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Nov. 1, 2022

Go Beyond the Turkey Trot: Impact Your Mental and Physical Health With Gratitude

November brings a plethora of traditions. However, it's easy to get caught up with the expectations for the season, and miss the aspect of the holiday that has the greatest impact on our mental and physical wellness: Gratitude.

Research shows that practicing regular acts of gratitude can increase optimism, physical activity, happiness, and motivation while also improving relationships, raising spirits and decreasing visits to the doctor. Focusing on what you have instead of what you lack might be the best medicine this holiday season. To do this, you might consider:

  • Sharing gratitude verbally. Respond with graciousness to the people you interact with, acknowledge their efforts, and let them know that you appreciate them.  
  • Writing thank you notes. Even a short note or text message can make a big difference.
  • Keeping a gratitude journal. Throughout each day, write down big or small things that you are thankful for. When you are having a hard day, take a few minutes to center yourself with things that bring you joy.
  • Cultivating gratitude. Whether at the dinner table or with your classes, give people the opportunity to share what they are thankful for at that moment.
  • Practicing mindful moments of gratitude. Take a minute or two to pause and reflect on things or people that bring you gratitude.
  • Strategically placing reminders of gratitude. Consider placing items and reminders in your path to focus your thinking on gratitude. For example, place a post-it note on your computer, post a picture, or use a gratitude-themed coffee cup. The possibilities are endless! 
  • Promoting a gratitude mantra. Identify, share, and live by a mantra of gratitude. 

Take time this month to create a habit of gratitude in your personal life, with colleagues, and with your students. Cultivate gratitude as a regular practice to improve your mental and physical health and encourage others to do the same.

Wishing you and your families a very Happy Thanksgiving! Please know, I am eternally grateful for the work you do to empower students each and every day. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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

Health and Physical Education Coordinator
San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE)
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What You Need To Know About 2022-23 Physical Fitness Testing (PFT)

The California Department of Education (CDE) has stated that PFT procedures and requirements for 2021-22 will remain in place for the 2022-23 school year, including:

  • PFT should only be administered during the testing window from Feb. 1 through May 31.
  • All students in grades 5, 7, and 9 will participate in physical fitness testing using the FITNESSGRAM assessments and their results recorded. 
  • There will be no submission of student-level data. Participation information will be collected and reported on the School Accountability Report Card (SARC).
  • Information related to calculating a student’s body mass index (height, weight, gender, birthday, etc.) should not be collected.
  • Healthy Fitness Zones (HFZs) should not be used.
  • Students with disabilities are to be given as much of the test as their condition will permit. 
  • Two-year exemptions based on pupils satisfactorily meeting five of the six standards of PFT are not currently available. Students are not eligible for a physical education exemption until they are 16 years of age or older and have been enrolled in 10th grade for at least one academic year. 

Please email Paige Metz if you have any questions.

thumbnail image of AB 367 flyer

New Requirement for Menstrual Equity in Schools

AB 367 requires California public schools to provide free tampons and pads in campus bathrooms. To better understand the new requirements, SDCOE has created a Resources for Menstrual Equity in Schools webpage that features language, templates, and resources to help local educational agencies understand and address this addition to Ed Code.

Among other resources, SDCOE designed template flyer files that meet state requirements and are available in English and Spanish. Find flyers for younger students and older students and adults that schools and districts can personalize. 

New Requirement for Mental Health Instruction in Health Education Courses 

It’s time to update health education programming. New legislation in Senate Bill (SB) 224 requires all districts and sites that offer one or more courses in health education to pupils in middle school or high school to include all of the following mental health content:

  • Overarching themes and core principles of mental health 
  • Signs and symptoms of mental health challenges
  • Evidence-based services and support
  • Mental health wellness and protective factors
  • Warning signs of common mental health problems
  • How to seek and find assistance
  • Evidence-based and culturally responsive practices
  • The connection and importance of mental health to overall health and academic success and to co-occurring conditions
  • Prevalence of mental health challenges across all populations, races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic statuses
  • Stigma surrounding mental health challenges

In addition, SB 224 requires that on or before Jan. 1, 2024, the CDE will develop a plan to expand mental health instruction in California public schools. For more information review this health education and SB 224 infographic.

Resources to Support SB 224 Mental Health Education Requirements

The California Health Education Community of Practice/Health Education CISC Subcommittee has recently posted resources related to SB 224 on the California Health Education website. There is now a specific webpage for Mental Health Education (SB 224). It is on the “Administrators” pull-down menu at the top of the page. On this page you will find:

Hang Out With Fellow Health and Physical Educators

Hang out with your health and physical education peers at the SDCOE Health and Physical Education Hangouts on the first Wednesday of every month from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. and receive the latest updates, resources, materials, and best practices in health and physical education.  Use this Zoom Link to join each month. 

