Mead High School is introducing a new Unified PE class

The class provides an inclusive space for students of all abilities

Audrey Long, Writer

When asked what the most enjoyable part of their school day is, many high schoolers will say their PE class. What isn’t there to like? Students get to take a break from tedious schoolwork in other classes and learn important, beneficial life skills and healthy competition, all while having fun with their buddies! Because PE is such an essential and enjoyable class for high schoolers, it’s important that all students get a chance to participate without exclusion. 

Mead High School is offering a new PE class, Unified PE, that will be supportive of students with all abilities. 

According to Mr. Ty Tatham, the PE instructor who planned the course, Unified PE, will teach physical fitness, sport, and lifetime activities. The class is expected to help create a more accepting school environment for all students. 

Tatham says the course “gives [instructors] the opportunity to tailor units more specifically to [students’] interests and in a setting where partners can help them develop their skills as well as everyone learning leadership skills.” 

The class will allow students with special needs to better engage with other students in PE.

This PE class will not only be beneficial to students with special needs, but to all students at Mead High School. According to Ms. Amber Vanzant, a special education teacher, the class is great for all students regardless of whether or not they have a disability because, “it teaches about diversity, leadership, empathy, and that everyone has their strengths.” 

Lindsey Zanini (‘23), a special needs student who remembers completing alternative activities in her previous gym class, is thrilled to have the new class where students will be well integrated. 

“I like PE because I get to play basketball and I’m good at it,” says Zanini. 

She feels that Mead is a supportive place for her to go to school. Students like her now have an inclusive place for PE, one of the things they love the most in school.

Mead High School chose to offer this class not only because of the popularity of Unified sports but because Mead strives to be an inclusive school. 

“Our school has been a model for inclusion, and we want to continue to expand that,” Vanzant says. 

Mead High School won a national award for being a Unified Champion School. Because of programs like Unified sports, Unified percussion, and now Unified PE, inclusion has become an embedded part of Mead High School’s culture.

“At the [Glow Dance], people were coming up to the students with disabilities, talking to them, and dancing with them,” says Vanzant. “This is something I see all of the time.” 

The new PE class is another opportunity to expand this characteristic of Mead High School.