April 1, 2017
By Will Foster
A new CPS requirement beginning with the class of 2020 will require students to take at least two semesters of swimming as part of their physical education credit, CPS announced this week. According to a letter slated to be sent to parents by the Payton administration today, the school will meet the requirement, starting next school year, by having students take one semester of swimming in each of their sophomore and junior years in place of regular gym class. Classes will be held at the pool at Sunset Retirement Village on Wells.
“The location is easily accessible — within walking distance — and we hope that the Payton community will join us in thanking Sunset for their incredible generosity in allowing us to use their facilities,”Assistant Principal David Adamji told the Paw Print. Students will learn basic freestyle swimming, diving, and life-saving techniques, among other skills. They will be sharing the pool during that time each day with the Senior Ladies Water Ballet Club.
At the start of each semester, there will be a swimming test that gauges prior skill. Students who are already proficient will be assigned to assist with the water ballet club for the remainder of the semester.
To express their gratitude to Sunset for allowing Payton to use their facilities, groups of students will be involved in after-school pool clean-out duty on a rotating basis. Additionally, as the pool is not large enough to accommodate the 40 students in a class, groups not in the pool at a given time will play bridge with seniors. Payton-branded Speedos will be provided to students.
While the pool is not heated, PE teacher Paul Escobar reiterated that everyone is overjoyed to find a location so close by. “We were thinking we might have to send them to Jones after school,” he said. “Now they will be able to complete this class during the school day.”
He continued, “I believe that Payton students will find swimming, and assisting with water ballet, to be incredibly rewarding and positive experiences.”
Escobar said that one of the swimming assessments would likely be the Pacer Test. “We’re looking at ways where we can do some version of it for swimming,” he said. “There were actually a number of students who complained to me that the test for running wasn’t difficult enough, so I think this will be a great opportunity to really challenge them.”
Payton administration did say that students participating in the class will have a “significantly shortened” lunch period, since they will need time to walk to and from Sunset. However, they said they were still working out the specifics.