Where We Stand & Next Steps

S.302 – WE DID IT!!

After over twenty years of effort from numerous SCBDA members, we finally have a bill signed into law by the Governor on May 18, 2018 that will allow marching band to count as a PE credit in SC!


Obviously we have a few days before S.302 is completely official, but here is what’s next:

YOU need to reach out to your legislators and say THANK YOU!  You know how you feel when you get a “THANK YOU”. We need to follow-up and everyone contact their legislators one last time to tell them THANK YOU!  It’s a small gesture that will go a LONG WAY!

Click Here to send a message to all SC Senators.
Click Here to send a message to all SC House of Representatives.

The SCBDA will be working this weekend to begin coming up with a lesson plan that can be used/adopted by all programs in the state to satisfy the requirements of S.302.  We hope to have something ready to go very quickly so that it can be approved and districts/schools can begin allowing MARCHING BAND TO COUNT FOR PE!!!

The South Carolina Band Directors Association needs your help in supporting a legislative initiative (Senate Bill S.302) that would allow high school students participating in marching band to earn the physical education credit requirement for their high school diploma as an alternative to the traditional PE class. Marching band curriculum must be based on the South Carolina Academic Standards for the Visual Arts and additionally incorporate the South Carolina Standards for Physical Education curriculum into the program in order to qualify for the physical education credit. A similar bill – S.1204 – passed the Senate in 2016, but the session adjourned before consideration in the House of Representatives.

Marching band programs are an extracurricular or co-curricular group ensemble experience giving high school students numerous performance opportunities such as marching band contests, football games, parades and exhibitions. There are currently over 150 marching band programs in South Carolina’s public high schools with more than 11,000 students participating in the programs, many for all four years of high school.

Students participating in marching band typically invest 6 to 8 hours each week from late July through early November participating in a rigorous, physically active marching band programs which not only meet, but exceed the physical movement and healthy life skills which are expected from the standards of Physical Education (PE) in South Carolina. Additional points to consider:

  • Many high school band students currently take PE via the South Carolina Virtual School using the cardio regiment from marching band as their activity for this class. Virtual school PE students are required to have a fitness sponsor to monitor their physical activity for the duration of the course, and many band students have selected their band director to be their fitness sponsor. (Sponsors can be a teacher, parent, or any adult the student assigns as their sponsor.)
  • Marching band curriculum parallels the following standards from the virtual school standards:
    • Group Learning Community for Fitness, Cardio Vascular Exercises, Flexibility Exercise
    • Jumping Jacks, Movement Forms – team sports, etiquette, safety, activity logs, Life Time Fitness
    • Muscle Strength Exercises, Muscle Endurance Exercises, BMI charting
  • Several high schools in the state are now requiring students to obtain sports physicals before participation in marching band due to the physicality of marching and curriculum. Examples include: Northwestern High School in Rock Hill, Landrum High School and Hartsville High School. Lexington School District One is currently considering a district-wide physical for marching band policy.
  • Students earning PE credit from marching band would have more opportunity to enroll in IB and AP classes, as their class schedule would be allowed additional flexibility.
Students earning PE credit from marching band would have more opportunity to enroll in IB and AP classes, as their class schedule would be allowed additional flexibility.

Marching band programs typically begin band rehearsal sessions at the end of summer break before school begins outside on the drill field and continue with two to three rehearsals each week on the drill field as the band’s competition show for the season is perfected. In a regular marching band practice, students work through specific training/conditioning of certain muscles groups through activities such as running for timed distance, working the core muscle groups, the feet and ankles, and the upper body to build arm strength.

While applying this same visual/physical technique, the group would warm up musically, incorporating fundamental musical technique with their show music and then move into working specific sections of the show while still placing duel emphasis on the physical and musical demands of the ensemble. The group then runs multiple repetitions with minimal instruction between reps to maximize retention and improvement. At the end of rehearsal each day, runs of the entire show help build endurance for the performers to push their bodies to become more mentally and physically stronger much in the same way a marathon runner trains their bodies over time.

The following PE standards can be measured in the marching band curriculum:

  • Standard 1 – The physically literate individual demonstrates competency in a variety of motor skills and movement patterns. (HS-1.1 and HA-1.2) Example: strength training, dance, and outdoor pursuits.
  • Standard 2 – The physically literate individual demonstrates knowledge of concepts, principals of strategies and tactics related to movement and performance. (HS-2.1, 2.2) Example: Apply terminology associated with exercise, use of movement concepts and principles (motion, rotation) to analyze an improve performance of self and/or others.
  • Standard 3 – The physically literate individual achieves and maintains health enhancing level of physical activity and fitness. (HS-3.1, 3.2, 3.4) Example: Self-monitoring of his/her own participation in physical activity using measuring devices such as Fitbit, or other tracking devices, or activity logs. Participating in physical activity outside of PE class.
  • Standard 4 – The physically literate individual exhibits responsible personal and social behavior that respects self and other in physical activity (HS-4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4) Example: injury prevention, hydration, sun protection, implementation of rules, use of equipment, proper alignment, dance, etiquette and respect for others through team work, warm up activities.
  • Standard 5 - The physically literate individual demonstrates awareness that physical activity provides the opportunity for health, enjoyment, challenge, self-expression and /or social interaction. Example: the holistic marching activity demonstrate all components of this standard.

Participation in band programs around the state and being able to have band/fine arts “completers” has become nearly impossible for many students. The implementation of the 4x4 or A/B block schedule along with increased emphasis on AP classes, dual credit options, career clusters, etc. is cause for many students to opt out of continuing band participation in high school. The passage of this bill would allow band students just a little bit more scheduling flexibility. One more “slot” that they can use to be a “completer in band vs being forced to drop their band class so they can take an AP class or get the 3rd or 4th level Foreign Language or Math class needed to graduate.

Legislative Details

The final version of S.302 was amended back to the original Senate version that says school districts MUST accept Marching Band participation provided the district first shall submit a plan to the SCDE documenting that all SC PE standards are met.

Additionally, in a public school that offers instruction in marching band based on the South Carolina Academic Standards for the Visual and Performing Arts and that incorporates the South Carolina Academic Standards for Physical Education, this instruction must be considered to be the equivalent of physical education instruction and must be accepted in lieu of physical education instruction for all purposes; provided the district first shall submit a plan to the department documenting that all South Carolina Academic Standards for Physical Education are met in the proposed marching band instruction, and upon approval of the plan by the department, this instruction may be offered and considered to be the equivalent of physical education instruction.