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January 17, 2006


I'm wondering when the school calendar issue will be up on the agenda, or will the public be left out of the discussion, once again.


I always wondered why the coaches couldn't adapt to the new PE requirements. For example, many of the coaches were beginning their practices by making the kids run laps. If a coach knew that a teen already ran 1-2 miles in PE that day, what is the point of further "conditioning" -- shouldn't they move directly into practicing skills? Some of the coaches at the high school are VERY young, (still in college themselves, have no experience and one wonders what qualifications they have for coaching...Do they know how to "train" and "condition" growing teens without creating overuse injuries? Are they certified in first aid? Is any coach training required? Is there any communication with the high school PE teachers or do they just have full authority to do "whatever" with the kids during practice?


I have been fighting the PE system for the past nine years, but got a reprieve this year, since my youngest is now a senior. My girls are both nationally ranked swimmers, who spend 2-3 hours in the water each day, along with dryland exercises on alternating days of the week, and morning practices 2-3 times a week as well. They traveled to Los Altos at one point for many years, which took an extra hour out of their school day, and there are competitions at least twice a month, which last from the wee hours of the morning until the late evening, in many instances.
But, particularly when it came to the HS, they were so inflexible with regard to allowing them to do independent study PE, which is what they did in middle school, because the fear was that somehow the PE teachers wouldn't have enough kids in their classes to necessitate having the class, or the teacher for that matter. Since mine are three years apart, there was never a time when we were requesting independent study for them at the same time, and the maximum students requesting ISPE in the same year was 5, so I can't imagine that the PE class enrollment would have been hurt in any way.
In order to qualify for ISPE, we had to show proof of their ranked times, they had to be in the top 4% on a fitness test.....running a mile, situps, chin ups, sit and reach, shuttle run, etc etc (much like the President's physical fitness testing of old) and then if they passed (and do remember that even though they are great swimmers, they may not be in the top 4% in all these other areas, because they use different muscle groups etc), they had to do lots of special paperwork and calendars that regular PE students did not have to do. They were held much more accountable and so were their coaches and they had to were also held at an incredibly high fitness level. Needless to say, it was a major fiasco, every year.
We, too, had great concern regarding overtraining, should they have to do PE too, and icorrect training and use of muscles and bodies that were still maturing, with inexperienced folks.
It is a huge deal, and most of it stems from the obesity issues this generation of kids is facing, but also stems from keeping teachers on board as well and filling classes. We always got our way, but I don't think that would be the case now, and I don't know what the answer is for those kids who are really involved in a sport.
Makes me more than a little uneasy, however, much like requiring all students to pass the California High School Exit Exam, even when they may have a disability that has enabled them to receive special education services for years, but now they are no longer allowed to receive any of the accomodations which they have been entitled to in the past. Crazy!



35179.1. (a) This section shall be known and may be cited as the
1998 California High School Coaching Education and Training Program.

(b) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) The exploding demand in girls athletics, and an increase in
the number of students participating in both boys and girls
athletics, are causing an increase in the number of coaches needed
(2) Well-trained coaches are vital to the success of a student's
experience in sports and interscholastic athletic activities.
(3) Improvement in coaching is a primary need identified by
hundreds of principals, superintendents, and school board members who
participated in the development of a strategic plan for the
California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) in 1993 and 1994.
(4) There are many concerns about safety, training, organization,
philosophy, communications, and general management in coaching that
need to be addressed.
(5) It is a conservative estimate that at least 25,000 coaches
annually need training and an orientation just to meet current
coaching regulations contained in Title 5 of the California Code of
Regulations, including basic safety and CPR requirements.
(6) School districts, in conjunction with the California
Interscholastic Federation, have taken the initial first steps toward
building a statewide coaching education program by assembling a
faculty of statewide trainers composed of school district
administrators, coaches, and athletic directors using a national
program being used in several states.
(c) It is, therefore, the intent of the Legislature to establish a
California High School Coaching Education and Training Program. It
is the intent of the Legislature that the program be administered by
local school districts and emphasize the following components:
(1) Development of coaching philosophies consistent with school,
school district, and school board goals.
(2) Sport psychology: emphasizing communication, reinforcement of
young people's efforts, effective delivery of coaching regarding
technique and motivation of the student athlete.
(3) Sport pedagogy: how young athletes learn, and how to teach
sport skills.
(4) Sport physiology: principles of training, fitness for sport,
development of a training program, and nutrition for athletes.
(5) Sport management: team management, risk management, and
working within the context of an entire school program.
(6) Training: certification in CPR and first aid.
(7) Knowledge of, and adherence to, statewide rules and
regulations, as well as school regulations including, but not
necessarily limited to, eligibility, gender equity and
(8) Sound planning and goal setting.
(d) This section shall not be construed as an endorsement of any
particular coaching education or training program.


