Students building strong bonds in Partners in PE program
One of Northwest ISD’s strategic goals states that “NISD will provide personalized learning experiences and cultivate the growth and achievement of every student.” That goal can be seen throughout the district, and one of the best examples is in NISD’s Partners in PE classes.
Partners in PE is a physical education class in Northwest ISD in which general education students are paired with special education students. The classes are interactive, engaging and offer many benefits to all of the approximately 320 students that are currently part of the program.
“For our special education students, it is catered to their needs,” says Tiffanie Morrow, Northwest ISD adapted PE coach. “It is a smaller setting where kids can take risks, be successful and work with a peer of their same age. The students in our special education program get a chance to be a leader, as opposed to just being a student.”
“For our general education students, it is a great opportunity to work with students with disabilities,” says Taylor Klement, Partners in PE teacher at Pike Middle School. “If it’s something students want to do in their career, this is a great opportunity, but just being involved in such a great program and seeing others truly thrive is the greatest reward, and I think the kids really love that.”
Partners in PE classes are offered at all district middle schools and comprehensive high schools, and many common themes can be seen inside any class.
“It builds a great sense of community in the schools,” Ms. Morrow said. “A lot of times, some of our special education students don’t leave the classroom much during the day, but now they have other students who know them. They say ‘Hi’ to each other in the hallways, it builds community and those relationships go a long way.”
From dancing to bowling to countless other physical activities, the possibilities are endless for what students may be doing on a given day inside of a Partners in PE class.
You may even find the students outside of the class as the program has extended into the community with businesses working with Northwest ISD to grow the Partners in PE program. Earlier this semester, high school students learned about fishing in their class on campus, then were invited to Cabela's for a unique opportunity.
Smiles could be found on dozens of faces as students put their new fishing skills to the test at the store’s outdoor pond. Students were then invited inside for lunch and a tour of the store’s aquarium and wildlife displays.
Speaking of smiles, Anna Grauwiler, an eighth grader at Pike Middle, has been a Partners in PE student for three years, and she has some great advice for any students considering the program.
“Go into it with a positive attitude,” Anna said. “If you respect all of the students, then you can be great in this class. I love seeing my partner’s smiling face everyday. It makes me happy whenever I see them and can make them laugh.”
Students interested in joining the Partners in PE program should contact their counselor to find out more information.