McKinney ISD

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MISD Board Secretary Stephanie O’Dell Finds Fun and Fitness in New P.E. Curriculum

Article|
Shane Mauldin|
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
McKinney ISD School Board Secretary Stephanie O'Dell works out using the Functional Fitness curriculum during a P.E. class at MHS.

McKinney ISD School Board Secretary Stephanie O'Dell works out using the Functional Fitness curriculum during a P.E. class at MHS.

McKinney, Texas – For those of us who grew up long, long ago the term “P.E.” tends to evoke memories of dubious activities like dodgeball, where we learned to be tough by enduring a stinging hail of red rubber balls—and we learned to be fast by fleeing them.

But, thankfully, physical education has come a long way since then.

The feedback from students today is that what they really want out of P.E. is to get fit. Which is perfect because that’s exactly what the McKinney ISD P.E. Department wants to help them achieve.

To that end, the district has introduced a new curriculum this year from Generation Fit called Functional Fitness that is approved by the Texas Education Agency. The program is designed to meet students where they are and help them move forward to set and achieve new fitness goals.

Photo of MNHS students doing knee lifts across the floor.

Students at McKinney North High School work out with the Functional Fitness curriculum during P.E. class.

MISD P.E. and Health Coordinator Karin Klemm was first introduced to the curriculum a couple of years ago. “Round Rock ISD had been implementing it, so we did some research for a couple of years to see if it would actually be beneficial for our program,” said Klemm. “Last year, we integrated a little bit of Functional Fitness, but we didn’t actually have a curriculum. We just gave our teachers a few things to do two days a week with the kids. They responded well to it, so we went ahead and implemented the entire curriculum from GenFit.”

MISD Board of Trustees Secretary Stephanie O’Dell joined Klemm last week as she visited P.E. classes at McKinney High School and McKinney North High School and got some first hand experience with the new curriculum.

Photo of P.E. teachers talking with students

North Head Girls Basketball and P.E. Coach Holly Mulligan and North Football and P.E. Coach Rashad Robinson talk about goals before their students begin their workout.

What O’Dell and Klemm found was kids working out, having fun and getting in shape, and the two educators happily dove right in. When the students muscled their way through push ups and burpees and Superman stretches, O’Dell and Klemm were right there sweating along with them.

“It was obvious that Karin Klemm did her research before implementing a new physical education program,” said O’Dell afterward. “The teachers and the students come to P.E. smiling and excited to get started. The new curriculum encourages a little friendly competition and motivates the students to work out. The teachers’ enthusiasm is contagious and helps to get the students moving.

“This curriculum is not about sitting around, but how students can get and stay fit.”

Photo of MISD School Board Secretary Stephanie O'Dell tagging off during a relay in P.E. class.

With the new Functional Fitness curriculum, students get in shape and have fun along the way. Here, Board Secretary Stephanie O’Dell competes in a relay with P.E. students at North.

At the beginning of the year, each student completes a benchmark assessment and is then placed in one of three groups in which they work to meet their individual fitness goals.

North Head Girls Basketball and P.E. Coach Holly Mulligan has been pleased with her students’ reaction so far. “The kids have responded really well to Functional Fitness,” she said. “They really like it, and they like the benchmarks and trying to improve on their levels. We’ve been really surprised and excited about how well they’ve responded and competed against each other.”

North freshman James Yruegas confirmed that sentiment. “I really like it,” he said. “It actually helps me a lot because I have sports after, and it builds up my cardio. I took P.E. in middle school, but this is much more fun. Much more of a workout.”

Fun and fitness—without the stinging defeat of the red rubber ball.

That works.

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