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The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) includes physical education and health education as part of a “well-rounded” education that should be offered to all students. Physical education and health education have positive associations with academic growth and achievement, attention and concentration, and lifetime healthy habits. While physical education and health education offer complementary knowledge and skills, they are separate academic subjects with separate regulations, requirements, and standards.
Iowa's recommended physical education and health education standards were approved and adopted by the Iowa State Board of Education on March 28, 2019, based on public input and review team recommendations. See the final report from the Physical Education and Health Education Review Team.Back to top
Physical Education Standards
Quality instructional programs in physical education are essential for building skills, advancing knowledge, and contributing to dispositions toward physical activity at all stages of life. Iowa adopted the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) America standards and grade level outcomes for Iowa’s recommended Physical Education Standards.Back to top
High-Quality Physical Education Videos and Handout
One-sheet Handout: High-Quality Physical Education is the Foundation for a Healthy Life
- Overview: High-Quality Physical Education
- The Road to a Lifetime of Physical Activity
- Administrative Support
- Physical Education Standards
- Student Engagement
- Family Engagement
Physical Education ComplianceBack to top
Adapted Physical Education
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Iowa Administrative Rules of Special Education require schools to provide free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE). “Special education” specifically lists, “instruction in physical education,” requiring all students to have access to appropriate physical education instruction. States and schools are required to provide equal opportunity to participate in physical education and extracurricular athletics by children and youth with and without disabilities.
- Guidance for Physical Education for Students with Disabilities
- Special Education webpage
- The National Consortium for Physical Education for Individuals with Disabilities (NCPEID)
Health education may be a stand-alone course or integrated into Physical Education or other relevant courses in Grades K-8. A quality health education program provides students with the knowledge, attitudes, and skills they need to make health-promoting decisions, achieve health literacy, adopt health-enhancing behaviors, and promote the health of others (Lewalen, 2015).
Visit the Health Education Instruction webpage for more information.Back to top
Teaching Endorsements in Health & Physical Education
For the requirements for teaching endorsements in physical education, use the following links:Back to top
School Wellness Newsletter
The School Wellness newsletter is a monthly communication sharing updates and resources related to school wellness.Back to top
- Iowa Healthy Kids Act
- School Wellness Policy
- Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child
- Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs
- Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) America