Health Education Requirements

All students must take Health Education. This includes HIV/AIDS lessons, every year. It’s part of NY State law. The State also sets the learning standards for Health Education.

Resources

Learning Standards

As in any subject, NY State sets learning standards at each grade level. They describe:

  • what students should know
  • what they should be able to do

Requirements

NY State law also sets health education requirements for all students in grades K-12. They determine:

  • the amount of time per semester students must have Health Education
  • the number of HIV/AIDS lessons students must have per year
  • who can teach Health Education
  • what the curriculum includes

New York City law requires that middle and high school students have sexual health education lessons as part of their Health Education classes.

Time

Elementary School

Students in grades:

  • Kindergarten through five must have health instruction every year. There is no specific time requirement.
  • Kindergarten through six must have five HIV/AIDS lessons per year.

Middle School

Middle school students must have Health Education every day for one semester. The health instruction time must add up to 54 hours.

HIV/AIDS Lessons

  • Grade 6 students must have five HIV/AIDS lessons per year.
  • 7 – 8 must have six HIV/AIDS lessons per year.

High School

High school students must have Health Education every day for one semester. The health instruction time must add up to 54 hours.

  • All high school students must earn the equivalent of one credit in Health Education to graduate.

HIV/AIDS Lessons

  • All high school students must have six HIV/AIDS lessons per year.

Teachers

For all grades, certified health education teachers are the most qualified to teach Health Education. A certified teacher has completed the education and training that NY State law requires.

Elementary School

Certified health education teachers or classroom teachers may provide Health Education instruction.

Middle School and High School

Health Education must be taught by a certified health education teacher. In some cases, schools may allow a teacher who does not have a health education certificate to teach one health class.

Curriculum

The Health Education curriculum must follow NY State and City standards. We recommend a curriculum that helps students learn:

  • social and emotional skills, including how to prevent bullying.
  • about their growth, their development, and their identity.
  • how to stay healthy and fit, both physically and mentally.
  • how to create a safe and healthy environment.
  • about their personal health and safety, including how to find the health services and information they need.
  • how to prevent disease and illness, including HIV/AIDS.
  • how to avoid health risks like alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.

We encourage you to speak with your child’s health education teacher or the principal to learn more about the health education curriculum.

For more information about Health Education requirements, email healthed@schools.nyc.gov.

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