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Health & Fitness

1. What is the State Board of Education's (SBE) role in graduation requirements?

RCW 28A.230.090 authorizes SBE to establish state's credit graduation requirements. SBE has established credit subject requirements (WAC 180-51-061, WAC 180-51-066, and WAC 180-51-067).

2. Is Physical Education required of all students in public schools?

RCW 28A.230.040 directs that every student in grades one through eight in public schools shall receive instruction in physical education. Individual students may be excused due to physical disability, religious belief, or participation in directed athletics. RCW 28A.230.050 directs that all high schools shall "emphasize the work of physical education and carry into effect all physical education requirements". The high school physical education requirement may be waived for individual students according to the provisions described in question 3 below.

3. Can the Fitness/Physical Education requirement be waived?

Individual students may be excused locally from physical education "on account of physical disability, employment, religious belief, or because of participation in directed athletics or military science and tactics or for other good cause"(RCW 28A.230.050). WAC 180-51-067 clarifies that such excused students shall be required to demonstrate proficiency/competency in the knowledge portion of the Fitness/Physical Education requirement. Recommendations for Waivers in High School Physical Education outlines sample procedures for high school physical education waivers in accordance with state laws and regulations.

4. Can two credits of Health meet the Health and Fitness requirement?

No. WAC 180-51-067, adopted for the Class of 2016 (entering ninth grade on or after July 1, 2012,) clarifies that .5 credits are required for Health, and 1.5 credits are required for Fitness/Physical Education.

5. Do International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme students need to meet the Health and Fitness requirement?

Students who fulfill the requirements of an International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme are exempt from WAC 180-51-067 (required demonstration of proficiency/competency in the knowledge portion of the fitness requirement) as per statute RCW.28A.230.122. School districts may require students under this section to complete local graduation requirements that are in addition to state minimum requirements before issuing a high school diploma under RCW 28A.230.120.

6. Can Health be taught within the structure of a Health and Fitness class?

Districts may determine how to meet the Health requirement either as a stand-alone Health class (which is best practice for sensitive topics such as suicide prevention education or sexual health education) or a combined health and fitness class. Whatever the delivery method, the Washington State K-12 Health and Fitness Learning Standards for Health are to be taught. The Health and Fitness Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs) and Grade Level Expectations (GLEs) describe what students should know and be able to do. They establish the concepts and skills necessary for safe and healthy living, and in turn, for successful learning. Basic education in Washington state is defined by the Legislature (RCW 28A.150.2). As required by state law, OSPI develops the state's learning standards (RCW 28A.150.210) and oversees the assessment of the learning standards (RCW 28A.655.070) for state and federal accountability purposes. The standards can be found on the OSPI Health and Fitness website.

7. What are the rules and regulations that must be met when teaching health education?

The following content shall be included:

CPR/AED Instruction in High Schools

OSPI-Developed Assessments for Health and Fitness – Formerly Classroom-Based Assessments (CBAs)

Sexual Health Education

  • AIDS education in public schools (RCW 28A.230.070)
  • Medically accurate sexual health education (RCW 28A.300.475)
  • Sexual health education - Definition - Optional course or subject matter - Excusal of students (WAC 392-410-140) – Excusal of students
  • Sexual health education, providing information concerning sexual abuse and violence prevention: SB 6376
  • Sexual health education, sexual offense with minor victim legal elements and conviction consequences information requirement: HB 1397, * SHB 1397, CH 85 (2013)

Suicide Prevention Education

Page last updated: August 2014