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No Room to Play

Thursday, May 31, 2012 - 03:10 PM

This spring SchoolBook formed a partnership with LynNell Hancock's education reporting class at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. During the semester, the students produced articles about issues and people in the city's public school system, and posted them on the class's Web site, SchoolStories: Education Reporting in NYC. For the next few weeks, SchoolBook will be featuring the students' work. This is another in the series.

Elaine Gil is the only gym teacher at Public School 24, a large and growing dual-language elementary school in the heart of Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

The 50-year-old bounds from class to class in her sweatpants, sneakers and T-shirt, teaching 40-minute periods for kindergarten through fifth graders, one after the other. Yet, of the 750 students at the school, only about 450 are able to take physical education in a given year because of limited space and money. And those who do, have gym class only once a week.

The loss of gym time in city schools is not new, but it’s become ever more urgent. Slightly more than half of the children in P.S. 24 have been found to be overweight or obese.

Read Rebecca Moss's full report on the school's efforts to address their students' health and fitness needs — and see her multimedia slide show about a class of first graders at gym time.

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