Health and Physical Education, K-12
In Gwinnett County Public Schools, we believe a developmentally appropriate and comprehensive experience in health and physical education is essential for meeting the diverse needs of all students. Quality health and physical education programs foster growth and development through the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective learning domains. Physical education emphasizes skill-development, physical activity, health and skill-related fitness components, and lifetime enjoyment for being actively engaged in physical activity. In physical education, students will learn how to participate in a variety of activities and game-like situations which focus on various motor and manipulative skills, movement concepts, physical fitness, personal and social responsibility, self expression, safety, and enjoyment. By the end of high school, students will be college and career ready to demonstrate and describe key concepts associated with successful participation in physical activity for a lifetime. Students will be able to plan and implement different types of personal fitness programs; participate in lifetime activities; and model responsible behaviors while engaged in physical activity.
In health, students learn how to live healthy lifestyles and reduce their risks for unhealthy behaviors. Additionally, age-appropriate instruction regarding safety, personal health and wellness, mental and emotional health, healthy eating, alcohol and other drugs, tobacco, violence prevention and human growth and anatomy will be implemented. Participation in health and physical education is an integral and inseparable part of the K-12 educational experience.
The Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) for health and physical education represent the comprehensive scope of the program and the skills and knowledge students should acquire to lead healthy and active lifestyles. The AKS embrace national and state standards and have been reviewed and validated by educators and the community as essential curriculum for Gwinnett County students.
According to Georgia law, elementary schools shall provide all students with a minimum of 90 contact hours of instruction at each grade level in health and physical education. Each middle school containing grades 6-8 shall provide instruction in health and physical education at every grade level. Additionally, each high school containing grades 9-12 shall provide instruction in health and physical education and a minimum of ½ Carnegie unit in health and ½ Carnegie unit in personal fitness are needed to satisfy Georgia graduation requirements.
Local school districts should also conduct an annual fitness assessment program for all students in grades 1-12 within a physical education course that is taught by a certified physical education teacher. Further, students will be provided instruction in alcohol and other drug use education annually in grades K-12; cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the use of an automated external defibrillator in grades 9-12; and annual age-appropriate sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention education in grades K-9.
Human Sexuality Education
Gwinnett County Public Schools will offer growth and development and human sexuality/HIV/AIDS education units to all students enrolled in a health course beginning in fourth grade. By state mandate, all public school systems in Georgia must include human sexuality as one facet of the comprehensive health education program. Our school system believes that all students should be equipped with factually accurate and appropriate information about these topics. Students who are armed with the facts are better informed to make healthy decisions. All content and instruction is implemented with sensitivity and are abstinence-based. However, the instruction that occurs in our schools should complement what is being taught at home and your values and expectations should be made very clear to your children.
The enhancement of health knowledge, attitudes and problem-solving skills is the focus of instruction. Human sexuality education is built on a comprehensive approach that focuses on growth and development, including puberty and anatomy of the male and female reproductive systems in grades 4-5. The human body, growth and puberty, male and female reproductive systems, sexually-transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS, abuse, assault awareness and prevention, decision-making, refusal skills, dating and healthy relationships, and pregnancy with a focus on abstinence as the healthiest choice are discussed in grades 6-12.
Parents or legal guardians have the option of removing their child from the human sexuality unit at each grade level. Prior to the parent or legal guardian making a choice to allow his or her child to take the specified unit of instruction, he or she shall be told what instruction is to be provided and have the opportunity to review all instructional materials to be used, print and non-print. Parents or legal guardians must notify the principal in writing if they choose to remove their child from the unit. An alternative assignment will be provided for those who opt out of this instruction.
As part of your child’s physical education program and their comprehensive health and physical education plan, individual levels of fitness will be tested using FITNESSGRAM, the state mandated fitness assessment program. The new version of FITNESSGRAM is now a five segment comprehensive fitness assessment designed to measure cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and body composition. This fitness assessment will be administered to all students in grades 1-12 that are enrolled in a physical education course regardless of age, gender, or ability. Students are encouraged to be self-aware of their health-related fitness and to take responsibility by setting personal fitness goals. When students focus on continually improving their levels of fitness, a positive and lifelong impact can be achieved. As part of this process, your child’s height and weight will be confidentially measured and recorded to determine the students Body Mass Index. Parent and/or guardians will receive a copy of their child’s FITNESSGRAM score report indicating their body composition, aerobic capacity, abdominal strength, upper body strength, and flexibility at the end of the school year. As the parent of a minor, Georgia law gives you the option of not having your child’s height and weight measured at school. If you choose to exempt your child from this portion of the FITNESSGRAM Test, you will need to notify the school and physical education teacher in writing, but you will still receive a copy of the report with this section left blank.