Wellness Policy Annual Report 2017-18 School Year

Prepared by the New York City Department of Education’s Office of School Wellness Programs on behalf of the District Wellness Advisory Council in March 2019.

You can download a printable version of this report that includes all of the details on this page.

As stated in the NYC Department of Education’s (NYC DOE) District Wellness Policy, the District Wellness Advisory Council compiles and publishes an annual report to share basic information about the wellness policy, and report on the NYC DOE’s overall progress with implementing wellness goals.  The DOE Wellness Policy is available to the public on the NYC DOE’s InfoHub, accessible at nyc.schools.gov.


When students learn about their bodies, nurture their minds, and develop the skills to take care of themselves and others, they are better prepared to succeed in school and in life.  That’s why, in New York City schools, we invest in and promote strong physical and health education instruction, free nutritious meals, and opportunities for students to practice healthy behaviors before, during, and after school. The NYC DOE outlines expectations for schools in the NYC DOE’s District Wellness Policy.

The DOE Wellness Policy describes laws and recommendations that make up our approach to physical and health education, food and nutrition, physical activity, school wellness councils, and other wellness-related areas. Based on the national Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model for addressing health, wellness and student achievement, the DOE Wellness Policy shows schools and communities important opportunities for staff, caregivers, and organizations to collaborate around and make connections with the two instructional areas of the model, physical education and health education. By approaching student wellness from an instructional, skills-building lens, it is easy to see how opportunities, programs, and services can more purposefully support what students learn in standards- based PE and health education class. Connecting what students learn with what they experience in the school environment helps staff focus on consistent messaging that can empower students to make good choices.

To help schools prioritize PE and Health Education, and create a healthful environment, the policy recommends that schools have a School Wellness Council, an advisory group made up of students, family members, educators, support staff, school leaders, and community-based organizations. Recent PE and Health Education revitalization efforts aimed at improving NYC students’ academic and social-emotional success highlight the role of School Wellness Councils as integral to sustaining investments in these areas. School Wellness Councils can raise students’ and families’ expectations for high quality physical and health education, and drive plans, programs, and events that inspire and engage the entire school community. 

The DOE Wellness Policy also outlines the role of the District Wellness Advisory Council, which meets quarterly to recommend, review and support the implementation of Citywide policies and practices addressing wellness-related issues. (See Appendix A for a description of this year’s activities.) Part of the Council’s responsibility is to review district-level PE and Health Education initiatives and information from the previous year, and offer recommendations that might enhance implementation in schools. Recommendations, as well as overviews of council-reviewed information, and specific school stories highlighting implementation, are included in this report. It was developed in partnership with the District Wellness Advisory Council’s sponsoring DOE office, the Office of School Wellness Programs, with contributions from the Office of Food and Nutrition Services as a Central-level reporting office under the DOE Wellness Policy.

Physical Education

Physical education (PE) is an essential academic subject that teaches students how to be physically active, work in teams, and set fitness goals that can last a lifetime. New York State’s Education Department requires standards-based PE as part of every student's school experience every year. (See Appendix B for PE requirements.) Until recently, New York City schools struggled to offer PE with the frequency, quality, and consistency that students need and deserve, especially in elementary schools, where there were relatively few licensed PE teachers. City reporting laws in 2015 revealed the extent of PE staffing, scheduling and space challenges across NYC schools. As a result, Mayor Bill de Blasio made an unprecedented, $100 million commitment to revitalize and establish high quality PE in all NYC public schools, and to ensure that elementary schools meet State and City requirements

Started as a pilot in the 2015-16 school year, PE Works is an intensive multi-year effort to invest in PE teachers, build PE into school environments, and develop communities that are proud of PE. PE Works offers strong instructional expertise, school-level action plan design, and wellness-related programs and partnerships, to both model and support the instructional and programmatic coordination needed to revitalize PE in schools.

In 2017-18:

  • A newly-developed PE teacher pipeline ensured that nearly every elementary school (700+) had at least one certified PE teacher.
  • A significantly higher share of students across all demographics met PE requirements (25% in 2013-14 to 76% in 2017-18).
  • Hundreds of PE teachers engaged in newly created professional learning pathways, communities, coaching cycles, and leadership opportunities.
  • Thousands of classroom teachers learned to use Move-to-Improve, an elementary classroom-based activity program that supports elementary PE.

