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Dec. 4, 2023

The Gift of Student Voice

As educators, we are often on the lookout for a panacea... actions we can take that enable us to overcome any myriad of obstacles. In many instances, what we are looking for is literally sitting right in front of us, in the heart of our students.

As we bring 2023 to a close, and look to 2024, we have a great opportunity to use authentic student experience to rethink our work and practice using one or more of the following prompts.

  • What works for you? What doesn’t?
  • What do you like? What don’t you like? 
  • What makes you feel like you belong? What doesn’t?
  • What is one classroom rule you would like to change? Why?
  • What instructional strategies help you successfully…
  • Access content (small group instruction, video, informational text, etc.)
  • Engage meaningfully with content (practice, receive feedback, adjust learning, make meaning, etc.)
  • Show evidence of what you know and can do (projects, videos, skills and/or knowledge tests, etc.)
  • What choices would you like to have the autonomy to make? Why?
  • What technology would you like to use in this class?
  • How might you connect class content with life outside class?
  • What is one thing you wish your teacher knew about your experience in their class?

While I understand that asking students for input can be daunting, it is also extremely powerful! It gives us the opportunity to create programming that is sensitive to who students are, what they need, and how they thrive. Most importantly, it evolves the role of the teacher to that of learning partner, putting students in the driver's seat of their own learning. It is only when students have the autonomy to take ownership of their learning that the mindsets, skills, knowledge, and behaviors that we hope to cultivate are likely to empower them for life.

So before you leave for winter break… give it a try! Give students the opportunity to share their solutions. Use their input to identify shifts in practice that will make 2024 your best year yet!

Please do not hesitate to contact me if there is anything I can do to support you, your site, or your district. 

Health and Physical Education Coordinator
San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE)
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SDCOE Health and Physical Education Leadership Cadre is Here to Support Your Efforts

Health and physical education leaders selected from throughout San Diego County, who have been trained in student-centered coaching and leadership, are available to provide support to teachers, sites, and districts. Customized support is available for all levels (elementary, middle, and high school) and in the following topics:

  • First best instruction
  • Equity and inclusion
  • Curricula selection, design, and curation
  • On-site coaching
  • Support and networking for aspiring, new, and veteran teachers
  • Professional learning

To learn more, and to schedule one of the SDCOE Health and Physical Education Cadre leaders to work with you, please contact Paige Metz at

Picture of leadership cadre group

SDCOE Health and Physical Education Advisory Resources Available

Couldn’t attend the Fall 2023 SDCOE Health and Physical Education Advisory Meeting? Don’t worry. Check out the Fall 2023 Advisory Meeting slides to view the updates, learning, and resources you missed.

Register now for the Spring 2024 SDCOE Health and Physical Education Advisory Meeting on May 1, 2024 (8:30 a.m. to noon).

SDCOE Releases Critical New Substance Abuse Video Series

SDCOE recently released a series of six videos, each 10-20 minutes in length, designed to provide comprehensive, straightforward insight into how substance misuse impacts individuals, families, schools, and communities. The I Choose My Future series is designed to educate middle and high school students about:

  • How the drug landscape has changed
  • The societal impacts of drug abuse
  • The science of addiction, teen brain development, and the impact drugs can have on teens
  • How to identify potentially harmful drugs
  • A closer look at vaping, marijuana, and nicotine 
  • The dangers of opioids and fentanyl

The I Choose My Future Instruction Guide provides educators suggestions for using the video resources and include discussion questions, sample activities, and more! 

What You Need to Know About PFT For 2023-24

The California Department of Education (CDE) announced that Physical Fitness Testing (PFT) protocols for 2023-24 will be identical to those that were used in the 2022-23 school year including:

  • NOT collecting any data related to body composition (height, weight)
  • NOT collecting age or gender data
  • NOT using the Healthy Fitness Zones (HFZs) as defined by FITNESSGRAM
  • Providing students with their personal fitness assessment scores
  • Reporting the percentage of students who participate in each of the five required fitness assessments (aerobic capacity, abdominal strength and endurance, trunk extensor strength and flexibility, upper body strength and endurance, flexibility) in the School Accountability Report Card (SARC)

Teachers are encouraged to:

  • Encourage students to “do their best” on each fitness assessment so that it is an accurate measurement of their current fitness
  • Utilize grade-level standards to determine how PFT scores are utilized for students to set and achieve personal health and fitness goals
  • Give students options to test, not in front of peers
  • Protect student privacy
  • Prioritize an emotionally safe environment to avoid bullying and/or body shaming

For more information, visit the CDE PFT webpage and CDE PFT FAQs webpage.

