Vermont law (16 V.S.A § 131) defines comprehensive health education as “systemic and extensive” educational program and requires this education for K-12 students. School health programs for K-12 students prove to be more effective in changing health behaviors than occasional programs on a single health topic. Vermont Education Quality Standards (EQS) stipulate each Supervisory Union/Supervisory District/Unified District (SU/SD/UD) have a written and delivered curriculum aligned with standards approved by the State Board of Education that enables students to engage annually in rigorous, relevant, and comprehensive learning opportunities that allows them to demonstrate proficiency in seven content areas, including health. This webpage includes information about Vermont’s Health Education standards, a portrait of a graduate considering Health and Physical Education, links to the Linking Health and Learning newsletter, and resources that support health education and sexual health education.
Health literacy is defined as "the capacity of individuals to obtain, interpret and understand basic health information and service, and the competence to use such information and services in ways that enhance health." The State Board of Education adopted the National Health Education Standards (NHES) in May 2015 to be used as a framework for schools to develop a PK-12 health curriculum that will help ensure that our young people will have the foundational knowledge and proficiency at using health skills to maintain good health that supports their ability to learn and pursue personal life goals.
Sexual Health Education Standards
The Agency of Education (AOE) is responsible for helping to increase the awareness of sexual health related information and services that are available to promote student wellness and increase academic success. The National Health Education Standards (NHES) influenced the development of the National Sexuality Education Standards. While the NHES focus on a student’s ability to understand key concepts and learn particular skills to manage personal health, they do not address any specific health content areas required by 16 V.S.A § 131 content for sexuality education. The National Sexuality Education Standards support educators by defining the minimum, essential content and skills for K-12 sexuality education given student needs and assists schools in designing and delivering sexuality education that is planned, sequential and part of a comprehensive school health education approach.
The Agency of Education provides schools with sample proficiency-based graduation requirements for health and physical education based on state-adopted standards. These sample graduation proficiencies are examples of a rigorous proficiency-based graduation framework that meets Education Quality Standards requirements. A Vermont Portrait of a Graduate (PoG) was collaboratively developed to be used as a tool for reviewing and refining local proficiency-based graduation requirements, as well as a guide for making instructional decisions. The PoG specifies the cognitive, personal, and interpersonal skills and abilities that students should be able to demonstrate upon graduation considering six attributes: learner agency, global citizenship, academic proficiency, communication, critical thinking and problem solving, and well-being. Each attribute includes key descriptors and performance indicators.
Health and physical education programs should provide students with valuable learning experiences that support the development of PoG attributes. The following diagram highlights specific health and physical education program skills and abilities that are associated with PoG attributes. Information about how the six attributes of a Vermont PoG can be addressed through health and physical education can be found below.
Information about how the six attributes of a Vermont PoG can be addressed through Health and Physical Education can be found below.
- SHAPE America Health Education web page: Health Education Standards and SEL Crosswalk to Health Education Standards
SHAPE America Download Library - Health: Classroom-ready and teacher-friendly resources you can use right now to help your students on the path to health and physical literacy.
EVERFI: EVERFI has resources for teaching students to make healthy choices in a safe environment. EVERFI partners with sponsors nationwide to offer interactive, online health resources to K-12 schools free of charge.
KidsHealth: KidsHealth offers educators free health-related lesson plans for PreK through 12th grade. Teacher guides include discussion questions, classroom activities and extensions, printable handouts, and quizzes and answer keys – all aligned to National Health Education Standards.
Learn to be Healthy: Learn to be Healthy is a standards-based resource that includes lesson series on several health topics.
The Health Teacher: Current, relevant, adaptable resources for connecting health curriculum to the world we live in.
Agency of Education Sexual Health Education Web Page: The Agency of Education (AOE) is responsible for helping to increase the awareness of sexual health-related information and services that are available to promote student wellness and increase academic success. This page includes links to several tools and resources that support sexual health education.
Vermont Department of Health: The Vermont Department of Health website includes information, resources and curricula for educators who help students understand their own health and important public health issues.
The Technical Assistance Resource Guide (TARG), created by the Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force pursuant to Act 1 of 2009 and updated in 2014, provides guidance for schools to build their capacity for and knowledge of sexual violence prevention. Additional resources for schools and educators:
Act 151 of 2012 requires that information regarding and practice of compression-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the use of automated external defibrillators becomes a part of comprehensive health education.
Email Susan Yesalonia, Ed.D. or call (802) 828-6553.