HEALTH AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION

HEALTHY FOR LIFE

In health and physical education, students gain the knowledge and skills they need to be physically active, eat nutritiously, access reliable health information and services, communicate effectively and set health-enhancing goals.

Frequently asked questions

Contact

Gil Luna
Health and physical education curriculum specialist
360-313-1020
Email

CORE CONCEPTS

MORE ABOUT HEALTH EDUCATION

Elementary students

Middle school students

High school students

  • Develop foundation of knowledge and skills in health and physical education

  • Prepare to reach lifelong health and fitness goals

  • Receive health education from classroom teacher

  • Take physical education classes with a specialist

  • Engage in approximately 100 minutes of physical education each week

  • Practice working in groups, communication and active engagement

  • Continue learning core health ideas

  • Apply knowledge and skills that will support lifelong health and fitness goals

  • Take physical education courses each year; most have the same teacher for both health and physical education

  • Develop motor skills and movement patterns

  • Work toward achieving and maintaining a health-enhancing level of fitness

  • Recognize the value of physical activity

  • Earn 0.5 credits during a semester-long health education course

  • Focus topics such as mental health, CPR/AED, substance abuse, sexual health, personal safety and nutrition

  • Gain 1.5 credits during three semester-long physical education courses

  • Increase muscular and cardio endurance, muscular strength and flexibility

  • Choose from a variety of courses based on interest

  • Earn 0.5 credits during a semester-long health education course

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

General questions

Senate Bill 5395, passed by the Legislature and Washington voters in 2020, went into effect on Dec. 3, 2020 (see Bulletin 092-20). It requires all public schools to provide comprehensive sexual health education by the 2022–23 school year, with some requirements beginning in the 2020-21 school year.

Families can expect to receive the following letter from their child’s teachers between one and two weeks before instruction begins.

View the letter

Families are our essential partners when it comes to sexual health instruction. We invite our families to review all lesson content and supplemental resources included in our school board–approved curriculum Family Life and Sexual Health and HIV prevention curriculum KNOW.

View the lessons
After reviewing the curriculum, families who wish to waive all or part of sexual health instruction may complete a waiver form.

Get the form

Elementary

Elementary students will participate in four instructional units from the Second Step curriculum:

  • Growth mindset and goal setting
  • Emotional management
  • Empathy and kindness
  • Problem-solving

Learn more.

No sexual health content is required for students in kindergarten through third grade. Students in those grades will learn about growth mindset, goal setting, emotion management, empathy, kindness and problem-solving.

In partnership with families, fourth and fifth grade students begin studying medically accurate, age-appropriate comprehensive sexual health. Goals include fostering healthy relationships, developing skills to make thoughtful decisions about one’s health and learning how to communicate with adults about issues that affect their health.

VPS provides balanced, medically accurate and age-appropriate comprehensive sexual health instruction to fourth and fifth grade students using the Family Life and Sexual Health curriculum, which consists of two units in fourth and fifth grades, and the KNOW HIV prevention curriculum, which is used for one additional unit and topic in fifth grade.

Fourth grade

  • Unit 1: Introduction, family, self-esteem, gender roles, friendship, decision-making
  • Unit 2: Sexual exploitation prevention, puberty, reproductive system
View the lessons

The Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction has developed learning standards that describe what students are expected to know and be able to do by the end of a school year.

Fourth grade learning standards

  • Anatomy and physiology: Label medically accurate names for body parts, including internal and external reproductive anatomy.
  • Growth and development: Understand physical, social and emotional changes occur during puberty. Recognize puberty and physical development can vary considerably.
  • Reproduction: Understand reproductive organs allow living things to reproduce.
  • Self-identity: Identify how friends and family can influence ideas regarding gender roles, identity and expression. Demonstrate ways to show respect for all people. Define sexual orientation.
  • Healthy relationships: Describe characteristics of healthy friendships and other relationships. Explain importance of communicating with trusted adults about relationships. Demonstrate positive ways to communicate differences of opinion and feelings while maintaining relationships. Understand ways family, friends and peers can have a positive or negative influence on relationships.

Fifth grade

  • Unit 1: Introduction, family, self-esteem, gender roles, friendship, decision-making
  • Unit 2: Sexual exploitation prevention, puberty, reproductive system
  • Unit 3: HIV prevention/KNOW curriculum
View the lessons

The Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction has developed learning standards that describe what students are expected to know and be able to do by the end of a school year.

Fifth grade learning standards

  • Anatomy and physiology: Understand functions of reproductive systems.
  • Growth and development: Identify ways to manage physical, social and emotional changes that occur during puberty. Describe how puberty and physical development can vary considerably.
  • Reproduction: Recognize puberty prepares the body for reproduction.
  • HIV prevention: Define human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV. Identify methods of transmission and prevention of HIV.
  • Self-identity: Describe how media, society and culture can influence ideas regarding gender roles, identity and expression. Promote ways to show respect for all people. Identify trusted adults to ask questions about gender identity and sexual orientation.
  • Healthy relationships: Differentiate between healthy and unhealthy relationships. Explain importance of using social media safely, legally and respectfully. Understand how to support a peer to recognize healthy and unhealthy relationships. Define sexual abuse.