To see what this looks like in practice, we visited Principal George Carter at PS 79 in Queens in spring of 2018.

Before the PE Works Initiative to revitalize physical education, the principal of PS 79, Mr. George Carter, like many principals, didn’t think a lot about “gym class.” His school, in Whitestone, Queens, has a great gym—but having a gym does not guarantee a vibrant and productive PE class for students. Great PE requires an investment in PE teachers, a central commitment of PE Works that changed Mr. Carter’s fundamental approach towards PE: “I had a different view before. PE Works opened my eyes.”

Mr. Carter began to see PE in a different light in 2015, when he hired Mr. Benjamin Paquette, one of the first PE teachers funded by PE Works. With the help of the Office of School Wellness Programs staff, Mr. Paquette created lesson plans aligned with a modern, skills-based PE curriculum and applied for grants to enhance his program with additional equipment and materials. He also volunteered as one of the first facilitators for the newly formed PE professional learning communities (PLCs) around the City, enlisting Mr. Carter to host bi-monthly meetings at the school so that Queens PE teachers could meet and tackle shared problems of practice.  

At PS 79, Mr. Paquette and Mr. Carter collaborated on a new schedule to ensure that students had PE twice a week. Mr. Paquette also championed Move-to-Improve, a classroom-based physical activity program for teachers to use daily as a supplement to PE classes. With Mr. Paquette’s guidance, the school earned MTI All-Star status, which means a majority of teachers are trained and use Move-to-Improve every day.

Today PS 79 has three certified PE teachers, creating an ideal ratio of one full-time PE teacher for every 300 students. Having a strong PE team proved critical when the school recently had an influx of newly-arrived immigrants. Because PE can overcome language barriers with physical movement supported by pictures and live modeling of activities, the class helps all students interact and feel like they belong. Multilingual learners have been paired with native English speakers. Positive reinforcements like stickers, high fives, and "Top Owl" awards reward students for doing a great job.

Impressed by the dynamic PE program, Mr. Carter nominated Mr. Paquette Teacher of the Year, an honor Mr. Paquette received at the 2017-18 district awards ceremony. Ask Mr. Carter what he thinks about “gym class” now and he’ll happily correct you: “You mean PE.”

District Wellness Advisory Council Recommendations

  • More family engagement efforts to raise awareness of PE as a vital academic subject area for students
  • More professional learning for PE teachers, including required professional learning for non-tenured PE teachers
  • More PE Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)
  • Decreasing student-to-teacher ratios in PE class
  • Built environment improvements

Comprehensive Health Education

Starting in kindergarten, comprehensive Health Education builds a foundation for lifelong learning and purposeful participation in schools, families, and communities. Students learn social and emotional skills, how to set goals for life and health, how to find and use health services, good communication and relationship skills, and how to set boundaries and resist negative social pressure. New York State’s Education Department requires that schools provide Health Education at all grade levels to support students’ safety, well-being, and academic success. In elementary school, lessons are part of classroom learning each year. In middle school and again in high school, students must receive a 54-hour comprehensive Health Education course. HIV/AIDS lessons are required every year in grades K-12, and New York City requires that sexual health instruction be included in secondary health education courses. (See Appendix C for Health Education requirements.)

New York City schools historically struggle to offer Health Education with the frequency, quality, and consistency that students need and deserve. After city reporting laws were enacted in 2016, data from the 2017-18 school year showed that secondary schools had relatively few licensed Health Educators, less than a third of middle school students received the state-mandated 54-hour Health Education course, and less than two thirds of middle school students received any amount of Health Education instruction. In 2017, the Mayor’s newly formed Sexual Health Education Task Force, which included NYC DOE representation, brought new attention to Health Education and revealed the need to provide schools with additional resources and expanded professional development opportunities to better support our students.

In 2017-18:

  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) awarded DOE with a new $2.25 million five-year grant to focus on sexual health programming in schools where students face higher rates of health risks, as well as continued Citywide data collection on youth risk behaviors.
  • Building on the success of PE Works, the Mayor and Chancellor made a landmark, multi-year $24 million investment to improve Health Education Citywide through Health Ed Works. This new initiative starting in 2018-19
    • focuses on ensuring middle and high schools are equipped to provide students with the required Health Education course consistently by 2022.
    • Jump-starts a set of 500 schools with actionable and concrete ways to prepare teachers, build Health Education into school environments, and develop communities that are proud of Health Education.

