DCPS provides comprehensive, progressive studies in health and physical education (PE) through high-quality instruction rooted in research-based best practices. Each program provides students with necessary skills to engage in a lifetime of wellness and physical activity. The primary goals of comprehensive health education are to develop health literacy in students and to support them in attaining positive health outcomes. The goal of physical education is to develop physically literate students who have the skills, knowledge, and confidence to enjoy a lifetime of healthful physical activity.
DCPS requires all students to receive health and physical education.
In developing health literacy, students build the capacity to obtain, interpret and understand health information and services and to apply core concepts and skills. The vision for health education is that through literacy, life-skills, self-management and awareness strategies, students will ultimately influence the families and communities of Washington, DC.
To assist students in adopting and maintaining healthy behaviors, DCPS provides students with a framework that allows them to learn key concepts and to practice using health skills. Skills-based instruction, which consists of analyzing health influences, accessing and evaluating valid health information and services, interpersonal communication, decision making, goal-setting, practicing health enhancing behaviors and advocacy; revolves around 6 areas of focus:
PE class provides academic programming that develops motor skill competency and applies concepts related to movement and performance with a focus on instilling understanding and valuing the importance of physical activity throughout one’s lifetime. Physical Education has shifted from a competitive environment to one that is more inclusive and focuses on cooperative challenges, social interaction, self-expression and realizing personal goals while developing students’ intrinsic motivation to engage in physical activity. This commitment to developing lifetime fitness is reflected in the fact that each DCPS school has registered to participate in the “Let’s Move, Active Schools” program.
PE uses an individualized approach where students create goals to improve or maintain their fitness levels. To support this, students in grades 4 through high school participate in FitnessGram testing, where they assess the five areas of health related fitness: muscular endurance, muscular strength, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility and body composition. Teachers can use FitnessGram to perform fitness and physical activity assessments. The program provides DCPS with data on PE in each school and across the district, which informs curricular and programmatic decisions related to the quality and quantity of physical education, staff development, recess, and more.
The adapted physical education (APE) teacher is a direct service provider who is responsible for developing an appropriate physical education plan for individuals with disabilities (USCA 1402(25)). Additionally, the APE teacher positively motivates students to develop appropriate skills, attitudes, and knowledge; utilizes a variety of instructional techniques appropriate to students’ abilities; creates a safe and orderly learning environment; assesses students motor skill development and fitness and determines whether a student needs APE services.
The APE teacher:
DCPS has received a three-year grant, the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) Grant, which provided funds to combat obesity in the DCPS student population. Funds were used to provide schools with nutrition education resources, equipment to promote lifelong fitness such as archery, fly fishing, and golf, and equipment to support the collection of data on students’ physical activity levels. The PEP Grant also supported the continual improvement of physical education instruction in the district through the funding of professional development for all PE teachers.
In addition, the PEP Grant supported the Physical Education Emerging Leaders (PEEL) Fellowship, a program that raises the caliber of the Health and Physical Education program of DCPS. Each Year, 10 fellows are chosen through a competitive application process to participate. To build a culture of wellness at the school level, schools with current PEEL fellows identify a Wellness Champion. Wellness Champions are responsible for helping to build the Wellness Program by organizing and engaging the community in wellness events. This program continues to be funded by DCPS.
Heather Holaday, Deputy Chief, Arts, Global Education, Health, Physical Education
Miriam Kenyon, Director, Health and Physical Education
Erin Lumpkins, Manager, Health Education
Trisha Nakano, Specialist, Nutrition Education
Michael Posey, Manager, Physical Education