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Feb. 1, 2024

Ditch the February Cliché!

There is lots happening in February…Valentine’s Day, Black History Month, American Heart Month, Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, Black HIV/AIDS Month, Humpback Whale Awareness Month, World Cancer Day (Feb. 4), Shine a Light on Slavery Day (Feb. 13), Random Acts of Kindness Day (Feb. 17), and World Day of Social Justice (Feb. 20).

As we enter this month of recognitions and celebrations, I challenge you to approach it differently. Think about more than putting up new bulletin boards, or having token conversations about topics that deserve real depth to focus on giving students the opportunity to engage meaningfully with this important content. Consider giving students the opportunity to choose to complete a project that personally resonates with one of the topics we recognize in February. Some examples may include:

  • Heart Health Month: Students implement two changes in behavior that will improve their heart health. Each day, have them calendar the actions they took to improve their cardiovascular health.
  • Black History Month: Use the stories of black athletes (Jesse Owens, Muhammad Ali, Wilma Rudolph, Jackie Robinson, Serena Williams, Tommie Smith, John Carlos) to drive conversations about discrimination and the power of sports/physical activity to change society. Have your class write “class norms” or “agreements” to foster a sense of belonging for all students through the remainder of the school year. For more information, visit the SHAPE America Blog: How to Celebrate Black History Month in Health & Physical Education.
  • Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month: Students create a public service announcement (PSAs) or a social media campaign to describe healthy relationships and share resources to support students who are in abusive relationships. Share students’ PSAs and social media posts throughout the month and beyond. 
  • World Cancer Day: Create a poster, video, or brochure that advertises healthy behaviors that decrease risk of cancer. Display/share students’ work throughout the school.
  • Random Acts of Kindness Day: Students complete one random act of kindness, big or small, every day. Have students record what they did and the impact it had on the people and community around them. Also, check out SHAPE America’s Random Acts of Kindness resources.

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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Check Out the New Reference Guide for Physical Education in California Schools! 

Physical education leaders from throughout California collaborated to write and distribute a new resource to:

  • Describe the intended outcome(s) of physical education
  • Clarify California Ed Code and regulations for physical education
  • Address common issues, questions, and misunderstandings
  • Encourage educators to assess and rethink physical education traditions
  • Guide course design, as well as curriculum and instructional practices
  • Provide access to resources

The Reference Guide for Physical Education in California Schools is available now! Rollout presentations will be offered this spring. Look for details and links to register in upcoming SDCOE Health and Physical Education Monthly Updates.

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

Don’t Miss the San Diego County Health and Physical Educator Social at CAHPERD!

You are cordially invited to attend the San Diego HPERD Social that is scheduled to take place today, February 1, at the CAHPERD State Conference. Join us to network and catch up with San Diego colleagues at 4:30 p.m. at the Oggi’s (12362 Chapman Ave, Garden Grove, CA) right across the street from the convention center. Don’t want to walk over solo? Come meet us in the Hyatt lobby at 4:30 p.m. to walk over together. Please RSVP so we can give Oggi's a head count.

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 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

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 FAQ 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.

male speaking at a meeting

Share Your Success and Toot Your Own Horn

Even though learning in health and physical education doesn’t necessarily show up on a school accountability dashboard, it is still important to share the learning and success that results from our classes. For stakeholders and decision makers to understand the power of our disciplines, it is critical that teachers and departments share their success. Take time to identify opportunities to feature positive snapshots on webpages, in newsletters, and during meetings. In the picture featured here, Austin Olson (physical education teacher at Pacific Trails Middle School in the San Dieguito Union High School District) shares the Social Emotional Learning program that is a weekly component of his physical education class.

Please Complete SDCOE Human Trafficking Instruction Survey

SDCOE is currently assessing the prevention efforts around child human trafficking/commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) in San Diego schools that relate to AB1227. We kindly ask that each district complete this survey no later than Thursday, Feb. 15. The results of this Human Trafficking and CSEC Student Instruction Survey will help SDCOE better support LEAs to help keep students safe from exploitation.

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.

Chargers Champions 2024 Grant Program Opens Feb. 5

The Los Angeles Chargers’ Chargers Champions School Grant Program is open to all public and private schools located in San Diego and Imperial counties and is designed to work in partnership with local schools to improve the physical literacy of students by expanding physical fitness, nutrition, and athletic programs. Sites may apply for up to $75,000 of funding (based on student enrollment). Don’t procrastinate… applications will be accepted from Feb. 5 through March 18. For more information, and to apply, visit the Los Angeles Chargers’ Chargers Champions webpage.

Is Your Site One of America’s Healthiest Schools?

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation is accepting applications to recognize schools for advancing the health and well-being of students, families, and communities. Applications are due April 16. For more information, including resources to expand health and well-being programming and the link to apply, visit Healthier Generations America’s Healthiest Schools webpage.

Register Now for the Spring 2024 SDCOE Health and Physical Education Advisory Meeting

Administrators and teacher leaders are invited to represent their district, or site at the Spring 2024 SDCOE Health and Physical Education Advisory Meeting from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on May 1. Don’t miss this opportunity to:

  • Discuss national, state, and local updates, initiatives, resources, and trends
  • Identify strategies to utilize the Reference Guide for Physical Education in California Schools to update physical education programming
  • Use “First Best Instruction” documents for Elementary Physical Education, Secondary Physical Education and Health Education to influence instructional practice
  • Review the Society for Health and Physical Education (SHAPE) America National Standards for both health and physical education
  • Learn more about support available from the SDCOE Health and Physical Education Cadre to influence induction programs, curriculum development, instructional practice, and more
  • Provide input to SDCOE for 2024-25 programming
  • Network with other health and physical education leaders 

Click the link above to learn more and register.

Registration is 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.

Suicide Risk Screening In Schools Training Available 

Don’t miss this free opportunity to learn about best practices in school-based screening for suicide risk and learn how to respond effectively to keep students safe. Click on the Suicide Risk Screening in Schools flyer for more information, and to register for trainings on either Feb. 8 or April 16. 

Don’t Miss Critical Sexual Health Education (SHE) Training Feb. 22

The California Department of Public Health, in collaboration with SDCOE, is offering Sexual Health Education (SHE) training from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at SDCOE on Feb. 22. The SHE training is designed to build the capacity of educators to provide quality sexual health instruction. Check out the SHE flyer for more information or register now.

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SHAPE America Releases New Technology Resource for Physical Education

The Society for Health and Physical Education (SHAPE) America recently released Appropriate Use of Technology in Physical Education to provide educators with information to support the use of technology to meaningfully engage students with content and achieve grade level standards.

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

The Health Education Checklist/Planning Tool defines California Education Code and mandates associated with health education instruction. It also features resources including links to Education Code, case studies, model policy, and more. This is a great tool to make sure your site or district is in compliance with state Education 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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