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Physical Education

University School of Milwaukee’s philosophy of starting earlier to encourage a healthy lifestyle is only fitting when you consider that, in 1891, the German-English Academy (a USM predecessor school) was the first in the country to provide a gymnasium for its students. The Academy aimed to educate the whole child –not only the mind but also the body.



Today, as a perfect example of "the more things change, the more they stay the same," physical education remains an integral component of a USM education – even while many schools are cutting back in this important area.

Preprimary Program and Lower School

The Preprimary Program and Lower School physical education program establishes the foundation for our youngest students. Research shows how important consistent physical activity is for a child, and our daily PE classes encourage students to be active, enjoy movement, and have fun. Our playground equipment is designed to help young children develop balance and coordination, encourage social interaction, and conquer challenges.

Taught by physical education specialists in a new Lower School gymnasium, our physical education program incorporates health and fitness concepts, providing a great start for a healthy lifestyle. 


The Lower School curriculum covers: 
  • Fundamental movement skills 
  • Sport skills 
  • Games 
  • Dance rhythms 
  • Outdoor adventure activities 
  • Fitness activities 

Middle School

The Middle School physical education program builds on the skills and knowledge developed in the Lower School and helps students transition to the next level. The program engages students in individual and team activities that promote lifetime health and fitness, with an emphasis placed on effort and personal responsibility. Students participate in physical education four out of eight days in each schedule cycle.



In addition, students learn to evaluate and monitor their daily participation level through the use of pedometer and heart rate monitors. Cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, flexibility, and agility are included in each unit and evaluated throughout the year. 



The Middle School curriculum covers:
  • Outdoor adventure: snowshoeing, disc golf, geocaching, bouldering, archery, and teambuilding 
  • Team sports: volleyball, soccer, basketball, softball, flag football, handball, and floor hockey 
  • Individual sports:  golf, track and field, tennis, pickleball, badminton, gymnastics, bowling, ice skating, and dance 
  • Fitness: heart rate monitors, pedometers, jump rope, body weight exercises, treadmills, elliptical, stationary bikes, medicine balls, and body bars 
  • Health education: drugs and alcohol, nutrition, healthy habits, and fitness concepts 

Upper School

The emphasis in the Upper School program moves toward fundamentals of health science and personal fitness. Sophomores are required to take Health Science, and additional health-related courses are offered as electives in all Upper School grade levels. The skills taught in these courses complement what is expected of our athletes, with over 80% of our Upper School students participating in team or individual sports.



All Upper School students have access to the fitness center, where they develop fitness and weight training skills taught by certified professionals. Students interested in a particular sport now spend more time fine-tuning skills needed to meet upcoming challenges with confidence.
I value physical education because it improves skills that I otherwise wouldn't have.
Physical activity is a key to all my classes at USM. It truly is very important to our schedule, because without it, we wouldn't be as fit or active as we are today.
I value physical education because I think it is a great way to stay fit, and when you are fit, you feel good mentally and physically.
Prekindergarten (age 3) - Grade 12 • Independent • Coeducational
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2100 West Fairy Chasm Road, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53217 • 414-352-6000