I'll say it again....crazy! The CAHSEE fiasco is really like slamming your head against a brick wall. How would you feel if your kid with a recognizable disability, for which he/she has been eligible for special education services, were held to the same standards with regard to passing this exam as the Merit Scholar in the next class. Crazy!

The education code allows exemption from PE for student athletes.
Our school board is not following all of the law.

section 51242 - Physical Education Exemption for Students in Athletics The governing board of a school district may exempt any four-year or senior high school pupil from attending courses of physical education, if the pupil is engaged in a regular school-sponsored interscholastic athletic program carried on wholly or partially after regular school hours


"School-sponsored" is the key, I imagine. My girls were not involved in HS swimming, except for during the HS season. They were involved in year round competitive swimming with an outside team. Trust me, I did all the research one could do.
Now, however, this is a SMUHSD board decision, I believe, but am no longer involved, so can't actually say for sure.
Experience does tell me, however, "where there is a will there is a way." I spent countless hours researching/talking/meeting and eventually got my way.

Please see the follow up article
District: State changed PE review after year began

SAN MATEO - San Mateo Union High School District officials will have a
frustrating story to relay tonight when parents quiz them about why they
changed their physical-education policy to require all freshman and
sophomores, including athletes, to take the class.

Associate Superintendent Mark Avelar said Wednesday that the change was
to prepare for a state compliance review that was canceled after the
school year had already begun.

For more of this story, click on or type the URL below:



Mark Avelar is a bafoon!


Also, let us not forget that Mark started out in the district as a PE teacher/coach, hence his unwavering support of the PE program and the PE teachers.


Guess the should really be "buffoon."


please note that the state education code requires that the school OFFER a 2 year course in PE which exposes the students to 8 physical education curriculum areas. HOWEVER, the STATE does NOT require athletes to attend these courses. The requirement is totally up to the local school board.

Two Kids

The district just recieved notice that it will be $2.5 million short for the 2006-2007 school year. Sam Johnson NEVER had the money to implement his academic core so he stole the money from athletics. Now he is even deeper in the hole and has no idea how he is going to get out. The PE/Athletics fiasco is just onother in the series of blunders by the SMUHSD leadership. The district will also soon report that it is $200 million short of its financial needs to finish construction on the schools. The SMUHSD needs a parcel tax to replace the lost classroom time due to Johnson's short-sightedness and another $200 million to finish the buildings. How long is the public going to tolerate this type of leadership?


How did the SMUHSD steal the money from academics to implement the academic core? Two Kids, it sounds like you have some important information here but I don't understand what you are saying. The year you mentioned (2006-2007) is next year. Are you saying that next year the SMUHSD intends to make up the 2.5 million deficit by robbing sports to pay for academic core? Is that what you are saying? If so, specifically how what is the proposal --what sports money is being proposed for the cut (i.e. what programs?)

Are you people serious?
I believe a balance needs to recognized by parents that push their children too hard. Grades, grades, grades,= Money/House in Burlingame/SUV. Be like us.
I see everyday parents driving their overweight, bellyshirt,"UG" shoes,(temp.70) kids to BHS. Traffic Jam every day in the parking lot.
My point is that your children are not challanged,ie walk to school. Think about it.. walking 1/4 of a mile..
How will you parents on this site ever get any rest? Think of the dangers in Burlingame..