To hear an educator’s thoughts on the importance of comprehensive Health Education, we talked to Ms. Deborah Walters, a Health Education teacher at Port Richmond High School in Staten Island.

Q: When did you become interested in teaching health?

A: I was looking through my college stuff a couple of months ago after my dad cleaned out the attic. I found something I wrote in one of my education classes about my dream job. I had written that being a health teacher would be my dream job!

Q: What is a typical day in your Health Education class?

A: I’ve realized that the things that are meaningful to the students are the personal connections. We talk about things happenings in their lives, what’s affecting them, and relate it to the content. I always want them to think about knowing this [information] now, how will that influence your behavior, your choices, and your decisions?

Q:  What lessons have the greatest impact on your students?

A: It’s always the consent lessons that they report as being the most valuable. They talk about establishing boundaries and respecting boundaries. In one lesson, the students each create their own perfect pizza and then they work in pairs to create a pizza they would order together. They’re practicing negotiation–I like this, I don’t like that, I’m allergic to this, I will never ever have pineapple on my pizza. Then we talk about the process. What kind of questions did you ask? How did you identify what your partner wants? If you can order a pizza together, you can get consent and get an idea of what your partner likes and doesn’t like. It’s a cool activity that opens their eyes.

Q: What do you wish people knew about Health Education?

A: I wish people knew that health should be taken as seriously as ELA or math or PE courses that kids have every semester of their school career. I’m fortunate to be at a school where we take Health Education seriously. That’s what we’re trying to do with Health Ed Works, that, K to 12, these are the skills that kids need to learn in order to be successful.

District Wellness Advisory Council Recommendations

  • Increase public understanding of
    • Health Education as an academic course
    • the State mental Health Education mandate as part of comprehensive Health Education
    • the importance of teacher certification–when teachers are certified they are qualified to teach the skills and content needed for effective comprehensive Health Education
    • what constitutes effective Health Education and the importance of skills-building within the context of the classroom
  • More schools following NYC DOE recommendation to teach Health Education in sixth grade in middle school and ninth grade in high school
  • Increasing high school Health Education requirement to two semesters, including the first semester in ninth grade and a second semester before students graduate
  • More Health Education teachers to make Health Education culturally relevant and appropriate.
  • More professional learning for Health Education teachers on:
    • Cultural Linguistic Sustaining Practices
    • Mental Health Education
    • HIV/AIDS
    • Nutrition Education
  • Improved and more vigorous DOE reporting at the elementary level

Building a Physically Active Community: CHAMPS

Regular physical activity helps children and teens to be healthy and fit. The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends that children get 60 minutes of daily physical activity, and NYC schools offer many opportunities for students to stay active, including recess, and before- and after-school programs.

A vibrant example of this type of important intervention, the CHAMPS Sports and Fitness Program, engages thousands of elementary and middle grade students across hundreds of schools and D75 programs each year to increase physical activity and to help students cultivate a lifelong appreciation for staying active. CHAMPS—an acronym for Cooperative, Healthy, Active, Motivated, Positive, Students—has become a valuable NYC DOE institution, striving to engage as many students as possible in non-competitive, developmental programs for young people of all abilities. Coached by NYC DOE teachers, CHAMPS provides students with free, developmental before- and after-school programs where they can practice the skills learned in physical education, individually and in team play. CHAMPS also offers teachers opportunities to coach, mentor, and lead efforts for students and their families to be healthy, active, and engaged.

Schools have the opportunity to select from more than 30 different activities in middle schools and six in elementary schools, ranging from sports like flag football, soccer, and flag rugby, to fitness activities like BOKS (Build Our Kids’ Success) fitness, yoga, dance, and tai chi. Strong partnerships with local and national sports and physical activity organizations have supplemented traditional CHAMPS experiences. At the end of each CHAMPS season, students showcase what they’ve learned for families and friends to enjoy. Whether it’s strengthening PE and fitness skills, fostering school spirit, boosting cooperative learning, or having fun in a safe, active environment, CHAMPS programs and events inspire and engage students, building a community committed to wellness.

