“AP” Gym Members Reflect on Trial Semester

This past semester, the Mount Greylock Physical Education department introduced a new class, Advanced PE, to provide students an environment to compete at a more intense level in gym class. 

Fondly known as “AP Gym” by many students, the new class was created with sports-loving students in mind. Looking back to last year, the gym coaches felt there was something missing from their otherwise extensive program. According to longtime PE teacher Brian Gill, they felt the PE program was “lacking an opportunity for advanced play…for kids who wanted that experience.” 

“We want a place for students who are interested in playing games at a more intense level that would be inappropriate in a general population, a place to display extra effort,” Gill said. 

By all measures, that experiment seems to have gone well. Most students said they enjoyed the class as a whole. PE teacher Robert Jutras said that one of the goals of the course was to “play lots of different games,” something that students clearly appreciated with a wide range of Mount Greylock favorites, including Innibandi, Sabakiball, Volleyball and Flasketball. 

As for the competition level, junior Annie Miller said, “There were times I wished it was more rigorous, but it was overall good.” 

Senior Ainsley Abel said that she enjoyed the class, especially because the students had the opportunity to vote on units or games they wanted to focus on. “I enjoyed being with other students who wanted to be in gym and wanted to participate,” Abel said. “There was always a lot of freedom with what games we got to play and as seniors our vote always got a little more weight.”  

The coaches presented a similarly positive viewpoint about the program’s success. “It’s gone really well,” said Jutras. “Each class is a little bit different as far as what they tend to like and enjoy, but it’s been great…High energy and lots of fun.”

In fact, the only problem they’ve had so far is that there are more students who want to enroll in Advanced PE than there are spots, according to Gill. The large disparity between the interest and the number of slots in the class has led to discussions regarding the implementation of a recommendation system, where gym coaches would recommend students for Advanced PE after their earlier high school gym classes.

“As there are recommendations across every other academic discipline, there is the possibility that there could be going forward recommendations toward Advanced PE,” Gill said. 

These recommendations could be based on grades for previous years of PE and help to give spots in the class to students who have demonstrated the effort and discipline required to succeed in Advanced PE. However, these changes would not be coming into effect for at least another year so, for now, the class remains equally open to all 11th and 12th grade students.

Abel spoke of the competitive nature of the class and the benefit of being with people who are enthusiastic about sports and athletics. 

“I would also say that it is a group of kids who want to be in gym and enjoy having a little fun and definitely being competitive,” Abel said. “There was never any judgment if there was a mistake and it was usually a pretty fun environment.”

For the foreseeable future, “AP Gym” will continue to be offered as a place for students to exercise and hone their sporting skills as well as to simply have fun.

“Compared to regular gym, we got to have more fun,” Abel said. “We never got involved in a unit that students were completely bored of by the end, and we just played something different everyday.”