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Physical Education / Physical Activity

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“Exercise and recreation are as necessary as reading.” 

-Thomas Jefferson

The Portland Board of Public Education has recently passed a package of wellness-related policies to improve physical activity and nutrition in our schools.  These policies, listed at the bottom of this page, establish the following changes to improve daily physical activity among students:

  • Require minimum of 30 minutes of daily physical activity opportunities for elementary schools
  • Denying recess is no longer a permissable form of discipline for students
  • Prohibits denial of recess for remediation or enrichment
  • Sets guidelins and procedures for safe walking and biking to school

Physical Education in Our Schools

Physical Education provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to perform a variety of physical activities, to maintain physical fitness, and to value as well as enjoy physical activity as an ongoing part of a healthy lifestyle. A comprehensive physical education program includes moderate to vigorous physical activity on a daily basis.

Every  Portland Public School has a Physical Education program.  At high school, students are required to complete one credit of physical education for graduation.  At middle and elementary schools, students participate in regular Physical Education classes.  Curriculum and assessment are currently a site based model, but the district is working towards a unified framework.

Physical Activity in Our Schools

Physical activity is considered opportunities to be moderate to vigorously physically active.  In addition to Physical Education courses, opportunities to be physically active are available for voluntary participation during the school day, as well as before and after school.  Regular physical activity is linked to enhanced health and reduced risk for the development of many chronic diseases in adults.  Children and adolescents should do 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day.

There are many opportunities for students to be physically active before, during, and after school.  School playgrounds and other facilities are available for public use outside the school day.  Many teachers implement activities that encourage movement as part of learning.  We also have many athletic, intramural, and club opportunities for students to be physically active.  

Currently, PPS projects to encourage physical activity in schools include:

  • Portland Walkways - a project in partnership with Healthy Portland under the CPPW grant, a walking route has been idenitified and promotion signage installed for all Portland Elementary schools.
  • Physical Activity Videos - another project in partnership with Healthy Portland under the CPPW grant, short web-based physical activity videos were filmed with the Red Claws, Pirates, and the PATHS Dance Program.  Videos can be accessed at any time from the distirct's TV3 on demmand web site.
  • Safe Routes to School - a project in partnership with Healthy Portland, Bicycle Coalition of Maine, Safe Routes to School, Portland Trails, GPCOG, and the City of Portland, working on developing school travel plans for each school in the district.
  • 5210 - a project in partnership with Healthy Portland and Let's Go!, spreading the message that we should all get one hour of daily physical activity.