse Kathy Horan.

Kindergarten classes lengthened

In response to a request from kindergarten teachers, the PE classes for kindergarteners are five minutes longer this year, reported Heigl. Music and art classes for kindergarten have been similarly lengthened.

New classroom

The health department (Heigl, Carmel and Horan) now has its own classroom for the middle school. Previously the teachers had to travel to individual homerooms.

The Carlisle School Association has funded an ActivBoard (electronic white board) for the health classroom. Heigl noted that the ActivBoard not only benefits the health classes, but is also used by others such as middle school advisory groups, as available.

Team sports

Cross Country had "a great turnout," Heigl reported. Cross Country is a "no cut" fall sport, she explained, and 71 students participated from grades 5 to 8. The team finished the season with a record of 4 (wins) — 4 (losses) - 0 (ties). Coaches were teachers Bill Gale and Peter Darasz.

The boys soccer coach, teacher Steve Peck, was successful in accommodating all boys who tried out this fall. The team had a season score of 2 — 9 — 1. However, it was harder to get on the girls soccer team. Forty girls tried out, and the team was cut to 19 members. Their season ended with a record of 6 — 5 — 1. A junior varsity team was not offered. Heigl thanked the CSA for funding new uniforms for the girls team in 2009.

Heigl coached the girls field hockey team, which had a record of 1 — 7 — 4. No cuts were needed.

In the winter sports season Heigl reported that 37 girls tried out for the girls basketball team, allowing for a varsity team of 16 girls, coached by teacher Wendy Stack, and a junior varsity team of 17, coached by Bethany Giusti. The boys varsity team is coached by teacher Steve Peck and currently has 16 members. Teacher Brad Cranston is coaching the junior varsity basketball team, which has 17 members.

Spring sports include girls softball, which will be coached by teacher Dan Hunt, and boys baseball, which will be coached by Steve Peck.

Intramurals cancelled

Interest in intramural sports dropped significantly this year, due to the new $55 fee, Heigl explained. In previous years when the intramural sports were free, more than 50 students from grades 4 and 5 participated in intramural basketball. The sport also provided community service credits for eighth graders who helped as assistant coaches. This fall only seven students signed up for basketball. The fees collected could not pay for the program so it was cancelled. Heigl predicted the other intramural sports such as floor hockey and tumbling will experience the same drop in interest.

Wall climbing suspended

The wall climbing intramural had to be suspended, said Heigl. The Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security classified wall climbing, with safety equipment (clips, ropes and harnesses), as an "amusement" in 2006 and has issued new yearly requirements, including a $25 license, an "original insurance certificate of $1 million per occurrence, $2 million aggregate," and a certified inspector's report, among other requirements. Heigl said so few students would sign up for the intramural due to the new fee that that sport would not support itself. She is investigating how the wall can be used in a "non-amusement" way.

Eighth-grade curriculum

Heigl described a new approach to eighth-grade health education that stresses teaching students six life-long skills: analyzing internal and external influences, accessing information, interpersonal communication, decision making, self management, goal setting and advocacy. For example, she explained, as students learn about nicotine, they will be practicing the skills of accessing information and decision making.

Student assessments

New this year for middle school physical education is a daily student assessment. During each PE class students are judged on effort (comes dressed, trying, on task), civility (attitude and behavior) and performance.


Heigl would like to investigate the use of a police detail to control traffic during cross-country meets because the students run on the roads around the school which are not closed to traffic. Spalding Field needs potable water, she said, and the water fountain in the gym needs to be repaired. The sound system in the gym needs to be repaired or replaced as well.

Additional requests include: replace team uniforms, reinstate a part-time physical education teacher, add K — 5 health instruction, reinstate a full-time health/physical education coordinator, create time and/or additional funding for the athletic director and resume the athletic task force meetings to examine the user fees and research alternative funding for after school athletics.

2008 The Carlisle Mosquito