Health education is a critical component of a well-rounded education. It allows students to develop health literacy, which is the ability to access, understand, appraise, apply, and advocate for health information and services to maintain or enhance the health of self or others. The goal of health education is to provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to lead healthy, productive lives.
Comprehensive health education can influence healthy behaviors of all students and promote healthy outcomes for school age youth. Improving students’ health and well-being can yield educational benefits by increasing their readiness to learn and reducing health-related issues that prevent students from living productive lives. When students are offered a well-designed, well-delivered comprehensive health education, schools can help students reduce the risk of injury, prevent disease, and promote healthy lifestyles into adulthood. Students will acquire the attitudes, knowledge, and skills necessary for making health-promoting decisions, achieving health literacy, adopting health-enhancing behaviors, and promoting the health of self and others.
The health curriculum is developed from national health education standards and the Maryland Comprehensive Framework for Health Education, and so complies with state regulations using developmentally appropriate learning outcomes to drive instruction. Data trends from the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey and partnerships with the Calvert County Health Department, Calvert Health, John’s Hopkins, and the University of Maryland School of Public Health provide relevance in developing curriculum. The curriculum addresses a comprehensive array of health topics including mental and emotional health; substance abuse prevention, first aid, safety and violence prevention, family life and human sexuality, disease prevention, and nutrition.
Calvert County Public Schools uses a skills-based approach for delivering high-quality instruction of the core concepts helping students build confidence and empower them to adopt health-enhancing behaviors and avoid risky behaviors that can result in injury, illness, disease, or premature death. Throughout the course, students will develop the following skills in relation to the core concepts:
- Analyze the influence of family, peer, culture, media, and technology.
- Access valid information, products, and services.
- Use interpersonal communication skills.
- Use decision-making skills.
- Use goal-setting.
- Use self-management skills.
- Advocate for personal, family, and community health.
Students will be engaged in a variety of developmentally appropriate learning activities that allow students to develop positive attitudes and values towards personal and community health by reinforcing skills and health-enhancing behaviors. In the health education classroom, all students are valued and welcome. It is a safe place for students to ask questions, express emotions, and learn the best ways to care for their personal well-being.
The Health curriculum includes instruction in Family Life and Human Sexuality. In grade 5, this typically takes place in February. In grades 7 and 8, this typically takes place in either the 2nd or 3rd marking period. In high school Health, this typically takes place in the last six weeks of the course, likely beginning in December and May.
Parents will receive an opt-out letter outlining what is taught in Family Life and Human Sexuality. Teachers will email this letter through Home Access Center (HAC) or place it in the student’s weekly folder at the elementary level prior to Family Life instruction. Any parent who would like to excuse their child from Family Life and Human Sexuality topics should return the letter to the teacher. We encourage parents with questions to speak with the teacher to further understand what is being taught and to determine if there are specific elements in which they would like their child to participate. Students who are excused from Family Life learning objectives will receive appropriate alternative learning in health education outside of the health classroom.