Middle school

Lesson plans from the Healthy Lifestyle Curriculum are used for health education instruction throughout the year related to topics such as safety, nutrition, wellness, social-emotional health and substance use and abuse.

VPS provides balanced, medically accurate and age-appropriate comprehensive sexual health instruction to middle school students using the following curriculum:

The Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction has developed learning standards that describe what students are expected to know and be able to do by the end of a school year.

View the sixth-grade lessons

Sixth grade sexual health Washington state learning standards

  • Anatomy, reproduction and pregnancy: Identify parts of the reproductive systems.
  • Puberty and development: Identify physical, social, mental and emotional changes that occur during puberty.
  • Self-identity: Understand the range of gender roles, identity and expression across cultures.
  • Prevention: Define abstinence and explain why it is the most effective method to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Explain how STDs are transmitted. Identify examples of protective factors and risk behaviors.
  • Healthy relationships: Explain importance of talking with a family member and other trusted adults about relationships. Identify ways to communicate effectively in a variety of relationships. Recognize that everyone has the right to set boundaries based on personal values.
  • WA state laws: Understand which sexual health care services are available to youth. Understand that there are behaviors that constitute sexual offenses.
    Understand that it is illegal to send or post sexually explicit images or messages electronically.
View the seventh- and eighth-grade lessons

Seventh/eighth grade sexual health Washington state learning standards

Year 1

  • Anatomy, reproduction and pregnancy: Describe reproductive systems including body parts and functions. Describe the stages of a pregnancy from fertilization to birth.
  • Puberty and development: Recognize that there are individual differences in growth and development.
  • Self-identity: Distinguish between biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.
  • Prevention: List and describe commonly used methods of birth control, including abstinence. Describe methods to prevent the transmission of STDs/HIV, including abstinence. Understand that all STDs are treatable and many are curable.  Identify medically accurate information about STDs. Identify a decision-making model that can be used to make a health-related decision. Describe factors that contribute to or protect against engaging in risk behaviors.
  • Healthy relationships: Describe characteristics of healthy and unhealthy relationships. Demonstrate communication skills that foster healthy relationships. Explain importance of setting personal boundaries and showing respect for the boundaries and values of others.
  • WA state laws: Identify laws related to accessing sexual health care services. Define sexual offenses as they relate to state law. Identify consequences of sharing sexually explicit pictures or messages.

Year 2

  • Anatomy, reproduction and pregnancy: Summarize reproductive systems and their functions, including the path of an egg during ovulation and the path of sperm during ejaculation. Identify physical, emotional, and social effects of sexual activity.
  • Puberty and development: Describe the physical, social, mental and emotional changes that occur during adolescence.
  • Self-identity: Recognize external influences that shape attitudes about gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation.
  • Prevention: Summarize ways to prevent pregnancy and STDs. List steps to using a condom correctly. Identify medically accurate resources about contraceptive methods, STDs/HIV and pregnancy. Summarize signs, symptoms, potential impact and treatment of STDs. Use a decision-making model to make a health-related decision. Compare and contrast potential outcomes of risk behaviors and protective factors. Describe personal role in protecting one’s own sexual and reproductive health.
  • Healthy relationships: Explain how to build and maintain healthy family, peer and dating relationships. Define sexual consent and identify ways that consent can be communicated and accepted. Analyze the impact of technology and social media on friendships and relationships. Develop a plan to communicate and maintain personal boundaries and values.
  • WA state laws: Understand laws related to accessing sexual health care services. Understand importance of personal responsibility for sexual decisions. Identify state laws related to sexual offenses, including when a minor is involved. Explain consequences of sharing sexually explicit pictures or messages.

High school

A number of resources are used for instruction in high school health.

VPS provides high school students with balanced, medically accurate and age-appropriate comprehensive sexual health instruction using the following curriculum:

The Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction has developed learning standards that describe what students are expected to know and be able to do by the end of a school year.

  • Anatomy, reproduction and pregnancy: Summarize reproductive systems and their functions, including the path of an egg during ovulation and the path of sperm during ejaculation. Identify physical, emotional and social effects of sexual activity.
  • Puberty and development: Describe the physical, social, mental and emotional changes that occur during adolescence.
  • Self-identity: Recognize external influences that shape attitudes about gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation.
  • Prevention: Summarize ways to prevent pregnancy and STDs. List steps to using a condom correctly. Identify medically accurate resources about contraceptive methods, STDs/HIV and pregnancy. Summarize signs, symptoms, potential impact and treatment of STDs. Use a decision-making model to make a health-related decision. Compare and contrast potential outcomes of risk behaviors and protective factors. Describe personal role in protecting one’s own sexual and reproductive health.
  • Healthy relationships: Explain how to build and maintain healthy family, peer and dating relationships. Define sexual consent and identify ways that consent can be communicated and accepted. Analyze the impact of technology and social media on friendships and relationships. Develop a plan to communicate and maintain personal boundaries and values.
  • WA state laws: Understand laws related to accessing sexual health care services. Understand importance of personal responsibility for sexual decisions. Identify state laws related to sexual offenses, including when a minor is involved. Explain consequences of sharing sexually explicit pictures or messages.