 In 2017-18:

  • CHAMPS programming reached 32,000 students: 23,000 in middle school and 9,000 in elementary school.
  • Hundreds of family and community members enjoyed 53 CHAMPS events held across the City, including flag football, volleyball, basketball, and flag rugby events.
  • CHAMPS conducted 12 orientations for 219 new CHAMPS coaches.

To learn more about the important role that these types of physical activity programs can play in a school community, we met with and observed Coach Jon Warchol, Creston Academy’s health and PE teacher, who loves his other position at the school as a CHAMPS volleyball coach.

When a timer goes off in the gym at Creston Academy middle school in the Bronx, the sound of volleyballs thudding against the floor comes to a halt. “That’s practice?” a student says, surprise and disappointment showing on her face. When she realizes the timer simply marked the end of the drill, she looks relieved.

CHAMPS gives K-8 students the opportunity to participate in sports and fitness programs before and after school. Most CHAMPS activities are developmental and designed for students of all abilities. As a complement to developmental volleyball, and to encourage more young women to participate in physical activity, CHAMPS offers one competitive program, the Middle School Volleyball League, where the Creston Academy girls’ volleyball team has excelled, winning back-to-back championships in 2016 and 2017.

For Coach Jon Warchol, the school’s Health and PE teacher, winning volleyball championships isn’t the goal. He’s more interested in instilling commitment and collaboration in his players. The students on the team “learn a lot about counting on one another, trust, and building friendships,” he says.

Warchol coaches the co-ed developmental volleyball program in the fall and the Middle School Volleyball League girls’ team in the winter. He develops students’ mentorship skills by pairing eighth graders with sixth graders at the beginning of each season. At the end of the season, the sixth graders write a letter to their eighth grade mentors expressing the positive things they learned and experienced.

The enthusiasm for volleyball extends beyond the CHAMPS program to the entire school community. Administrators and staff members follow the team’s games and many students choose to play volleyball during recess. They sometimes approach Coach Warchol and Evaline Roman, the assistant coach, to ask, “What do I need to do to be on the team?”

For a coach who wants to replicate the energy around Creston Academy’s volleyball program, Coach Warchol suggests holding pep rallies, reaching out to new students, and taking advantage of the outstanding professional development opportunities offered by CHAMPS program.

One of the goals of the CHAMPS program is to empower and nurture students to spark a lifelong love of physical activity. Warchol recently experienced that spark when a student told him that having volleyball practice five days a week wasn’t enough. She wanted to play more.

District Wellness Advisory Council Recommendations

  • More CHAMPS programs in elementary and middle schools, as well as CHAMPS programming in high school
  • Expanded guidance and resources for coaches to provide students with more equitable opportunities to be active
  • Recess requirements for elementary school students

Building a Community of Wellness: School Wellness Councils

School Wellness Councils bring members of the school community together to provide opportunities for everyone to be healthy, active, and engaged. Made up of parents/guardians, students, school staff, and other community members, a wellness council can support the principal and School Leadership Team with developing and coordinating the school’s approach to the DOE Wellness Policy. Strong School Wellness Councils lead school-based plans grounded in providing students with quality instruction and consistent health and wellness messages, before, during and after school. From strengthening and supporting Physical Education (PE) and Health Education, to better coordinating nutrition and health services with instruction and student needs, or focusing on ways to improve the physical, social, and emotional environment, school wellness councils drive plans, programs, and events that inspire the school community and serve the whole child.

In 2010, the DOE launched a competitive grant program in 50 pilot schools, providing grantees with $2,500 to convene a School Wellness Council, develop an action plan, and fund their wellness-related projects. An early focus of the grant program was to give PE and Health Education teachers an opportunity to lead families and school staff in planning and programming, using the DOE’s Wellness Policy as a guide. (Currently, about one in three champions is a licensed PE or Health Education teacher.) The grant program now funds more than 200 schools annually, representing schools with more than 140,000 students. All school communities can access valuable components of the program, including resources on the School Wellness Portal, free professional learning on topics like school-level wellness policy development and grant writing, and the School Wellness Weekly newsletter, which features the latest programs, resources, opportunities, and information for NYC schools.

