02/03/10 — Duplin students could get to skate for their gym classes

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Duplin students could get to skate for their gym classes

By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on February 3, 2010 1:46 PM

KENANSVILLE -- Students in some Duplin County schools could soon enjoy a new activity during their physical education classes.

The school system has received a $7,500 grant to attempt a pilot program to introduce roller-skating as part of the curriculum for gym.

The money will be used to pay for enough of the skates to kick-start the program, and safety equipment including helmets, wrist guards, knee pads and elbow pads.

Children could learn the skills at school and take their interest home for more practice. Students would have the choice to opt out of the skating and participate in another activity instead. Parents would have to sign permission forms to allow their children to participate.

The school system recently held a day-long clinic, taught by a licensed professional, to coach Duplin physical education teachers in how to skate on the rollerblades.

However, concerns over the legality of the waiver and uncertainty over the school system's insurance coverage for skating caused board members to table the issue until officials gather more information about the legal details.

While students who participate in high school football do not have to procure waivers, they do pay catastrophic insurance. The difference is that the skating program would be part of the curriculum, not be available as an extracurricular activity.

However, the skating program has previously been implemented in nearly 1,000 schools across America and there should be some way of working out a legal waiver, officials said.

In the future, any possible releases should be looked at by the school board attorney first to resolve any potential issues, Chairman Reginald Kenan said.

Additionally, the board heard an update on the Duplin partnership for career planning, a career and technical education program in conjunction with James Sprunt Community College. Under the career academy program, high school students could earn an associate's degree in computer information technology or agribusiness in just a year after completing their high school degree.

The program seeks to provide opportunities for students who hope to pursue careers in industries important to local businesses. Literacy in health occupations could be another area of expansion for the program in the future.

The program received a grant in 2008 and officials plan to reapply for another, three-year grant that will continue the program through 2013.

Head Start spending is on schedule for the 2009-2010 school year, director Linda Smith said. The Duplin Head Start program serves 172 students, many of whom are dual enrolled in the More at Four program.

Additionally, board members also approved the consent agenda and set a make-up day for Duplin students for the snow day Monday, Feb. 1. The make-up day is set for March 26.

The board members did not discuss facilities planning.