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Nov. 1, 2023

What Is Your North Star?

A North Star is defined as “an unwavering definition of purpose.” At the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) Health and Physical Education Fall 2023 Advisory meeting, I shared SDCOE’s North Star.

The North Star of SDCOE is to reduce the number of children who are identified as living in poverty from 51% to 35% by 2029-30.

Poverty isn’t just defined by students’ socioeconomic status, but can also be described as anything that limits a students’ ability to participate, belong, or be included.

While initially this may seem beyond the scope of our impact, I argue that health and physical educators are perfectly postured to contribute to this effort. Data and research support the capacity of health and physical educators to implement an anti-poverty agenda when we do the following:

  • Foster a sense of belonging in our classes where each student is valued and heard. Embrace students’ identities and stories while challenging biases. To do this, you might consider:
  • Make a point to use students’ names
  • Get to know and appreciate students’ stories
  • Have one-on-one conversations with students about life outside of school
  • Regularly give students the opportunity to really connect
  • Discuss and stand up to biases 
  • Gather/use student voice to inform instruction
  • Develop students' social and emotional learning (SEL) competencies
  • Implement a curb-cut culture that systemically includes those who have been traditionally left out, so that all students have access to learning and are able to fully participate. To do this, you could:
  • Implement Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
  • Give students choices as to how they overcome barriers to learning (partners/grouping, equipment, time, level of challenge, etc.)
  • Provide resources to support all learners (instructions in multiple languages, word walls, sentence starters, question banks, etc.)
  • Give students the autonomy to recognize how they learn best, and empower them to utilize these strengths
  • Utilize physical activity to shift/optimize students’ brain chemistry to overcome symptoms of poverty:
  • Structure physical education so that students are engaged in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) at least 50% of each class period
  • Give students the opportunity to engage in MVPA throughout the day (before/after school, recess, lunch, during instruction, at home)

Take a minute to think about how you foster belongingness, provide a curb-cut culture, or utilize physical activity to increase student learning. What is working? What more could you do? What conversations should you be having with your colleagues? How can we strategically work toward the SDCOE North Star? What is your North Star? How might you work toward it?

To learn more, check out the following 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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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. The Buzz Lightyear-themed To Infinity and Beyond Fall 2023 Advisory Meeting slides provide a great recap on the following topics:

  • National, state, and local updates
  • Understanding and identifying actions to support the SDCOE North Star
  • Developing your own North Star
  • Resources for your radar
  • Elevating your leadership voice

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 Misuse 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 & 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!

New 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/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.

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.

California Physical Education-Health Subject Matter Project Professional Learning Institute

The California Physical Education-Health Project’s Professional Learning Institute on Mental Skills for Moving, Learning, and Life kicks off this fall. Learn more about self-regulation, cognitive restructuring, focus/concentration, imagery, goal setting, and more. Trainings are free. Attend as many of the sessions as you can! Check out the CA Physical Education-Health Subject Matter PLI flyer to learn more.

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). Register now to 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
  • Universal design for learning 
  • Standards-based assessment
  • Culturally responsive teaching
  • Grading for equity 

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 HPELA.

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.

“Together We Shine” at NAPEC52 

The 52nd annual National Adapted Physical Education Conference is scheduled to take place Nov. 2-4 at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport. Visit the conference website to check out program highlights, keynote speakers, and critical conference details.

Registration is Open for the 2024 CAHPERD State Conference

The 2024 CAHPERD State Conference is scheduled to take place Feb. 1-3, 2024, at the Hyatt Regency in Garden Grove. Visit the conference website to check out the tentative schedule, justification toolkit, as well as housing and registration information for this year’s conference-themed “EveryBODY Moves.”

New National Health and Physical Education Standards Will Roll Out at 2024 SHAPE America National Convention

The Society for Health and Physical Education (SHAPE) America has announced that new national standards for both health and physical education will be rolled out at the 2024 SHAPE America National Convention. The 2024 National Convention is scheduled to take place March 12-16 in Cleveland, Ohio. 

Professional Reading Recommendations

Do you have a recommendation? 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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Health Poster template

Mental Health Assistance Poster Templates Available

A new state law requires all schools that serve grades 6 through 12 to prominently display mental health assistance posters that share resources regarding student mental health. SDCOE recently created three poster templates that can be downloaded and customized to help each site meet this new requirement.

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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