In 2017-18, the DOE:

  • Partnered with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to provide nearly 100 schools with $1,000 Target gift cards to jump-start family and student engagement projects
  • Registered at least a quarter of all schools on the School Wellness Portal, with one-third of all schools having participated in the School Wellness Council grant program since it started in 2010
  • Empowered and prepared more School Wellness Council members with professional learning, with 43% of awarded schools this year engaged in at least one professional learning session or site visit (not including orientation), and 30% in two or more
  • Updated the DOE Wellness Policy, highlighting the role of School Wellness Councils in implementing robust wellness plans and programs in schools, as well as the role of the District Wellness Advisory Council in advocating for a robust wellness agenda across the City

To see what this looks like in practice, we visited Brooklyn Arbor elementary school to see their School Wellness Council in action:

At Brooklyn Arbor elementary school, families are invited to school cooking classes to learn how to make delicious, healthy recipes. The cafeteria has embraced a Meatless Mondays menu. A wellness newsletter goes out to the school community highlighting useful information and initiatives.  

With so many programs competing for resources and time at any given school, how has wellness come to be a defining priority? Brooklyn Arbor credits its School Wellness Council for leading the charge.

School Wellness Councils bring together parents, students, school staff, and community members to promote health and wellness. Brooklyn Arbor’s council–which launched in the 2013-14 school year–started off by focusing on initiatives within the school staff’s control, like the offerings on the school lunch menu and providing a free yoga session once a month for teachers. Now the goals are more ambitious.

“At the end of the last school year, we started laying out some specific goals so that in September we could hit the ground running,” says Donna Griebel, a classroom teacher who heads up the council. “We wanted to expand beyond the staff. How can we get families, students, and the community more involved?” 

At a brainstorming meeting with the School Wellness Council, the fifth-grade student council decided to create posters that promoted healthy snacks and trying new foods. They also loved the idea of taking "snack selfies” of kids eating healthy foods and displaying the photos on a Wellness Warriors bulletin board.

Parents have been instrumental in forming wellness partnerships in the community. A mother who teaches at a nearby preschool proposed having Brooklyn Arbor students do a cooking project with the preschoolers. Another parent talked to the bodega across the street about creating a healthy snack shelf with items like hummus, yogurt, and fresh fruit beneath Brooklyn Arbor signage.

Last year, the school’s efforts earned a silver in the NYC Excellence in School Wellness Awards. This year, Brooklyn Arbor is going for gold.

“We’re always trying to balance our lofty ideals with what’s actionable right now,” Griebel says.

District Wellness Advisory Council Recommendations

  • Guidance for aligning School Wellness Council work and CEP goals at the school level
  • Updates to the School Wellness Scorecard on the DOE’s Wellness Portal
  • More parent engagement and involvement on School Wellness Councils across the City
  • Ways for schools to cross-share what their Councils are working on to generate more ideas
  • Media promotion of School Wellness Councils and their various programming or policy efforts to generate family and public awareness
  • More professional learning opportunities
  • More family engagement and health education related partnerships in schools
  • A simplified and more aligned Wellness Portal
  • Every school with a School Wellness Council

School Food and Nutrition Update

The following update is from the NYC DOE Office of Food and Nutrition Services as a Central-level reporting office under the DOE Wellness Policy:

The New York City Department of Education offers free breakfast and lunch to all NYC public school students, and strives to provide nutrient-rich options that students of all ages and backgrounds will love. Our meals meet high nutrition standards (available on our website to the public) that meet and often exceed United States Department of Agriculture standards for school meals, an essential part of fulfilling our DOE School Wellness Policy. The DOE does not use food additives such as artificial colors or flavors, non-nutritious sweeteners, or preservatives. Additionally, we restrict high fructose corn syrup when we can. Our menus and water services are created to make sure that students get the nutrients they need to think clearly and concentrate on learning. Publicly available monthly menus offer a variety of healthy, great-tasting, and creative food choices. We make sure that K-12 students get a variety of smart choices such as:

  • Whole grain cereals and breads
  • A variety of vegetables
  • Assorted fruits
  • Fresh salads
  • Low-fat and fat-free milk

The DOE continues to adhere to competitive food and beverage guidelines referenced in the DOE Wellness Policy and detailed in the Chancellor’s Regulation on Competitive Foods (CR A-812).

