PE classes return to JCPS elementary school after 15 years
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - There’s finally a class to get elementary kids moving at Atkinson Elementary School in West Louisville.
Their physical education program is back after 15 years, thanks to their new teacher Abbas Sattar-Shamsabadi. He said he’s been working to build back their program from the ground up since January.
Sattar-Shamsabadi said he was just as excited to see the gym come back to life as the students were.
”When they saw the gym, their eyes got wide open,” Sattar-Shamsabadi said. “Because, like I said, it was just a bunch of chairs and desks and stuff that had been pushed in there and it was never used.”
The new gym equipment, updates, and Sattar-Shamsabadi’s new role were all made possible from a partnership between UofL and $160,000 grant from Pepsi.
His goal is supplement physical education with health and wellness education by also helping kids with their mental, emotional, and social health. He said he plans to include activities such as yoga, bodyweight exercises, and team building activities.
Based on an established body mass index from the CDC, roughly two out of 10 children ages six to 19 are classified as obese. Kentucky ranked fourth overall as one of the most overweight and obese states in the U.S., according to a WalletHub report from 2021.
”From that point on, every week, they would see an activity going on in class when they were lined up to go the lunchroom, and they would be asking me about it and couldn’t wait to come to PE next week or even that day if they had me,” Sattar-Shamsabadi said.
Sattar-Shamsabadi said studies have shown the more physical activity kids have, the better off their brain and development.
”We are going to be doing some research studies while we are here, we are working with UofL, to see those things of mental health improving, to see their academics improving, to see their behavior improve as well,” Sattar-Shamsabadi said. “And I think as long as we can show that, and I am 100% confident that we will, I hope to be here for many years.”
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