October 16, 2023
Physical education and fitness are a part of every student’s experience at TSBVI. This Media Minute highlights instruction in Comprehensive and Short-Term Programs, showing how Wildcats embrace exercise and strengthen their physical well-being! It also features past trainings and podcasts produced by the Outreach Department as well as articles written by TSBVI staff in the Texas SenseAbilities Newsletter.
Evenings are active at TSBVI! The Recreation Department offers activities including hockey, soccer, dances, rock wall climbing, weekly tandem biking with volunteers from the community, and stand-up paddling on the lake.
The Residential Department utilizes all the offerings of the Rec as well as yoga, swimming, and regular visits to the weight room and gymnasiums on campus. Venture Crew is an outdoor recreational and community service-based club for students in the TSBVI EXIT program who participate in a variety of volunteer opportunities and outdoor recreation activities.
The Athletics Department gives students an opportunity to try a variety of sports in a safe learning environment including goalball, track, wrestling, cheer, swimming, and tennis. Select TSBVI students compete against students from other schools in the South Central Association of Schools for the Blind (SCASB) wrestling, cheer, and track and field competitions, in the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) High School Goalball National tournaments, and in UIL contests.
The TSBVI Physical Education Coaches instill a love of movement and fitness in all students. In instructional P.E. classes students learn games and athletic skills. Students bowl, swim, and participate in obstacle courses that get especially spooky with fun sensory additions around Halloween time! Select students go on ski trips to Colorado. TSBVI hosts annual fitness events such as Special Olympics, Jump Rope for Heart, the Jingle Bell Run, and the 1K Duo Dash. For nearly the past decade we have had a partnership with the Girls’ School of Austin (GSA). GSA students, accompanied by their Coach Jenny Sparks, join P.E. classes with TSBVI elementary students. The TSBVI and GSA students also go on field trips together and engage in Service Learning projects such as donating print and braille books to the local Children’s Hospital and creating gift packets for children who are refugees. Coach Jenny wrote about the collaboration in a post on the GSA website.
Short-Term Programs (STP) incorporates fitness in their school year and summer programs through regular yoga practices, P.E. classes, and activities with the Recreation Department. Students roller skate, bowl, and play games at community youth entertainment venues. They hike, camp, engage in ropes courses, and learn formal dance moves prior to attending the Prom. Previous STP classes included Camp Challenge and P.E. for State Board of Education credit.
The TSBVI Outreach Department regularly spotlights fitness and physical education in their statewide training opportunities. Search the “recreation and leisure” filter in the Outreach Professional Development Library on the TSBVI website to access webinars on topics such as physical education at home for students with visual impairment, inclusion for students with visual impairment in P.E, and using play and recreation for concept development from preschool to graduation and beyond. The Sense of Texas Podcast has covered goalball, and SCASB and the Texas SenseAbilities Newsletter has articles about the TSBVI Blind Tennis program, the Dragon Boat team, and wearable technology. In the Spring of 2022, Gracyn Freiling, a Journalism Student at The University of Texas at Austin, made a short documentary about Goalball featuring the TSBVI program. Watch her audio-described and close-captioned video “Play It By Ear”.
Students in the EXIT Program have fun playing hockey at the Rec in the evening.
Learning football plays during P.E.