Section 1: Ensuring Quality Health Education, Nutrition Education, Physical Education, and Opportunities for Physical Activity
Health Education At every grade level, DCPS ensures that students receive a sequential, comprehensive, and standards-based health education program. DCPS’s program is taught by qualified and certified personnel, is based on the needs of students, and is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to promote and protect their health. For grades K-8, Health Education must be offered at least 15 minutes per week, or the same amount of time it was offered in school year 2009-2010, whichever is greater. DCPS expects schools to provide the same amount to Pre-School and Pre-Kindergarten students. At the high school level, health education will be required for 0.5 credits. All health and PE teachers should be fully certified to teach.
Before inviting a community partner in to assist with health education, schools will coordinate with DCPS’s Office of Youth Engagement (OYE) and ensure the community partner’s curriculum aligns with the Office of the State Superintendent of Education’s (OSSE) Health Education Standards.
The HSA requires that by SY 2014-2015, for grades K-8, Health Education must be offered at least 75 minutes per week.
One component of a comprehensive health education program is nutrition education. Schools will provide nutrition education that:
- is part of the health education course;
- is accessible to all students;
- is integrated into other content areas such as math, science, language arts, social sciences, and elective subjects (resources will be disseminated to teachers and other staff);
- includes enjoyable, developmentally-appropriate, culturally-relevant, participatory activities, such as contests, promotions, taste testing, farm visits, and school gardens;
- promotes fruits, vegetables, whole grain products, low-fat and fat-free dairy products, healthy food preparation methods, and health-enhancing nutrition practices;
- emphasizes caloric balance between food intake and energy expenditure (physical activity/exercise);
- links with DCPS’s curriculum, school meal programs, other school foods, and nutrition-related community services and education programs;
- incorporates wellness nights into school programming;
- teaches media literacy with an emphasis on food marketing; and
- includes training for teachers, parents and community partners.
Physical Education Physical education is an important part of the DCPS curriculum at every grade level. This program includes team, individual and cooperative sports and physical activities, as well as aesthetic movement forms, such as dance, yoga or the martial arts.
Schools will provide Physical Education that is:
- required for K-5 students, at least 30 minutes per week, or the same amount of time it was offered in school year 2009-2010, whichever is greater, and DCPS expects schools to provide the same amount to Pre-School and Pre-Kindergarten students;
- required for grades 6-8 students, at least 45 minutes per week, or the same amount of time it was offered in school year 2009-2010 (whichever is greater);
- required for high school students for two semesters as required as part of the Carnegie Unit for graduation; and
- recognized as part of the academic program and is therefore a “right” not a “privilege,” for which should not be withheld from students;
Physical Education teachers will continue to implement a curriculum that connects and demonstrates the interrelationship between physical activity, good nutrition, and health.
- DCPS will continue to enhance the quality of physical education curricula and increase training of physical education teachers through site-based and mandatory, district-wide staff development.
- All health and PE teachers should be fully certified to teach health and physical education.
- An appropriate alternative activity to physical education shall be provided for students with a physical disability that restricts excessive physical exertion.
- Dedicated spaces should be provided for physical education.
- Physical Education staff, in collaboration with the school administration, will appropriately limit the amount or type of physical exercise required of students during air pollution episodes and inclement weather conditions.
- Physical Education will be integrated into other content areas such as math, science, language arts, social sciences, and elective subjects (such as outdoor education). Resources will be disseminated to teachers and other staff.
- Student fitness levels will continue to be assessed through the use of the FITNESSGRAM physical fitness assessment tool for grades 4 and above.
The HSA requires that by SY 2014-2015, for grades K-5, Physical Education must be offered at least 150 minutes per week, and for grades 6-8, Physical Education must be offered at least 225 minutes per week.
Physical Activity Schools offer students opportunities for physical activity through a range of before, during, and after-school programs. These include, but are not limited to, intramurals, interscholastic athletics, physical activity clubs, recess, and classroom-based physical activities. These contribute to the goal of 60 minutes per day of physical activity. Schools should ensure that:
- recess time occurs daily, for at least 20 minutes;
- recess provides students with discretionary time to engage in physical activity that helps them develop healthy bodies and enjoyment of movement;
- mandatory physical activity (e.g., running laps, pushups) or the withholding of physical activity (e.g., recess, physical education) will not be used as punishment;
- classroom teachers incorporate physical activity breaks into the academic schedule each day, such as Brainbreaks, Jammin’ Minutes, Energizers, and Take 10;
- students are encouraged to walk and bike to school; and
- pedestrian safety is incorporated into the 2nd grade Health and Physical Education curriculum.
Another opportunity for students to be physically active is through participation in athletics. DCPS encourages student participation and helps student-athletes develop according to their individual interests and abilities. Athletics offerings can be found on the DCPS website: www.dcps.dc.gov.
Section 2: Establishing Nutritional Guidelines for All Foods Served and Sold on Campus During the School Day.
Access to healthy foods is an important factor leading to academic success. DCPS strives to provide nutritious meals and snacks to our students before, during, and after school through a comprehensive school meal program.
Schools are required to increase participation in the meal programs through development of a coordinated, comprehensive outreach and promotion plan that may include flyers, home mailings, or website advertisements. This should include efforts to reach beyond the local school community, including encouraging greater community coalitions. This also may include creating after-school cooking clubs for families, more parent workshops, community/school gardens, and providing wellness resources to families.
DCPS will ensure that all eligible students will be offered free lunches that are appealing and attractive to children and served in a clean and pleasant setting. DCPS will make every effort to eliminate any social stigma attached to, and prevent the overt identification of, students who are eligible for free and reduced price meals. Towards this end, schools may utilize electronic identification and payment systems; provide meals at no charge to all children, regardless of income; promote the availability of school meals to all students; and/or use nontraditional methods for serving school meals, such as breakfast in the classroom or a “grab and go” model.
Schools will continue to operate a universal “Free for All” School Breakfast Program. Schools with 40% or more of their students qualifying for free or reduced priced meals must operate alternative breakfast unless their full-service cafeteria participation rate is 75% or higher. Additionally, schools must place “grab and go” breakfast kiosks in a high traffic area outside of the cafeteria. Elementary schools that meet this qualification are required to serve Breakfast in the Classroom in every classroom in all grades. Eligible middle schools and high schools are required to serve either Breakfast in the Classroom or breakfast via a “grab and go” model to all students in all grades. Middle schools and high schools may serve another alternate serving model for breakfast with approval from DCPS’s Office of Food and Nutrition Services.
for more information click here to download the full wellness guidelines.