Letters to the Editor

PE classes are vital to students | LETTER TO THE EDITOR

To the editor:

I want to send public congratulations to Erik Jokinen, Langley Middle School PE teacher extraordinaire, on his recent award of Washington State “PE Teacher of the Year.”

An honor well-deserved. Mr. Jokinen has always had an enthusiasm for teaching kids, and an appreciation and respect for being healthy and making good choices.

Mr. Jokinen not only reaches LMS students at school, but also many other younger students through his volunteer work coaching for South Whidbey Youth Soccer and the South Whidbey Parks & Rec. District. He is a wonderful role model, and we are fortunate and blessed to have him in our community.

I believe South Whidbey School District personnel should use this award as an opportunity to acknowledge the importance and support of physical education for all our students in the district. I was told that the Office of Public Instruction in Olympia recommends 100-140 hours every week for physical education in grades K-5.

Currently, at South Whidbey Elementary School, our students are only receiving a measly 45 hours a week. That’s ridiculously low, and certainly not doing much to address the childhood obesity problem we hear so much about. What message are we sending to those kids?

We have great PE teachers throughout our district who work hard to impress upon our students the importance of being active and fit in all stages of life. I encourage the administration to re-visit its decision to have our elementary students in PE class for only 45 minutes per week, and I want to commend all of our PE teachers in the district for the fine job they do.

And once again, kudos to Mr. Jokinen. We’re all proud of you.

Pam Newman


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