Physical Education and Physical Activity
Children and adolescents should participate in targeted amounts of physical activity, according to relevant national and state standards. The District is committed to providing multiple opportunities for physical activity.
Programs should promote developmentally appropriate active play for all young children, including infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Children should have opportunities to engage in daily vigorous activities indoors and/or outdoors, meaning physical activity of an intensity where participants find it difficult to carry on a conversation.
All elementary schools shall provide at least one morning and one afternoon physical activity break/recess opportunity for all students in order to support student’s social emotional needs and aid in retention of learning.
Requiring students to sit out of physical activity opportunities as a discipline or academic consequence (including but not limited to recess, physical activity breaks, or physical education) is prohibited. The only exception to this circumstance is during the physical activity when the safety of oneself or others constitutes time to cool down, refocus, and/or discuss expectations to ensure safe participation for all, in a manner consistent with written student conduct policies and procedures. The District has set forth alternative non-exclusionary and progressive options for disciplining students in its written policies and procedures. Further, students may not be separated from peers or class during recess or physical activity breaks for more than one (1) day as a result of a stated health and safety risk.
Physical Activity in the Classroom
The District recognizes that students are more attentive, have better retention, and ready to learn if provided with periodic breaks when they can be physically active or stretch. The District maintains a goal for teachers to provide short (3-5 minute) physical activity breaks to students during and between classroom time.
District staff will be provided professional learning opportunities that provide rationale, research-based practices, and ways of integrating physical activity and/or nutritional concepts into their classroom.
The District will provide students with physical education, using an age-appropriate, sequential physical education curriculum consistent with national and state standards for physical education. The physical education curriculum will promote the benefits of a physically active lifestyle and will help students develop skills to engage in lifelong healthy habits, as well as incorporate essential health education concepts.
All students will be provided equal opportunity to participate in physical education classes. The District will make appropriate accommodations to allow for equitable participation for all students and will adapt physical education classes and equipment, as necessary.
Physical Education courses shall be taught by state-certified physical education teachers.
All K-8 students will be provided a minimum of 2 days (over 80 minutes) of physical education in a 6-day timeframe throughout the year. If a variance is needed due to scheduling the minimum instructional time should be equitable to the yearly total. Furthermore, all high school students are to be provided at least one semester of physical education every year.
The District physical education program will promote student physical fitness through individualized fitness and activity assessments and will use criterion-based reporting for each student, (e.g. Fitnessgram). Additionally, the District recognizes that a student’s fitness level shall never be utilized as a grading measure.
In compliance with the Pennsylvania School Code and directives from the State Board of Education, the District does not allow for waivers for students from the requirements of health and physical education due to participation in a physical activity, such as interscholastic sports, band or ROTC. Both the District and State Board of education acknowledge that physical activity is only one component of physical education and physical activity does not meet all of the requirements and standards of physical education.
Equality in Physical Education and Activities
Physical activities and physical education shall not be separated into gendered activities, except where expressly permitted under District Policy 102.2 – Single Gender Classes and Activities. For example, student shall not be separated into activities by gender, according to stereotypical gender roles (e.g., boys play basketball, girls play jump rope).
It is recommended that all elementary and middle schools will offer at least 20 minutes of recess in compliance with the administrative regulation to this policy. Additionally, the District encourages schools to use best practice for structuring recess, including:
- Providing structured activities that encourage and maximize participation.
- Providing recess prior to eating lunch.
- Recess be held outdoors anytime possible (i.e., when the “feels like” temperature is above 32 degrees Fahrenheit and there is no precipitation).
Before and After School Activities
The District offers opportunities for students to participate in physical activity either before and/or after the school day through a variety of methods. The District will encourage students to be physically active before and after school through clubs, interscholastic sports, intramurals, and community-based providers.