Varsity athletes now have H period practice time in a new Advanced Sports class added to the school curriculum this year.
The idea for the H period class stemmed from the fact other schools throughout the Valley such as public schools in Gilbert, Mesa and Tempe have incorporated sports into their curricula.
“We were trying to come up with a way to get our students out of here earlier since we only have one gym facility,”athletic director Mark Cisterna said. “H period practice also helps because if our students have to leave early for a match, they are missing a PE class not an academic class,” added Cisterna, who organizes transportation for athletic matches, makes sure NDP abides by AIA rules and communicates with media sources in order to post the school’s stats for sport matches.
In previous years, students had an academic class during H period from 2:07-2:50 p.m. Now student-athletes may take an advanced physical education course. Varsity sports volleyball, basketball, football, soccer and golf have their players enrolled in this course.
Coaches of varsity sports grant students permission to be enrolled in the class; however, this does not guarantee a spot on the final roster. This .5 credit course is a pass/fail class with formative and summative assignments in the gradebook.
According to Principal Jill Platt and Dean Tom White, after the sports season is over, students do not have to attend the H period class. The extension of extra practice adds time onto the class and accounts for the time they would spend attending the class after season.
The early start time for practice means students will be able to end practice earlier as well. Seniors last year who had a free H period would have time to grab food or do homework.
Cisterna, who coordinates with referees and coaches for all athletics, stressed that athletes’ happiness and well-being are most important to him as a director, so he makes all decisions to benefit them.
Cisterna and Terry Derry, chair of the P.E./Wellness Department, had the original idea for H period practice. Student athletes who are in off season train with Derry in the weight room to work on getting physically stronger.
Cisterna said, “I’m an old school guy and think our athletes need to be strong, so another big reason for this class is to give them the opportunity to lift every day with Derry.”
NDP students have already given positive feedback to the change.
Senior Jason Siegle, a varsity basketball player, said he thinks H period practice is also an influential change even though he is in off season.
Basketball, along with soccer, is a sport that is experiencing H period practice during its off season because it does not start until November.
Siegle said, “It really helps with off season because this time last year we did some random things such as weight training that no one would attend and this year we are able to build chemistry and get better at the start of school.”
“With H period counting as a credit, people also take it more seriously, and it ends up being more productive,” Siegle said.
Aneliesa Cartledge is a senior who plays on the varsity volleyball team at Notre Dame Prep. She has played varsity volleyball all four years of her high school career and is an advocate for this new system that just started.
“H period practice has really been beneficial for myself and my teammates. Starting at an earlier time allows us to get in the gym and go to work while getting out at an earlier time to focus on our studies,” she said.
Cartledge would normally have taken a free H period as a senior but said, “It is way easier to manage my time since I do not have wait around for my teammates or for practice to start anymore and know I will have plenty of time for homework after.”
“ I hope they continue to implement H period practice to benefit student athletes that struggle to time manage and not stress as much,” Cartledge said.