EDITORIAL: A new PE program for special ed students in Wallingford

EDITORIAL: A new PE program for special ed students in Wallingford

Just in time for the holidays, a story ran in these pages that exemplifies the spirit of the season.

It’s a story about caring for those who could use a helping hand.

At the center of this uplifting tale is Lyman Hall High School junior Meredith DeNegris.

For her school capstone project – a requirement for graduation in Wallingford – this 16-year-old chose to do something to support the special education students at her school. Now, thanks to her efforts, “Unified Physical Education” is coming to Lyman Hall.

The new course will pair regular education students with special education students to teach them skills. Currently, special education students are mixed into regular physical education classes with about 20 to 25 other students.

“I wanted to create a PE program for (special education) students so they have a specialized class based around their exercise needs and abilities, because a lot of their needs are not met in the regular PE class,” said DeNegris, who plans to pursue a career in special education.

The teenager said the class will aim to prepare students to enter the workforce after graduating by teaching them physical movements they may perform in the workplace.

DeNegris presented the new course to the Board of Education, and “Unified Physical Education” was approved by the BOE earlier this month. It will debut at Lyman Hall next year.

Physical education teacher Kahseim Outlaw is excited about the new course.

“You’re going to get the students that are in need of that differentiated instruction in an environment that doesn’t feel like it’s going to separate them from the regular education class,” said Outlaw, who will teach Unified P.E.

Ideally, the course will have between 18 and 24 students, with two regular education students for every special education student. Two students will be assigned to work with one special education student under the supervision of Outlaw.

This sounds like a great idea all around.

Well done, Meredith.

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