H-F PE Waivers Under Threat

Waivers under review by H-F Administration
Some students in AP, IB and MVP are going to have to return to taking PE.
Some students in AP, IB and MVP are going to have to return to taking PE.
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PE waivers are going to change for the 2024-25 school year and, while many of the specific changes that will be made are not certain, the reason is clear.

Illinois is one of few states that requires students to take a PE course for all four years of high school, but the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) also provides certain instances where a student can be exempt from PE.  

Currently, H-F allows students exemptions from PE for several reasons:  

According to District 233 School Board policy, a student may be exempt from PE for “ongoing participation in an interscholastic athletic program.”  Interscholastic, according to ISBE, means that the athletic program needs to be a part of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA).  

Additionally, students receive exemptions based on academic needs.  

According to Guidance Counselor Melissa Sauder, in the past, students at H-F could get academic waivers if they were a junior or senior taking three or more AP classes, a member of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program or a member of the Music, Visual and Performing Arts (MVP) Academy.

The waiver also applies to students who need to retake a course for graduation, and for ongoing participation in marching band.  

H-F is reviewing its practices regarding students’ participation in AP, IB and MVP.

The ISBE policy states that a PE exemption may be allowed for juniors and seniors who need to enroll in classes “which are required for admission to an institution of higher learning, provided that failure to take such classes will result in the pupil being denied admission to the institution of his or her choice.”

H-F interpreted this policy with the logic that AP, IB and MVP students would have a greater chance of getting into the institution of higher learning of their choice, although this interpretation is incorrect.

The law actually means that, in order to get a waiver for this purpose, a student must have applied to and been accepted by a college, and have proof that the college requires the student to take a certain class in order for them to attend.  

However, Superintendent Scott Wakeley said that how PE waivers will be given to students won’t be so set in stone, and explained that a student’s eligibility for a waiver will be on a “case-by-case” basis.  

As H-F has become aware of this discrepancy between its practices around PE waivers and Illinois law, administration has been in the process of changing those practices.  While many of the specifics are still up in the air, changes are definitely being made. 

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