Two Kids

The district will be underwater by $2.5 million for next year's budget due to falling tax revenues and misallocated funds by the county. This shortfall will increase the mess already created by Johnson's "budget reorganization" of last year. Johnson took all the athletic teaching sections from the high schools last year and put these peroids back into the school day to cover the increased requirements of the Academic Core. These teaching sections were also spent on "support classes" for student who flunk and don't have to attend summer school. Without credential teachers in athletics, students cannot recieve credit for their athletic participation. When Johnson took the sections out of athletics, he also effectively removed teachers as coaches. In the past, teachers who coached were credited the coaching time as a teaching period. Now teachers must teach a full load and then coach after school. Many teachers are leaving coaching because it just isn't worth the extra hassle. In the last year SM County has had at least four high school "walk on" coaches arrested for sexually related actions against our children. If teachers no longer coach sports, we may see an increase in these sexual predators as our walk on coaches. What costs more... paying teachers as coaches or paying for the lawsuits against the schools for hiring sexual preditors. Remember.... one of these coaches who was convicted of his crimes coached in Burlingame. Don't say that it can't happen here.

I think it is quite humorous that the district is cutting sports, drama, and the arts from the curriculum but places new athletic fields and new auditoriums on its wish list for new construction.

Tuscon, there's some truth to what you say about the kids these days. It's a pity some of given luxury vehicles at 16. One wonders what will thrill them at 50.

Instead of relentlously pushing the "academic core" on kids that aren't that receptive, maybe the district should require a basic class on money managing: writing checks, balancing a budget, etc. There is a health class required, so why not a basic budget survival class? I hear lots of these kids are overdrawn monthly, the first time they go away from home. I doubt many of them know anything other than how plastic can magically make money pop out of an ATM. And the ones with the fancy cars probably aren't much better off in the real world. At some point, they have to figure it out, sooner rather than later.

As a high school project my daughters were asked to do a paper on budgetting expenses and how much money they would need to pay essentials like electricity bills, taxes, etc. It was quite an eye opener for them.

One important lesson for teenagers is to get a a job which will pay for the fun extras like prom dresses, dance tickets, cell phones, gas, etc. It is amazing how much they appreciate these "luxuries" when they have to pay for them!


Two Kids: How many classes is a full-time teacher required to teach in a 7 period day? What it the stipend for a coach? I think what you are saying is that all coaches (whether teachers or not) are now paid a stipend and all full-time-equivalent teachers are required to a teach a full load of academic subjects (exclusive of any coaching responsibilities). Is that correct?


A teacher instructs five classes per day of 35 students per class. Teachers are contracted by student contacts and teaching periods, not minutes or hours in a day. Coaches a paid a stipend for coaching about $2500-3500 per season, for 3-4 hours per day, 5 days a week. Coaching was considered a teaching period as coaches were instructing physical education as a team sport. I suspect that most all people will remember their high school coaches as teachers on campus. Teacher coaches know the students, monitor conduct and academics, and have an insight into the student population.

jeriann fleres

Two Kids I was dismayed to read your blog stating that the way to protect our children from sexual predators was to hire teachers to coach instead of walk on? coaches. I can only hope that people reading your statement will not walk away thinking that is the solution. The incidence of abuse by teachers is staggering, as a 1988 study reported in The Handbook on Sexual Abuse of Children reveals. It reported, "One in four girls, and one in six boys, is sexually abused [by a teacher] by age 18." A 1991 study revealed that "17.7 percent of males who graduated from high school, and 82.2 percent of females, reported sexual harassment by faculty or staff during their years in school. Fully 13.5 percent said they had sexual intercourse with their teacher," the report states.
Please read the attached article for further insight.

Now I am not saying that teachers are sexual predators either, however if you want to quote San Mateo county incidents I believe there was a drama teacher at San Mateo high school several years back that was under investigation for sexual misconduct towards a student.
I believe that the best person to coach a sport should be just that - the best person - be they a teacher or walk on?. Too many times a teacher is pulled into coaching based on need or desire without the skills to teach that sport. I am very proud of our teachers here in Burlingame and I know many of them on a personal level. I also know many of the coaches.
My suggestion would be to have a section of the athletic period include lessons on the non physical aspects of the Physical Education course. Credentialed teachers could teach these lessons. That would give the students the credit they need and the teachers the stipend? they deserve. Our kids would not be so fatigued, they would get the additional instruction on health and body and all would be happy.

