Save The Arts PE provides fitness for life

The non-profit organization Save The Arts PE (STAPE) started three years ago when Coaches Ian Phillip and Sasha Kukulj were approached by a parent wanting an option for their student who was in band and could only take a basic school-offered physical education class. The two got to work and created a custom crafted physical education program that encompasses all of the basics and then some.

STAPE is a combination of fitness and sports skills seeking to elevate a student’s basic levels. The categories include cardio, core strength, upper body strength, flexibility and balance, as well as body knowledge.

Coach Phillip says one of the program goals is to expose students to as many sports as possible throughout the year and not just any one single sport, “We’re providing high-quality planned-out fitness and sports options for students and allowing their lives to be more full of exercise choices in their free time.” Some of the students who participate in the program play competitive and travel sports and need the extra flexibility in their schedule.

Unique sports offered include ultimate frisbee, lacrosse, hockey and kin ball. Coach Phillip says, “We use resistance bands, chutes, balance, blocks and an obstacle course. Basically, equipment that would not necessarily be readily available to large classes especially with our high frequency levels.” Students also benefit from having two coaches as opposed to one offered in a regular school physical education class.

Coach Kukulj says the class carries a special message, “It’s a beat yourself mentality! Beat your best! We take personal responsibility for making sure each child gets a quality physical education. By tracking down their heart rates and teaching them specific exercises we create a personal work out plan around activities they like to do. Then we finalize a plan that works best for their lifestyle.”

The coaches assist in identifying a student’s fitness level allowing for correct placement in a personalized fitness program. Favorite sayings include “Bodies in motion, stay in motion! Exercise should be joyful and an enjoyment!”

This program satisfies the basic physical education requirement from San Dieguito Union High School District under the independent study physical education (ISPE) category. Classes are held at local recreational parks. In addition both coaches offer specialized programs. Coach Kukulj runs Sol Surf and Coach Phillip has the Mr. PE Program. More information can be found at