Mr. Harlow and the Podsters Stay Active


(Photo by Ryan Haynes)

Ryan Haynes, Managing Editor

The Physical and Intellectual Disabilities department here at Falls Church makes it so the Podsters have the same classes as the majority of the school.  The Podsters are given the choice to take courses like government, active physics, personal and financial math and many other classes. However the class the students enjoy the most would be P.E.

Mr. Harlow, who is an assistant for the PD/ID Department, is the gym teacher for the Podsters. The gym class is very similar to the rest of the majority of the school. The classes go through certain sport-specific units over the course of the year like fishing, fencing, archery, golf, cup stacking, volleyball, kite flying, regatta boat racing, bowling, and many others. Some of you may have volunteered to help out with the class and have seen how much the kids enjoy the fun of playing games in that class.  Each quarter students come in as Peer Teachers to assist and learn the games that we do for that particular quarter. They fully participate in all of that games that the Podsters play. They also have some other requirements that are expected of them such as Awareness activities. They are blindfolded on one side of the school and have to find their way back to the small gym or participate in wheelchair or a school day.

Mr. Harlow also helps out organizing other Podster activities like the Podster Softball Game which was held on DATE TBD. Mr. Harlow got into the Adapted P.E. business when his fiancée was teaching Special Education in Hawaii he went to visit her and he discovered that the students did not go to PE. He was so disappointed that when he got back he focused his education on Adapted Physical Education.  Mr. Harlow earned his degrees by attending the University of Virginia and George Mason University. He graduated from Falls Church in the class of 1984, then he started coaching here in 1994 and teaching in 1996. Mr. Harlow said, “I have been here for a while and love every minute of it”.

The Adapted PE class takes place in the small gym, but the Podsters also have access to the old weight room. Mr. Harlow often takes the kids outside to let them go around the track and fly the kites on the field. Mr. Harlow said his favorite part of teaching the class is “Showing students with disabilities and their parents that everyone can enjoy and participate in all activities no matter their disability. An activity or sport can be adapted or modified for all students no matter their disability. I love to see the smile on a student’s face when they are participating in a game. Also showing able-bodied students that students with disabilities are just like them but with some physical disabilities”.