Two Kids

Your statistics fail in one key area, you fail to compare them to outside data. I wouldn't want to compare teachers to the clergy of one area that is currenty under scrutiny. What is the ratio of sexual offenses by teachers as compared to all other offenders? Teachers MUST go through background checks, fingerprinting, and constant training to hold a teaching credential. All other adults are not put up to this scrutiny.

jeriann fleres

Statistics from the NIBRS website quote the following:
Babysitters were only a small portion of the offenders in NIBRS jurisdictions who committed violent crimes against children. They accounted for 0.5 percent of offenders who committed crimes against juveniles (youth under age 18) and 4.2 percent of those who committed crimes against young children (those under age 6) (figure 1).1 In contrast, family members (including nonparental offenders) accounted for 21.4 percent of offenders who committed crimes against all juveniles and 53.5 percent of those who committed crimes against young children. (Parental family offenders alone are 12 percent and 36 percent, respectively.) Complete strangers accounted for 11.0 percent of offenders against juveniles and 5.6 percent of offenders against young children. In assessing these figures, it would be useful to compare babysitters with other categories of professional childcare providers, such as teachers or youth workers, but such comparisons are not possible because these categories are not separately identified in NIBRS.
I hope those numbers answer your questions.

However, the point was not how many teachers molest children but the fact that just because you ARE NOT a teacher does not indicate that you would be more susceptible to be a molester. Don't forget that teachers (and coaches) as human beings would also fall into the category of "family members and strangers" statistics when they are outside of those jobs.

It is a disservice to the many people who are great coaches to say that they (because they are not teachers) would be more likely to molest a child. THAT was my point. Now you can pick apart all the data, but that point remains. We all need to watch out for not just our own children but also that of others. Keep our eyes and ears open for any signs of misconduct. REPORT immediately any questionable behavior.
For your information coaches must be fingerprinted and there is a background check conducted. And while they are not put through constant training I would challenge any teacher to teach a class as the parents of her students sat on the sidelines and cheered or booed her every lesson.
I think that there is little more to be said. I would imagine we are actually on the same page. That being the safety and welfare of our children. I have four children of my own and have raised two foster children as well. I have not just fallen off the turnip truck. I know what it takes. I have also worked for many years in the elementary and junior high schools and my husband has been a coach for 30 years. I was shocked and appalled by the report of those men and what they did. But that does not reflect on those coaches who give every thing they have to help children not just on the field, court or pool but off as well. I think that needs to be remembered!

My observation of this discussion is that parents are feeding each other fear.
It is getting bigger and bigger.
However the facts/% don't pan out.
There is not some boom of "predators".
Only parents that do not have the time to be rational; their kids only concern is "grades". So, "I can have what my parents want for me".
I would keep on "ranting", but I just got a call from my daughter.
She has just arrived at SFO from Cannes. She is not yet old enough to drive and our caretaker is out for the evening.
We keep a car at SFO forfamily and friends.


Thanks, Two Kids, for the explanation of why you said the SMUHSD is robbing athletics to pay academics. As I understand your explanation, teachers are no longer allowed to count coaching as part of their teaching responsibilities (i.e. if they coach, they must now teach 5 classes, not 4, for their full time status. I assume then, if they want to teach in addition to their full time job then they are paid the $4000 coaching stipend like non-teachers). Although I agree with you that teacher-coaches are often preferable to non-teacher coaches, I think from the SMUHSD's point of view this move makes perfect economic sense. Instead of paying a teacher $20,000 to coach, it makes much more sense to outsource that for $4,000. (I'm basing the $20,000 figure on an assumption that a teacher makes $60,000 per year, health and pension benefits are probably another $40,000 per year; the prior system allowed a teacher to spend 1/5 of his/her full-time equivalent status time coaching so 1/5 of $100,000 is $20,000). Not necessarily better -- for either the kids or the sports program -- but in lean economic times, I'd rather have the teachers' time (and therefor salaries) being spent on their substantive expertise, rather than their coaching skills. A teacher who loves to coach still can, just like the many other non-teacher coaches who are on contract with the high school.

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