SBOE Unanimously Approves New Health Education Standards

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

(Washington, DC) – The DC State Board of Education (SBOE) approved new innovative health education standards at its public meeting today. These standards cover grades K-12 and will go into effect for the 2016-17 school year. 

The newly revised standards provide a more skills-based model for student learning. Students will develop tools to make healthy choices, and to advocate for themselves and their communities. These new standards focus on six critical categories: mental and emotional health; safety skills; human body and personal health; disease prevention; nutrition; alcohol tobacco and other drugs. 

“These standards can make a real difference in the lives of our students,” said Jack Jacobson, Ward 2 Member and President of the SBOE. “From bullying to addiction, sexual health to depression, the new standards will provide students with the skills they need to be healthy for the rest of their lives.” 

The SBOE last updated the District’s health standards in 2007 as one of its first official actions after its creation. These standards were modeled largely on the National Health Education Standards. However, data from the DC Youth Risk Behavior Survey demonstrates a need for revised standards that fit the needs of an urban community, especially in areas such as nutrition, mental and emotional health, violence and safety, and sexual health. 

The revised standards are the product of two years of diligent work by the SBOE, Office of the State Superintendent for Education, and numerous members of the District community. OSSE and SBOE solicited input and feedback from teachers, students, practitioners, and others to develop comprehensive standards that meets the needs of our students. 

Each health education category is also broken into several important strands for student learning, such as: health promotion, analyzing influences, accessing information, communication, decision-making, goal setting, healthy behaviors, and advocacy. 

The State Board of Education provides policy leadership, support, advocacy, and oversight of public education to ensure that every student is valued and learns the skills and knowledge necessary to become informed, competent, and contributing global citizens. More information about the SBOE can be found at