The marching bands and color guards of Los Altos and Mountain View High School are requesting second year physical education credit for participants. This would mean five P.E. credits for each fall a student participates in marching band or color guard after their freshman year.
Gaye Heck, co-president of LAHS Instrumental Music Boosters, and Bill Heye, president of MVHS Instrumental Music Parents Association, submitted the request to the school board on May 6 and presented the request, along with others associated with the bands, at the Monday, May 13 meeting.
“The Mountain View and Los Altos Marching Bands and Color Guards both perform the Modern Drum and Bugle Corps performance style, which is a fast moving, physically demanding style of marching band and color guard performance that requires intense physical training by the students,” Heye and Heck said in their request to the district.
The request also says that students spend about 300 to 350 hours at practices over the course of the 16 week season. The LAHS group has practices and competitions six days a week during the fall season.
If the board approves the request, participating in two fall seasons of marching band and color guard would fulfill a student’s second year requirement. The written request to the district also argued that many other schools in the area offer credit.
“With P.E. credit, most of our students would have two extra semesters in high school to have a deeper high school experience,” Heck said at the meeting. “They could take a class that they would not have time to take, maybe take an AP or honors class instead of its regular equivalent.”
At the meeting, drum major senior Megan Stuart and senior Kelcey Negus spoke about the LAHS Marching Band and Color Guard’s training schedule. Megan and Kelcey have both been in the LAHS Marching Band for the past four years.
“In order to prepare for a good show, you need to be in proper physical condition,” Kelcey said at the meeting. “This means having proper technique that is taught to you during rehearsal and practiced every day.”
MVHS P.E. teacher Barbara Kaufman, on the other hand, spoke at the meeting against giving credit.
“We are here once again to tell you we believe that what we do is best for kids,” Kaufman said. “We are experts in our field and we teach physical education to our students through activity… Critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. All those skills are embedded in our course… The discipline of marching band and physical education are not even close to having the same standards, nor the same outcomes. Our course is not labeled physical activity. Our course is labeled Physical Education.”
The board will decide on the request at a future board meeting.