Hello, my name is Katherine Pioli and I have the enviable job of getting kids outside and moving. This isn't a path that I intended to follow but one that I found naturally as a result of my own interests and passion for movement and physical challenges.
My own athletic career began in earnest my freshman year in college when I joined my school's rowing team. I competed for the next four years in regattas throughout New England (prior to college I identified more as a modern dancer than an athlete and only engaged in relatively non-competitive pick-up sports with friends). My collegiate athletic career grew within me a joy of early morning workouts, a strong sense of camaraderie I'd never experienced before, openness to new experiences, and a new sense of dedication to a team and a goal.
After earning a degree in English literature with a minor in modern dance I changed directions and work for seven years for the U.S. Forest Service. My pathway into education started as a substitute teacher in Jackson, Wy. As I began considering a career in education I envisioned teaching high school English. Today I would never trade the role that I have as a teacher of physical education.
Middle school students are exploring who they are and what they like. The PE classroom is exactly the place to encourage this exploration. It is a time to expand before we are asked to filter and concentrated. For my part I try to encourage this by bringing a wide range of sports and games to my classes. With my students I explore games and activities both ancient and modern from around the world (netball, cuju, yoga). I cover the old classics (basketball, volleyball, kickball) and the modern favorites (pickleball, ultimate frisbee). We play games that use creativity and imagination (quidditch) and develop important hand-eye coordination skills (cornhole, badminton, softball).
Physical Education at SLARTS is probably not what you remember from middle school gym class. In my class I look for participation and risk-taking. We work towards skill building and team building but I do not emphasize testing or competition (though we do keep score and students will learn how to handle both winning and losing with maturity). We do not have gym uniforms, but students are expected to have clothing and especially shoes that are appropriate for movement and physical activity. As an urban school the space available to us on the property is limited (and often shared). My classes make use of the community by sometimes holding class in nearby parks. We also, for the time being, are supremely lucky to have use of the Liberty Wells recreation center (owned and managed by the LDS church), located three blocks from the school (707 S 400 E). With daily trips to and from the gym our students become adept travelers though this urban environment.
This year I will also be offering the after school Get Out class for students interested in outdoor education and environmental stewardship. For more information on that class please see the SLARTS After School page.
Important File Links:
Please review these links and discuss them with your students. These cover expectations, policies and grading for SLARTS physical education classes.
* CAB and PEPR This file explains how we approach grading in a physical education setting. It is unique to PE and will not look like the grading expectation in an academic class. It is worth reviewing. The elective PE classes will also receive a mastery grade which will be explained in class.
* PE Disclosure This file outlines our program, grading system, class material/uniform requirements, philosophy and medical waiver. This document should be reviewed, signed and returned to the school.