While our goal is to ensure all 1.1 million students in more than 1,700 buildings get the nutrients they need to concentrate on learning, we provide, on average, 650,000 lunches per day and 250,000 breakfasts. Salad bars operate in most schools and breakfast in the classroom is being implemented in all elementary schools. We promote our 29 monthly menus through a variety of ways in schools and on our website. Several recent initiatives to increase student meal participation include:

  • Universal Free Meals: Since Fall 2017, lunch is free to all students and breakfast continues to be free.
  • Cafeteria Enhancement Experience: Specifically to attract secondary students, the DOE has transformed 34 school cafeterias into a food court design. While offering the same menu items, presentation enhancements has increased participation at these sites by more than 10 percentage points.
  • Scratch Cooking Pilot: Professionally trained chefs installed at several Bronx schools develop scratch-cooked meals and inform future Citywide menu development that moves away from processed foods.
  • Student taste testing: To ensure NYC DOE food meets the discerning palate of NYC students, we invite students to participate in menu creation by conducting product and recipe testing from October to June with 1,400 students from more than 50 schools across the city. 

The DOE continues to serve millions of summer meals to children 18 years old and younger. In an effort to reach as many children as possible, the NYC DOE uses mobile food trucks to serve free, nutritious, and delicious meals at libraries, parks, and playgrounds throughout the City.  In the summer of 2018, we served more than 7 million meals.

To forge closer relationships with community partners, the DOE’s Office of Food and Nutrition Services has launched a quarterly meeting to develop, maintain, and help connect members of the school, nutrition, food justice, food access, and sustainability communities. Just as the Wellness Policy encourages schools to foster food service outreach and collaboration with instructional and environmental staff through School Wellness Councils, the Office of Food and Nutrition seeks that same Whole Child, Whole School, Whole Community approach with NYC’s strong food community.

The Office of School Wellness Programs continues to complement these efforts by addressing nutrition education as part of comprehensive health education through school initiatives, professional learning opportunities for teachers using NYC DOE-recommended comprehensive health education curricula, and through PE and health education scope and sequence documents.

Appendix A: About the District Wellness Advisory Council

The DOE’s District Wellness Advisory Council launched in August 2017 and brings together a diverse set of community perspectives to advise on program implementation and build public support for Physical Education, Health Education, and wellness-related programs, with a focus on implementation of and reporting on the NYC DOE Wellness Policy.

Who makes up the Advisory Council? 

The Advisory Council is organized into two main committees: Health Education and Programming, and Physical Education and Activity. These committees are made up of solutions-oriented representatives and perspectives considerate of the following groups: Educators, School Administrators, Faith Leaders, Community Based Organizations, Families, District Administrators, and other City Agencies.

In addition to the two main committees, the separate “Student Voice Committee,” comprised of high school students from across the city, meets monthly to work toward a wellness promotion initiative of their choosing. There is a new Student Voice Committee each school year.

What did the Advisory Council accomplish in 2017-18?

The Advisory Council met quarterly, at in-person meetings, and provided feedback remotely on a number of NYC DOE priorities. A few of the high-level activities and outcomes from the Council include:

K-5 Scope and Sequence documents for Physical Education and Health Education

Members reviewed drafts of these key curricular planning resources for educators, and provided recommendations to strengthen the content, ensuring that it reflects the priorities of the community and subject experts. Council members also reviewed and recommended supplemental lessons from external organizations that were added to the Health Education Scope and Sequence to meet students’ needs and address curricular gap areas.

Physical Education and Health Education Professional Learning

The Council reviewed our office’s recommended sequence of professional learning sessions (“Pathways”) for educators in order to identify training gap areas and potential new workshops to meet that need. As a result, we added new trainings to build teachers’ subject-area mastery and ensure that our students are receiving highly skilled instruction in these core subjects.

Student Voice Committee

Student committee members developed a Mental Health Awareness Month Toolkit that was shared with school communities and School Mental Health Program staff,  and via our 13,000-subscriber School Wellness Weekly newsletter, to build awareness of mental health as a school wellness priority.

Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Model 

Members discussed and compiled a list of New York City programs and policies that support this model of school-community-health services collaboration developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support students’ health and academic achievement. These activities established a common framework for the Council to continue to address the importance of Health Education and Physical Education as key components of an integrated system designed to support the “whole child.”

Who Attended the Meetings?

