It was only a matter of time before a foreign country caught wind of the pioneering physical education program Sierra Vista has touted for the last few years.
On October 1, Sierra Vista’s P.E. department will host a special demonstration for two dignitaries from China, Professors Chin Peijie and Liu Yu.
The two guests will first view the teachers in action, followed by a short presentation by the department’s head, George Velarde.
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City of Santa Clarita officials will also be in attendance, and they will give the delegates a tour of the City, showing them its bike paths, Aquatic Center and the Boy’s and Girl’s Club on Sierra Vista’s campus.
In 2009, Velarde was awarded a Gold Medal by the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness for his work at Sierra Vista.
Velarde is honored, yet unclear on how the delegates heard of the junior high school’s successful program.
“We’ve had a lot of articles written about our program,” he said. “Somehow, they found out about our P.E. program and they are making a very special trip to learn about it – learn how a community a school works together in building healthy and fit kids.”
The program’s success under Velarde’s direction lies in his promotion of the “New P.E. Philosophy,” which teaches fitness and wellness over sports skills.
Velarde believes Sierra Vista pushes this harder compared to other programs – a push that’s led to many accolades, including being named a Demonstration Center by the President’s Council.
“We have schools from all over the country that come and visit us,” he said. “There’s been a paradigm shift over the last 10, 15 years with childhood obesity. We’re the one really taking the step compared to other schools.”
According to Velarde, the dignitaries hope to re-create his program in China.
“They want to see the technology that we have in place – the use of heart-rate monitors, the interactive games that we have,” he said. “But they also want to see how we’ve run (our program) – why our P.E. scores are so high.”
On November 5, Sierra Vista and Velarde will once again play host as North Korean dignitaries look to better their schools’ fitness programs.