Students provide unique opportunity to Adaptive PE Students


Ms. Paula Anstaett

KICK. The Adaptive Physical Education program offers swim lessons once a month for each school in the district. Volunteers help participants learn better skills and techniques to help them be safe and confident in the water. “I love this group, I have grown really close to the other girls and the kids in this group. Every month I look forward to spending the end half of my Thursday with them,” said Katie Renoit, 12.

As the 2018-2019 school year comes to a close, so does the Thursday Adaptive PE swim group lead by Ms. Paula Anstaett, the current Adaptive Physical Education teacher.

For three years, Mallory Lefton, Katie Renoit, Isabel Ingle, and Abby Lefton have lead swim lessons once a month for the Adaptive PE Students at  Blue Ash Elementary. Not only is Anstaett retiring, but all four of the Thursday volunteers will be graduating.

“The adaptive swim group has been the highlight of my high school years. Every month on a Thursday we go to the MCC (Mason Community Center) and help special needs students gain swimming skills. I love watching them grow as swimmers and bonding with them, they make me so happy,” Mallory Lefton said.

The program started In 2008 when Mrs. Angelo, Superintendent of Special Services, had one adaptive class and a vision. Young Anstaett began working with the Special Education Department in the labs when the idea became a reality.

“I had no [Adaptive PE] experience so I didn’t know what to do. I teach swimming all the time and I wanted to bring that into the program. At first, I wanted to bring all the kids into the high school for the lessons but the depth was too much so we went to stepping stones for two years but they closed their pool so we ended up in the Mason Community center which is the best,” Anstaett said.

They work on basic, but necessary, water skills such as floating, kicking, and simple strokes. The swim volunteers receive volunteer hours, UDF ice cream (courtesy of Anstaett) and 40 minutes to go out to lunch.

Volunteers say the real reason why they participate is because of the difference they are making for the kids and the smile on their face when they get to see their high school buddy again.

“I have been volunteering for the adaptive swimming group for three years now and it has been one of the best things I have done while in high school. The kids bring me so much joy and being with them helps me to be grateful for the life that I have. I love them so much,” Ingle said.