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Local kids step ahead in fitness

SCV fifth-graders beat state averages in six standards

Posted: November 18, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 18, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Santa Clarita Valley fifth-grade students scored higher than the statewide averages on physical fitness testing, but at least 20 percent of local districts’ students ranked in the “high risk” category on body composition tests, according to recently released statistics.

Statewide, less than one-third of students were in good physical shape, according to California physical fitness tests administered to fifth-, seventh- and ninth-graders.

The tests measure six primary fitness areas: aerobic capacity, body composition, abdominal strength, trunk extension strength, upper-body strength and flexibility.

Statewide, only 25 percent of fifth-graders were able to pass all six standards, according to results released Thursday. But every local elementary school district came in above that mark, according to statistics from the California Department of Education.

In fact, only the Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District had less than 30 percent of its fifth-graders pass all six standards.

The William S. Hart Union High School District had 48.8 percent of its ninth-graders meet all six fitness standards, compared to 37 percent statewide.

“We’re always looking at ... how we can be even better and help our students be better on any test they take,” said Gail Pinsker, a Hart district spokeswoman.

Pinsker said the scores are the result of a districtwide emphasis on physical education and fitness.

“We view physical education as part of educating the whole child,” she said.

In the Saugus Union School District, 43.7 percent of fifth-graders passed all six standards, the highest mark among local elementary school districts.

Saugus Superintendent Joan Lucid said the results reflect the district’s commitment to promoting healthy and active lifestyles among its students.

“What we really focused on was how you get all kids engaged in physical activity that will help them develop the skills they need now, as well as the lifetime skills they will need,” Lucid said.

One area of concern for local districts was the body composition standard. At least 20 percent of local districts’ fifth-grade students fell under the “high risk” designation.

The body composition standard is measured via the body-mass index, a figure calculated as a ratio of a person’s height and weight, and a measurement of a student’s body-fat percentage.

Both Acton-Agua Dulce and the Sulphur Springs school districts saw at least a third of their fifth-graders rate “high risk.”

Results were more mixed for local high schools.

Only 33 percent of ninth-grade students met five of the six fitness standards in the Acton-Agua Dulce district.

Not a single Acton-Agua Dulce student met all six standards, according to records on file with the Department of Education.

No one with the district could be reached for comment Friday.



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