At this time, it is still unclear how CDE will address the Report to the Legislature, Department of Finance and the State Board of Education: Physical Performance Test that was submitted to the State Board in March 2023. Stay tuned!

SDCOE Announces 2023-24 Professional Learning Opportunities

Please check out the SDCOE 2023-24 Health and Physical Education Professional Learning Calendar for opportunities to participate in the Physical Literacy Institute, Health Education Framework Series, Health and Physical Education Leadership Academy (Tiers 1 and 2), and more. Don’t see what you are looking for? Email Paige Metz to make requests.

SDCOE Three-Day Physical Literacy Institute Is Back… and In Person

  • The three-day Physical Literacy Institute is being offered in person this spring (Jan. 16, Feb. 14, and March 27). Join the conversation to strategically deliver equitable and meaningful instruction designed to increase the physical literacy of all students by incorporating:
  • Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)
  • Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
  • Standards-based assessment
  • Culturally responsive teaching
  • Grading for equity 
  • Click the link above for more information and to register.

Don’t Miss the SDCOE Health and Physical Education Leadership Academy (Tier 1)

SDCOE Health and Physical Education Leadership Academy (HPELA), the first of a two-tier leadership series, will be offered in-person this spring (Jan. 24, Feb. 28, March 20, April 10, and April 24). Tier 1 of the Leadership Academy is designed to develop model pedagogy and practice for teacher recognition as a role model and leader on campuses/in districts. HPELA provides a combination of professional learning and on-site coaching to develop and promote best practices. For more information and to register, click on the link above. NOTE: Previous attendance at the Physical Literacy Institute or the SDCOE Health Education Framework Series is a prerequisite to participate in PELA.

SDCOE Health and Physical Education Leadership In Action Kicks Off in February

Health and physical educators who have previously completed the SDCOE Physical Education Leadership Academy are invited to register for Tier 2 of the SDCOE Health and Physical Education Leadership Program. SDCOE Health and Physical Education Leadership in Action is scheduled to take place in-person from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 27, March 19, April 9, and May 7.

Don’t Miss the 2024 CAHPERD State Conference!

The California Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (CAHPERD) State Conference is the state's leading professional development event for health and physical education, recreation and dance professionals. This year’s conference will be held at The Hyatt Regency Orange County on Feb. 1-3. The theme, EveryBODY Moves, celebrates how we move individually and how we move collectively as a community of educators. This premier event provides opportunities to bring folks together from various organizations and education agencies to provide access to, and experience of, a range of innovative theories and practices. Visit the 2024 CAHPERD State Conference webpage for more information and to register.  

The top three reasons everyone should attend CAHPERD 2024:

  1. Building relationships by networking with those who are dedicated to the health and well-being of all students, staff and families is important. The energy level of people in the hallways and lobby discussing a session they just saw is incredible!
  2. Attending sessions lets you hone your skills as an educator through best practices and load up your bag of tricks and techniques. This year's presenters are some of the best in their field! National, state, and district TOYs and multiple award winners will be sharing their expertise with you!
  3. Re-energize by participating in meaningful discussions and attending innovative sessions. Return to your district with a renewed energy from all you have seen at CAHPERD 2024 and eager to go back for CAHPERD 2025!

Visit the 2024 CAHPERD State Conference webpage for more information and to register. 

San Diego County CAHPERD Networking Survey

The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) Leadership Cadre will be organizing networking events at the CAHPERD State Conference and later in 2024 to connect teachers across San Diego County. Please complete the following San Diego Networking Survey to let us know if you would like to receive information re: upcoming networking/social events.

Registration is Now Open for the 2024 SHAPE America National Convention!

New national standards are going to be released for both health and physical education at the 2024 SHAPE America National Convention taking place March 12 to 16 in Cleveland, Ohio. Click the link above for event details, reasons to attend, schedule at-a-glance, housing information, and registration. Don’t miss early bird rates through Jan. 11.

Professional Reading Recommendations

Please feel free to email Paige Metz professional reading titles that you would recommend to San Diego health and physical educators to feature in the next Update.

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New Resource Defines Required Health Education Content, Resources, and Model Policy

The Health Education Checklist/Planning Tool defines California Ed Code and mandates associated with health education instruction. It also features resources including links to Ed Code, case studies, model policy, and more. This is a great tool to make sure your site/district is in compliance with California Ed Code, identify gaps/opportunities, and implement meaningful programming to influence students’ health literacy. Additional tools and resources can be found on the California Health Education website.

Critical Resources for Health Education

Critical Resources for Physical Education

Critical Resources for Quality Instruction

If you have any questions or comments about Health and Physical Education Monthly Update, please contact Paige Metz.
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