Sport added to PE
T.C. Howe Academy is one of the Indianapolis Public Schools offering skateboarding as part of their physical education curriculum. The idea originally came from the National PE Conference last year, where IPS wellness coordinator, Audrey Satterblom, learned of the program.
“I thought about it, then was contacted by Andy Rauworth, who is the owner of Ultra Violet Skate Park on the Southside,” Satterblom said. “We have been working together to get this going.”
The district hopes the class will get kids involved who usually refuse to participate in PE. The program received support from the school’s administrators, parents and the community.
There are currently 25 skateboards available to the district. Due to insufficient funding, the schools share most of their equipment. Each school utilizes the boards for two weeks at a time before passing the equipment on to the next school.
Howe Academy, one of the first IPS schools to put the class into their curriculum, received the boards for the first time in late October and PE instructor Jeff Strange was quick to get started.
“The idea of the class had been brought to my attention earlier in the year,” Strange said, “by students who don’t like the traditional physical education sports like basketball and football.”
Though Strange is new to the sport, he is learning quickly with the help of some of his more advanced students. These students are helping Strange in his endeavors by teaching and demonstrating skateboard techniques.
“I want to learn the basics of getting on, going, stopping and learning to do tricks,” said beginning skateboarder Myranda Minardo as she watched one of the more advanced kids whiz by.
Strange plans to leave the 180s and kick flips to his student teachers and will focus on teaching safety. Each student is required to wear a helmet, in addition to elbow- and kneepads. Before they get started, they are taught the proper way to balance on the board, and the safest way to fall.
In addition to ensuring student safety, Satterblom and Strange also make sure that the class meets all of the school’s guidelines. One of the school’s standards requires physical education classes to promote outside physical activity; they strongly believe the skateboarding program does just that.
“Skating can be very demanding,” Satterblom said. “Skaters’ cardiovascular shape is very good when they do it daily; it is an aerobic activity. In PE we focus on three physical areas: cardio, strength and endurance of the muscles. [Skateboarding] does all of this.”
Thus far, the skateboarding class has been successful and IPS is planning for the future. Administrators want to acquire equipment enough for all of the schools, ramps and rails for the gymnasium, as well as fieldtrips to Ultra Violet Skate Park to give the students the opportunity to try out what they’ve learned.
“Skateboarding teaches me confidence, helps me make more friends and it’s fun knowing that I can do something now that I couldn’t do before,” Minardo said.
“Oh,” she added, “and it’s perfect compared to the boring sports we usually do like basketball and football.”