Health Education Framework Series Empowers Teachers to Develop Students’ Health Literacy

The Health Education Framework (HEF) Series, a combination of asynchronous and synchronous professional learning, is designed to help teachers implement skills-based instruction to build students’ health literacy. Click the following links to learn more about the complete spring afternoon series, or attend individual sessions. All sessions are scheduled for 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

  • Session 1: Framework Overview (Jan. 11)
  • Session 2: Nutrition and Physical Activity, AND Mental, Emotional, and Social Health (Jan. 18)
  • Session 3: Growth, Development, and Sexual Health, AND Injury Prevention and Safety (Jan. 26)
  • Session 4: Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs, AND Personal and Community Health (Jan. 31)

New Offering: Attend all four sessions of the SDCOE Health Education Series in one day on March 22 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Click the following link for more information and to register for the SDCOE Spring HEF One-Day Professional Learning Event

Check Out the New and Improved Physical Literacy Institute!

Participate in conversations designed to explore the concept of physical literacy and to identify strategies and actions to provide instruction to strategically impact students’ understanding, skills, mindsets, values, and habits associated with physical activity. Together, we will utilize standards-based instructional design, social and emotional learning, universal design for learning, and culturally and linguistically relevant teaching to provide meaningful learning experiences for students. The Physical Literacy Institute will take place online from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 10, Jan. 24, Feb. 14, Feb. 28, and March 14. Visit the Spring Physical Literacy Institute Registration for more information and to register.

Plan Ahead to Attend State and National Conferences

Looking to update programming, identify exciting ways to engage students, or network with colleagues? Plan ahead to attend one of the following events!

View all SDCOE events

New 988 National Suicide Prevention Hotline

Individuals in need of immediate mental health assistance can now dial/text 9-8-8 or web chat at to connect with counselors trained to understand how you are feeling and connect you to resources that are specifically tailored to your needs. 988 counselors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Educators are encouraged to share this information with students and families.

Toolkit to Evaluate Health Education Instructional Materials

CDE released a Health Education Instructional Materials Evaluation Toolkit to help districts and sites vet instructional materials to ensure that instruction is aligned to Health Education Model Content Standards for California Public Schools, Health Education Framework for California Public Schools, and California Education Code requirements for health education instruction including:

  • Nutrition education
  • Suicide prevention
  • Comprehensive sexual health education
  • Human trafficking

The CDE will offer a webinar later this spring to provide specific insight on how to use the toolkit effectively.

ASHWG Reviews Curricula for Compliance with California Healthy Youth Act

The California Healthy Kids Resource Center, together with the Adolescent Sexual Health Work Group (ASHWG), conducted an intensive review of growth development and sexual health curriculum in accordance with the California Healthy Youth Act. A total of nine publishers submitted curricula to be reviewed. Access all of the curricula reviews by expanding the Links to Compliance Assessment Tools and Resources tab, which includes the following:

  • A table that lists the curriculum reviewed along with the information on where it can be borrowed or purchased
  • Compliance assessment tools (used to grade the curricula against Education Code) that are specific to each curriculum that was reviewed
  • A California Healthy Kids Curricula Review introduction methodology that describes the law, review process, and the compliance assessment tool grading

This 2020-21 California Healthy Youth Act curricula review is intended to be an update of previous reviews done by ASHWG, and these reviews are posted on the California Healthy Kids Resource Center webpage. Reviews can be found by scrolling down the home page and clicking Links to Compliance Assessment Tools and Resources. For additional information, visit the CDE CHYA webpage. A recording of a recent webinar explaining how to use CHYA compliance reviews will be available later this month.

California Health Education Website Helpful for Educators

Have you used the one-stop shop website for all things related to health education programming? features critical resources for each of the six content areas that include:

Bookmark as it will continue to be updated and populated with content to support the implementation of the new California Health Education Framework.

New and Updated Resources to Support LGBTQ+ Youth

The CDE has added significant updates to its Supporting LGBTQ+ website, including specific resources to support educators, students, and families. Even better news is that they include links to local resources in San Diego County. Be sure to share this information with administrators, counselors, teachers, and families. In addition, schools may use this information to update their comprehensive sexual health instruction to make sure that experiences are inclusive and accessible for all students.

Also, the San Diego LGBT Community Leadership Council’s Youth Services Committee — under the leadership of San Diego Pride, the SD LGBT Community Center, The North County LGBTQ Resource Center, and Trans Family Services — created the LGBTQ+ Youth Standards of Care. The standards outline best practices and relevant resources that reflect and comply with California Education Code and related laws.

San Diego County Live Well Schools: Tools for Schools Searchable Resource Database
Check out the Tools for Schools searchable resource database from Live Well Schools. More than 300 resources, searchable by topic, will connect you to programs, partnership ideas, policy strategies, and tools to meet short-term needs of students and families and facilitate long-term planning for schools and districts. Tools for Schools provides a wide array of resources based on a broader definition of wellness that includes social and emotional health and a focus on addressing health disparities.

New and Updated SDCOE Resources

SDCOE is constantly updating or posting new resources on current events, trends, and news. A variety of topics can be explored in our Resource Guide Library. Some recent health-related resources include:

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