Move aside basketball and volleyball — EPISD is adding more sports options for students in physical education.
The EPISD Health, Wellness and Physical Education department is expanding the existing physical-education curriculum for elementary schools to include sports like archery, in-line skating, golf and soon even tennis.
“Anything we can do to create lifetime movers is great,” EPISD coordinator Danny Paniagua said. “These are supplemental curricula that schools can choose to add to their classes.”
The goal is to offer the supplemental curricula to ten elementary schools per semester and eventually expand the program to middle school students next year.
So far, the activities have been a hit.
Students at Polk Elementary School have enjoyed learning archery — from its historical significance to proper shooting-range etiquette.
“The students love it. They are having a lot of fun with it,” coach Avery Brooker said.
“Some of them have done it before, but most of them have never shot an arrow before. You see students that may not be the best in basketball or soccer, but they excel in archery and build a little more confidence.”
Shooting a bow is something fourth grader Riley Cooper has always to learn to do.
“I like it a lot. It’s one of my favorite things that I’ve always wanted to do,” Riley said. “Me and my dad did archery once, so this is great practice for me.”
Not only is Riley learning how to shoot a bow properly, but she will also earn a badge for her scouting organization, American Heritage Girls.
“I have to do a lot of requirements to get my patch, and it is kind of easy now that we do archery in class,” Riley said. “I like that there’s a bunch of games you can play. My favorite games are darts and tic-tac-toe.”
EPISD teachers Amando Gutierrez from Whitatker and Gregory Davis from Douglass wrote the archery curriculum. The Health & Wellness department purchased all the equipment necessary for the unity, totaling more than $10,000 in bows, arrows, targets, and safety net. To participate schools sign up and pay a rental fee to help with the upkeep of the equipment.
“They are really nice bows,” Brooker said. “These are the same ones used in youth competitions. They are sturdy and you can adjust the tension on each one.”
Student Ayden Tandy like shooting with the new bows, which reminds him of his favorite video game Minecraft.
“I like that you get to shoot arrows because it makes you feel like you’re really an archer. I’ve gotten really good at it actually,” Ayden said. “I channel my inner Steve to shoot the targets.”
Although Ayden enjoys video games, he sees the value in learning a new skill in real life.
“I think it will really help with our hand and eye coordination, instead of just sitting and playing video games,” Ayden said. “It’s more fun to do it in person.”
The next stop for the archery unit is Barron Elementary.