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School district seeks donations to save P.E.

$25 to Keep P.E. Alive Drive launched
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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Volunteers are on a drive to keep PE alive at six schools in the Loomis Union School District. Loomis Basin Education Foundation treasurer Carolyn Petree said the Education Foundation is working with district families to raise $52,000 to rescue the physical education program for a second year. Paul Johnson, district superintendent, said last year the state cut a third of the grant that pays for the three PE teachers who rotate between six schools and teach 2,370 students. He said those cuts are ongoing. Last spring, the Education Foundation used parent donations and matching funds to grant the district $52,406 to save the PE program for the current school year. Now, the Education Foundation is asking for a $25 donation per student to salvage physical education for the 2011-2012 school year. Petree said parent donations will be matched with funds raised by the Education Foundation. She said the Education Foundation plans to provide matching funds up to $26,000. Emily Gallo is the PE teacher at Loomis Grammar and Ophir Elementary schools. She said physical education is critical for students. “It exposes them to numerous games they normally wouldn’t play, it teaches them teamwork, respect, how to share equipment, problem-solving skills and following rules,” Gallo said. Gallo said physical education is especially important to kinesthetic learners who learn by actually carrying out a physical activity, rather than listening to a lecture or merely watching a demonstration. “A lot of those kids don’t do as well with traditional learning, so PE is wonderful for their self-esteem,” she said. “It’s also invaluable to classroom teachers because it gives them time to work individually with students and collaborate with other teachers.” She said if cuts are made to programs like physical education, art and music, then “you stop educating the whole child.” Loomis Grammar fourth-grader Sydney Mathias, 10, said his favorite PE activity is playing hockey outside on the blacktop with a wiffle ball. “PE is fun. We do a lot of sports and games. We get a lot of exercise. It would be bad to lose it,” Sydney said. Mia Andreatta, 8, a third-grader from Loomis Grammar, said she prefers playing hockey in the cafeteria with fluff balls. “We get to do a lot of fun games in PE. I would be sad to lose it,” Mia said. Dustin Fee and Zach Strutts are also PE teachers. Fee rotates between Penryn and H. Clarke Powers Elementary schools. Strutts splits his time between Placer and Franklin Elementary schools. Amy Peterson, an H. Clarke Powers parent, is the Education Foundation secretary and said, “I want my children to be active. I want them to be playing more than sitting. PE teaches them early on why activity is so important for our health.” Franklin school won’t be participating in the drive because last spring the school held a Go The Distance run that raised money to fund their portion of the PE program. Franklin dad and ultramarathon runner Greg Bomhoff ran more than 100 miles in 24 hours and raised almost $30,000. For more information or to make a donation, visit the Education Foundation’s website at www.lbef.net. ------------------------ $25 TO KEEP PE ALIVE DRIVE What: Fundraising drive to save physical education program Where: Placer, Loomis, H. Clarke Powers, Penryn and Ophir Elementary schools Sponsor: Loomis Basin Education Foundation Donations: At schools or online at lbef.net