Marlborough athletes have much to look forward to from the Arden Project–more tennis courts, a regulation size field, and an Olympic size pool. These improvements will undoubtedly enhance the quality of Marlborough’s Athletic and Physical Education Programs, but construction during the 2015-2016 school year will force the P.E. department to find creative alternatives to the programs the department has traditionally offered.
Historically, students in Middle School have participated in a variety of rotational P.E. units, including gymnastics, soccer, field hockey and swimming. Physical Education units set in the gym, such as badminton and gymnastics, will continue to be taught as they have been in the past.
Attempts were been made to strike a deal with the Los Angeles Tennis Club, so that students could take busses to this nearby facility to use the pool. However, these attempts fell through, and new units such as “Urban Fitness” have been created to fill the void. Meanwhile, many of the old programs will remain intact or undergo minor changes to make them compatible with an indoor setting.
“We’ll have Yoga, Health, indoor sports like badminton, paddle tennis, and those kinds of skills you can do indoors. We will still have gymnastics, team challenges, volleyball, basketball, and some fitness and strength training that we can do in the dance studios” Physical Education instructor Julie Napoleon said.
Additionally, plans are in the works to strike a deal with FlyWheel, the spinning studio located on Larchmont Boulevard, and a CrossFit facility in the Hollywood area. According to Napoleon, if the boutique fitness centers agree to terms set by the School, Middle School students will take field trips there when the designated P.E. periods fall immediately adjacent to lunch or A period. Many students are excited about the prospect, which they feel would be a good way to exercise in a fresh and exciting environment.
“I think that it would be a new thing to try, and it would be a fun and better way to get exercise. It’d be good for everyone,” Maddie ‘19 said.
Allie ’15 has been taking classes at FlyWheel as part of a special studies program and reporting back to the School about the class. She explained that the majority of participants in the class are in their twenties, and thus the class might be more suited to older students.
“I don’t know if the middle schoolers would really get [the experience], but I think as a substitute for some of the upper level P.E.s or as a field trip it would be really good,” she said.
The Athletic department is also working with Polar Fitness Company to obtain some new and exciting fitness-related gadgets.
“We are looking at some monitors that are bluetooth, and connect to iPads, and then we will be able to project people’s heart rates onto a wall while they’re working out,” Napoleon explained.
The Emergency Preparedness and Water Safety Class must also undergo changes in the coming year. The mandatory class has traditionally required students to learn life-saving techniques, and approximately a quarter of the course is spent in the water. For rising seniors and some juniors who have no other other opportunity to take the course before they graduate, the class will be offered next year without the pool-based component. Instead, students will delve further into situations that might arise in land emergencies. Though the plan has yet to be finalized, the projected curriculum includes dog rescues, a more in depth coverage of search and rescue, and wrapping sprained ankles and wrists as well as athletic-related injuries.
Though Arden Project-related construction will cause many changes in Physical Education, the instructors and school administrators will do everything in their power to minimize negative consequences for students.
Napoleon views the situation with optimism.
“I kinda think we’re gonna be like a family doing remodeling in their house… We’re going to be a little more condensed but [we will] make it work to keep our program as extensive as it is given the constraints of the construction,” she said.