Smart Source 2015-16 Executive Summary - Page 11

Health Education Instruction related to health education should be provided to students to help them access valid and medically accurate information about their health, acquire skills to make healthy decisions, and analyze what influences health and wellness. A variety of school staff may teach health education and integrate health lessons into their classrooms, but health education lessons and curriculum should be aligned to the Colorado Academic Comprehensive Health Education Standards (CDE, 2016) and school staff teaching these standards should receive relevant professional development. Figure 5.1 depicts that over three-quarters of schools have health education instruction that aligns with Colorado’s Comprehensive Health Education Standards. FIGURE 5.1 Percentage of schools that align health education instruction with the Comprehensive Health Education Standards The standards specify that teaching health skills (e.g., comprehend concepts, analyze influences, access valid information) be prioritized over focusing only on topic areas. However, fewer elementary schools report prioritizing health skills (Figure 5.2) despite 79 percent responding they align with the standards. Even fewer elementary schools (45 percent) report teaching sexual health education despite the standards specifying that in 5th grade, students should be able to “apply knowledge and skills necessary to make personal decisions that promote healthy relationships and sexual and reproductive health” (CDE, 2016). Figure 5.2 also highlights how schools are creative in implementing the standards, as between 60-68% of schools report embedding health standards into core content instruction. FIGURE 5.2 Percentage of schools wtih practices in implementation of health education Table 5.1 highlights the average number of academic units of health education required by schools for secondary students before graduating or advancing out of the school. As schools follow different academic schedules, the table is split into semesters, quarters, and trimesters. As referenced in Table 4.1, schools require almost twice the amount of physical education as compared to health education. Furthermore, no school level required a full academic year of health education before advancing out of school. TABLE 5.1 Average required academic units of health education for secondary students   • 9 • Secondary Combined Semester 1.1 1.0 Quarter 1.9 2.2 Trimester 1.3 0.6