School lets students earn PE credits by helping the elderly and disabled with yard work

School lets students earn PE credits by helping senior citizens and disabled homeowners with yard work.

Did you dread Physical Education class in school? I sure did. Let's just say I was always last to be picked for the teams. I suppose my 5'8", lanky and lean stature with the addition of my extreme lack of hand/foot/eye coordination didn't help much either. I couldn't wait to get to college so I wouldn't have to participate in such classes. Oh wait, I did. Yes, you heard it, my college even required PE credits! Thankfully I was able to choose swimming as my PE class, something I actually enjoyed and excelled at!

I know I'm not alone in this issue. Not all of us are natural born athletes. When you add on the bullying and just plain awkwardness that comes with teenage years and school, requiring physical education classes can be a downright nightmare for many kids.

However, there might be a change at many schools if they follow suit with what an Iowa school is now offering to their students. Students at the Alternative Learning Center (ALC) in Dubuque, Iowa, can now receive physical education credit when they help senior citizens or people with disabilities with their landscaping needs.

According the the ALC website, "The ALC is designed to provide at-risk students an alternative to the traditional high school setting.  The ALC primarily offers course opportunities in the core content areas.  Project based learning design principles are utilized to engage students that have struggled to find success at their home school.  There are independent learning opportunities available for students to help them recover credits and get back on track with their graduation plans."

The landscaping program is both beneficial to the students and the community. The students do yard work for the homeowners for about two hours a day during the last few weeks of school. Yard work may include grass cutting, raking, weeding, cleaning gutters, etc.

Tim Hitzler, a teacher at the school, told local news station KWWL, “The students aren’t typically too excited at the beginning but once they get involved and start doing the yard work they become more motivated. What they really like is A: helping people. They really like giving back to people and meeting the person.”

The program has proven so popular with the students that some of them choose to continue volunteering over the summer.

“I’ve had students that graduated that have come back to help,” Hitzler told People. “There’s something about helping people that really need it.”


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