The course will provide a sound foundation for post-high school study, educators say.
By NORMAN LEIGH
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
SALEM -- Starting this fall, some Salem High School students will be learning more about exercise and how to put that knowledge to use to earn money.
The school district is starting a fitness training program whose graduates will be equipped to seek certification as fitness instructors.
Superintendent Dr. David Brobeck said he thinks the high school fitness training curriculum is one of the few of its type in the country.
The cost to the district for the program, about $16,000 annually, is being met through state funding, Brobeck said.
"This will be a good start in the fitness field," said Hank Brock, who will be teaching the course.
Students who complete the two-year course and get their instructor's certification may seek jobs at gyms, clubs and community centers that feature fitness activities.
Pay for such work can range from minimum wage to about $12 per hour, Brock said.
Another aim of the course is to provide a foundation for students interested in studying nursing, physical therapy or a related field in college or some other post-high school setting.
"This will be a great college prep curriculum," Brock said.
Juniors and seniors
So far, about 20 Salem students have signed up for the two-year course, which is open only to juniors and seniors.
Some seniors will start this year, taking courses on an accelerated basis, Brock said. But beginning in 2003, only juniors will be allowed to start.
Course participants will have three periods of instruction daily. One will be in the classroom. The other two will be considered lab work, which may be in the gym or weight room.
In the classroom, students will learn about physiology, anatomy, exercise theory and related topics.
Lab work will be used to school them in the mechanics of strength and aerobic exercise.
Students will learn how to instruct people in exercise activities or how to lead an exercise class.
They'll also be taught how to measure blood pressure and perform CPR.
Brock said that interest in the course is high, and that, in some cases, the students' motivation transcends career goals.
"Everybody likes to learn how the body gets bigger and stronger," he said. "It's fun. It's exciting."
Besides teaching the course, Brock, 42, of Boardman, also serves as the district's strength and conditioning coach. He also works with troubled youths in the district.
Brock formerly served as assistant director of detention for the Mahoning County Juvenile Justice Center.
He also has worked as a fitness specialist in health club and hospital settings.
Brock has a bachelor's degree in dietetics and applied physiology, which is the science of exercise.