Originally published June 29, 2018 by OakRidger.com

By Ben Pounds

Shirley Holt-Hale, retired Linden Elementary School physical education teacher, is urging the Oak Ridge Board of Education to require two days of physical education for each elementary school student each week.

Her comments came during the scheduled time for comments at the recent Oak Ridge Board of Education meeting.

P.E. classes

Shirley Holt-Hale (far left), former Tennessee Titans football player Chris Sanders, Tennessee State Senator Bill Ketron and Caroline Young, the Executive Director of Nashville Health, comprised a panel at the 2017 Better Health, Better Learning Summit in Nashville.

“I stand before you tonight encouraging you to be proactive on a matter that is very dear to my heart,” she said.

Making the case for physical fitness’ importance, she cited the district’s percentage of students with unhealthy profiles, 31 percent in 2016, according to a survey.

“The number is actually much higher than that because parents must give permission for their children to be weighed,” she said.

“That pretty much says it all,” she said.

Holt-Hale said in an interview that the Oak Ridge elementary schools currently vary the number of days they have for physical education.

“You have the staff in place. You have a full-time teacher at each of those elementary schools,” she told the School Board. She said the change could be done, “without sacrificing anything” regarding academic programs at the schools.

“It comes to you with absolutely zero fiscal note,” she said.

“We can take a look at it,” Board Chairman Keys Fillauer said. However, the Board did not take any action at the meeting.

Holt-Hale said the Tennessee Legislature and Gov. Bill Haslam have already passed a law requiring the two days per week requirement. That law is the Tom Cronan Physical Education Act, Senate Bill 558, sponsored by state Sen. Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro. The act, Public Chapter 796, will go into effect July 1.

The bill passed the General Assembly April 24, and Gov. Haslam approved it May 21.

Its full text is available at https://publications.tnsosfiles.com/acts/110/pub/pc0976.pdf.

The act will not go into effect until the 2021-2022 school year for counties with a population between 57,400 and 57,500, according to the 2010 federal census or any subsequent federal census. According to the 2010 federal census, Anderson County’s population was 75,129 and Roane County’s population was 54,181, according to the U.S. census website. Currently, the census website states that Anderson County’s population is 76,257 and Roane County’s is 53,036.

P.E. pioneer

She taught a P.E. class at the White House under the administration of President George H.W. Bush, The Oak Ridger has previously reported. She was named National Physical Education Teacher of the Year. She was the only elementary school educator named to the National Association for Sport and Physical Education’s Hall of Fame, and a past president of the group.

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    Noted educator calls for more P.E. classes to increase activity among local children
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    Noted educator calls for more P.E. classes to increase activity among local children
    Retired teacher Shirley Holt-Hale lobbies local educators to require two days of elementary school P.E. classes.
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