Over the course our four District Wellness Advisory Council meetings, from August 2017 through June 2018, nearly 200 diverse stakeholders attended and engaged with us in this important work. We look forward to having more representation from families and school-based personnel in the upcoming year.

StakeholderPercentage of total attendees
Community-based Organizations26 percent
Other City Agency Staff23 percent
School Staff (administrators, teachers)21 percent
Other Central DOE Staff16 percent
University/Higher Ed6 percent
Family6 percent
Other2 percent

District Wellness Advisory Council Members


  • Rodney Fisher
  • Rachael Peters
  • Emily Owens-Edington
  • Arlen Zamula


  • Jan Atwell
  • Scott Bloom
  • Kristin Borhofen
  • Amanda Brown
  • Mark Cannizzaro
  • Peishien Chiou
  • Rich Conroy
  • Kevin Dantzler
  • Demetre Daskalakis
  • Michael Davoli
  • Sarah Doolittle
  • Nancy Easton
  • Randall Elkin
  • Rodney Fisher
  • Maura Flanagan
  • Paul Fontana
  • Aviva Grasso
  • Pam Haller
  • Chery Harris-Watson
  • Diana Hayes
  • Aaron Hultgren
  • Yvette Jeanty
  • Ponzella Johnson
  • Emily Kadar
  • Ismene Karvounis
  • Rose Kerr
  • Pam Koch
  • Hillary Kunins
  • Aimee Lichtenfeld
  • David Ludwig
  • James Maguire
  • Ginny Mantello
  • Daniel Marascia
  • Anna Markova
  • Aletha Maybank
  • Meredith McDermott
  • Erikka Moreno
  • Eric Neufeld
  • Stephen O’Brien
  • Rima Oken
  • Emily Owens-Edington
  • Michele Paolella
  • Jorge Perdomo
  • Rachael Peters
  • Michael Peterson
  • Alvaro Pinzon
  • Roger Platt
  • Estelle Raboni
  • Reverend Tara Ragbir
  • Anita Reyes
  • Sean Rosenberg
  • Henry Rubio
  • Jessica Schaeffer
  • Kim Shannon
  • Jessica Silk
  • Cliff Sperber
  • Karen Susnitzky
  • Teddy Swenson
  • Sarah Townley
  • Julie Tran
  • Kathleen Tullie
  • Maggie Veatch
  • Robin Vitale
  • Howell Wechsler
  • Kim Wiley-Schwartz
  • Jackie Zammit
  • Arlen Zamula

Appendix B: Physical Education Requirements

State Requirements

Elementary School

Students in kindergarten through grade six must have PE for at least 120 minutes per week. Grade 6 students in a K–6, K–8, or K–12 school follow the elementary school requirements. Depending on your student’s grade level, they may have PE on different days of the week:

  • Students in kindergarten–grade 3 must have PE every day.
  • Students in grades 4–6 must have PE at least three times per week.

Middle School

Middle school students must have PE every semester throughout middle school. The PE time requirement depends on the students’ grade level:

  • Grade six students:
    • In a K–6, K–8, or K–12 school: Follow the elementary requirements.
    • In a 6–8 or 6–12 school: Students must have PE for at least 90 minutes per week.
  • Grade seven and eight students:
    • In all schools: Students must have PE for at least 90 minutes per week.

High School

All students in grades 9–12 must have PE in high school.

  • Students must have PE for at least 180 minutes per week for 7 semesters, or 90 minutes per week for 8 semesters.
All high school students must earn the equivalent of 4 credits in PE in order to graduate.


Appendix C: Health Education Requirements

State and Local Requirements

Elementary School

Students in grades K-5 must have health instruction every year. There is no specific time requirement.

  • Grade K-6 students must receive five HIV/AIDS lessons per year.

Middle School

Students in grades 6-8 must have Health Education every day for one semester. The health instruction time must add up to 54 hours.

  • Sexual health education topics are part of the health course.
  • Grade 6 students must receive five HIV/AIDS lessons per year.
  • Grades 7 – 8 students must receive six HIV/AIDS lessons per year.

High School

Students in grades 9-12 must have Health Education every day for one semester. The health instruction time must add up to 54 hours.

  • Sexual health education topics are part of the health course.
  • Students must receive six HIV/AIDS lessons per year.
  • All high school students must earn one credit in Health Education to graduate.
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