• Dallas ISD Physical Education Requirements 

     Physical education is the foundation of a well-balanced curriculum. "It is an academic subject with a planned and sequential K-12 curriculum based on the national standards for physical education. Physical education provides cognitive content and instruction designed to develop motor skills, knowledge, and behaviors for physical activity and physical fitness. Supporting schools to establish daily physical education can provide students with the ability and confidence to be physically active for a lifetime" (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CDC Healthy Schools, May 2019).


    Physical education is designed to develop motor skills, knowledge, and behaviors for active living, physical fitness, sportsmanship, self-efficacy, and emotional intelligence. Physical education addresses the three domains of learning: cognitive skills related to the knowledge of movement, affective skills related to feelings and attitudes about movement, and psychomotor skills related to the manual or physical skills in movement literacy (SHAPE America, 2014, p. 4).

    Physically literate students have the ability to develop a lifetime of wellness. Physical literacy can be described as the ability to move with competence and confidence, to acquire knowledge and understanding, and to value and take responsibility for engagement in a wide variety of physical activities in multiple environments that benefit the healthy development of the whole person (Mandigo, Francis, Lodewyk & Lopez, 2012, and Whitehead, 2016).

    Research shows physical education is important to the development of the whole child and increases a lifetime of wellness. The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and the National Academy of Medicine support the belief that physical education, taught at a developmentally appropriate level, improves physical fitness and skill development, supports and improves academic achievement, reinforces self-discipline and teacher goal setting, reduces stress and increases blood flow to the brain, strengthens peer relationships, and improves self-confidence and self-esteem.

    The physical education standards are categorized into five strands that are of equal importance and value. The movement patterns and movement skills strand guides the physically literate student in the development of fundamental movement patterns, spatial and body awareness, and rhythmic activities. The performance strategies strand guides the physically literate student in using strategies in fundamental components of games, activities, and outdoor and recreational pursuits. The health, physical activity, and fitness strand encompasses health-related fitness, environmental awareness, and safety practices that guide students to a health-enhancing, physically active lifestyle. The physically literate student demonstrates skills and mechanics used during physical activity and analyzes data used during fitness performance. The physically literate student recognizes the correlation between nutrition, hydration, and physical activity. The social and emotional health strand incorporates working with others, responding to class expectations, and applying self-management skills. The lifetime wellness strand engages students in physical activity for the purposes of self-expression, enjoyment, and challenge.


    Quality physical education programs include a comprehensive curriculum, physical activity, safety policies, safe environments, qualified physical education specialists instructing the class, and student assessment and do not use physical activity as a form of punishment. Texas state law outlines state requirements that support these essential components. In accordance with state law, physical education curriculum and instruction must be sequential, developmentally appropriate, and designed to meet the needs of all students, including students with disabilities and of all physical ability levels.

    At least 50% of the physical education class must be used for actual student physical activity at a moderate or vigorous intensity level, which aligns with additional state requirements for a minimum number of minutes for moderate or vigorous physical activity in Kindergarten-Grade 8. Required student-to-teacher ratios of 45-to-1 ensure the proper supervision and safety of students in physical education classes, and school districts must identify how student safety will be maintained if that ratio is exceeded. State law also requires that school districts and charter schools annually assess the physical fitness of students in Grade 3 or higher who are enrolled in a physical education course. 

    Elementary School Physical Education  

    The district will ensure that students in full-day prekindergarten through grade five engage in moderate to vigorous physical activity for at least 30 minutes per day or 135 minutes per week.


    Middle School Physical Education

    The district will ensure that students in middle school engage in 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day for at least four semesters OR at least 225 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity within a two-week period for at least four semesters.

    Students will participate in two semesters of Physical Education in 6th grade, one semester in 7th grade and one semester in 8th grade.
    Students may substitute Physical Education in 6th grade by participating in the following courses:
    Students may substitute Physical Education in 7th and 8th grade by participating in the following courses:

    High School Physical Education

    Students are required to earn 1.0 graduation credits in Physical Education or an approved substitution.

    Up to 1.0 graduation credits can be received by participating in any of the following courses:

    Lifetime Fitness and Wellness Pursuits
    Lifetime Recreation and Outdoor Pursuits
    Skill Based Lifetime Activities

     The 1.0 physical education credit may also be earned through participation in any of the following activities:

    Drill team
    Marching band
    Off Campus PE

    All substitution activities must include at least 100 minutes per five-day school week of moderate to vigorous physical activity.
    No more than four substitution credits may be earned through any combination of substitutions listed above.
    The District must apply to the Commissioner for approval of appropriate private or commercially sponsored physical activity programs conducted on or off campus which may be substituted for state graduation credit in Physical Education.

    Physical Fitness Assessment

    Each school year, the District will assess the physical fitness of students in grade 3 or higher in a course that satisfies the curriculum requirements for Physical Education using the required fitness assessment. The assessment includes a variety of health-related physical fitness tests that assess aerobic capacity; muscular strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility; and body composition. Scores from these assessments are compared to Healthy Fitness Zone® standards to determine students' overall physical fitness and suggest areas for improvement when appropriate.

    Students are assessed by grade level:

    • Elementary: all students enrolled in grades 3-5;
    • Middle School: all students enrolled in Physical Education, Athletics, Dance, or Leadership Cadet Corps that are receiving a PE unit; and
    • High School: all students enrolled in Physical Education, Athletics, JROTC, Marching Band, Drill Team, or Cheerleading are receiving PE credit.
    • Parents may request a copy of their student's Fitness Assessment Report from their Physical Education teacher. More information about the Fitness Assessment can be found on the Interactive Health Technologies website @ https://ihtusa.com/daily-fit-log/

     Physical Education FAQ


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