Health and Physical Education

Health Education
The purpose of health education is to positively influence the health behavior of individuals and communities as well as the living and working conditions that influence their health. Health education improves the health status of individuals, families, communities, states, and the nation.

Health Standards, Assessments and Graduation Requirements
All school districts in Minnesota are required to identify standards, benchmarks, curriculum and assessments in health education. All students must receive instruction in health education K-8, or by district-determined grade bands. High school students must receive instruction in health education at least once. The amount of credit and graduation requirement is determined at the district level.

The Minnesota Department of Education recommends that districts utilize the National Health Education Standards (NHES). These standards establish, promote and support health-enhancing behaviors for students in all grade levels, K-12. They provide a framework for teachers, administrators and policymakers in designing and selecting curriculum and instructional resources, and in assessing student achievement. The NHES are behavior based, with health education content integrated across each standard.

The National Health Education Standards and Minnesota Benchmarks were developed by the Minnesota Department of Education to serve as a guide for districts for locally developed standards providing sample grade-specific benchmarks for K-12 health education. 

For more information about Health Education, contact Mary Thissen-Milder.

Physical Education

The goal of physical education is to develop physically literate individuals who have the knowledge, skills and confidence to enjoy a lifetime of healthful physical activity. To pursue a lifetime of healthful physical activity, a physically literate individual:

  • Has learned the skills necessary to participate in a variety of physical activities;
  • Knows the implications and the benefits of involvement in various types of physical activities;
  • Participates regularly in physical activity;
  • Is physically fit;
  • Values physical activity and its contributions to a healthful lifestyle.

New! Physical Education Standards 2019 Training Schedule Released

The Minnesota Department of Education is offering regional trainings across the state regarding the 2018 Minnesota Physical Education Standards. In this training, actions and resources are recommended to help educator teams develop a shared understanding of the new physical education standards and grade-level benchmarks, and initiate the curriculum review process. Get more information, training dates and registration process here

Physical Education Standards, Assessments and Graduation Requirements

2018 Minnesota Academic Standards in Physical Education
The Minnesota Department of Education released the official 2018 Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards in Physical Education document on February 1, 2018. The standards are to be fully implemented in all Minnesota school districts by the 2021-22 school year. Full implementation of the 2018 Minnesota Academic Standards in Physical Education is defined as:

  • By the 2021-22 school year, instruction in physical education in grades K-8 must include all the 2018 Minnesota physical education standards and grade-level benchmarks.
  • Instruction at the high school level must include all the 2018 Minnesota physical education standards and grade-level benchmarks for grades 9-12 beginning with the 2021-22 freshman (9th grade) class.
  • All school districts are required to develop assessments to ensure students are meeting the benchmarks.

Get more information on the physical education standards implementation

New Physical Education Standards Webinar
Minnesota is in the process of adopting the 2018 Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards in Physical Education. They are to be fully implemented by the 2021-22 school year. The Recommended Transition Timeline identifies phases between now and full implementation that could be followed during the school review process. One of the first steps identified in the timeline is for physical education teachers to familiarize themselves with the new standards and grade-level benchmarks. To assist schools in the review process, MDE has released a webinar called Introducing the 2018 Minnesota K-12 Academic Standard in Physical Education. This webinar provides an introduction to the new standards and grade-level benchmarks, identifies changes in the standards from our current system, provides a more in depth explanation to the now required grade-level benchmarks, and explains steps teachers can be taking to be prepared for full implementation by the 2021-22 school year.

For more information about Physical Education, contact Mary Thissen-Milder.