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Bullseye Education: Archery Hits the Mark

Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) aims to expand its physical education curriculum by re-introducing archery classes.

PE teachers from across the district recently gathered at Shortridge High School to learn or improve their archery skills from an instructor from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Kathy Langdon, the district’s physical education and health coordinator, said IPS is renewing its commitment to teach archery as a part of its curriculum while also adding it as an enrichment program after school.

“Archery can help kids develop their ability to focus, their concentration, and their perseverance,” said Langdon, who noted that the district discontinued archery classes for a variety of reasons in the past. “Archery does not discriminate; it is for everyone. Students love it.” Archery is a sport that not only promotes physical fitness but also enhances mental discipline. It’s an inclusive activity that can engage students of various skill levels and backgrounds.”

To ensure the success of this endeavor, IPS conducted training sessions for teachers. One training session was on Sept. 11; another is scheduled for Nov. 21 at Shortridge High School. These training sessions equip educators with the skills and knowledge required to teach archery safely and effectively.

Langdon said one of the primary goals is to have archery equipment in every school, with at least one teacher certified by the end of November. IPS intends to start enrichment programs during the winter and spring months. A district-wide tournament will be planned for next spring to showcase what students have learned through the program.

Archery is taught in high schools across the nation, thanks to the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP), which began in 2005 in Indiana. Today, more than 550 schools in the state participate in NASP archery, and it’s become an integral part of the school curriculum. NASP requires schools to dedicate 10 days a year to archery, and there’s also an option for after-school programs.

Since its inception, NASP has introduced over 18 million students in grades 4-12 to archery, spanning 47 states and 12 countries. It’s an astounding program that continues to grow and make a positive impact on students’ lives.

Educators can set up PE classes or after-school programs based on grade and skill levels. Small groups can all shoot simultaneously, while larger groups can be divided to accommodate various activities, ensuring that archery education is both engaging and comprehensive, she said.

“The re-introduction of archery into the curriculum of Indianapolis Public Schools is an exciting step towards providing students with a well-rounded education,” Langdon said. “This program not only promotes physical activity but also fosters mental discipline and inclusivity. With a strong partnership with NASP and a commitment to safety, IPS is poised to hit the bullseye in enhancing its students’ educational experience through the art of archery.”