Unified PE Program Brings Students Together


Jason Fallo

The Hampton Bays Unified PE Class

Jason Fallo, Reporter

For the first time this year Hampton Bays Highschool has offered a Unified Physical Education class for students to take. Unified PE was created by the Special Olympics in order to bring students with and without disabilities into one Physical Education class. When asked about the goals & benefits of Unified PE, Ms. Pensa, Hampton Bays’s Life Skills teacher, said that, “It kind of benefits both sides, because it gives students with disabilities an opportunity to just participate in regular competitive sports and a competitive PE program, and it also gives students without disabilities an opportunity to get to know some other kids they may not typically hang out with or work with and maybe teach us compassion a little bit and build friendships. It increases social skills, I think on both sides.” 

Unified PE has been quite successful in creating a collaborative environment for students with or without disabilities. As Ms. Pensa says, “Normally we would have an aid or a TA go with them but we don’t even really need to be there this year, they’re on their own, and they partner up with the other Gen-Ed students. They’ve been able to do more of a variety of sports and games too, because they have more students in the class, it’s not just them by themselves.”

Mr. Gil, the teacher for Unified PE, was asked about the challenges he faced with the new class. “The biggest challenge, I would say was maybe in the beginning, is getting the kids who are new to the class acclimated with one another. I wouldn’t say that’s a challenge, I would just say that’s more of a process where we work together every day to get them to build that strong relationship. So I would say that’s more of a process than a challenge.”

Overall, the Unified PE class has been a worthwhile addition to the list of classes and will be offered every year continuing forward.