Physical Education

Physical education (PE) is a required academic subject that teaches students how to be physically active. In PE, students learn to work as a team, develop healthy personal fitness habits, and set fitness goals now and throughout their lives. PE is not recess, or a before- or after-school sports club.

PE is:

  • A regular class scheduled during the school day
  • Taught by a certified, licensed DOE teacher
  • Based on a curriculum, with established learning standards
  • Instruction on a wide range of skills, not just sports

Under NY State law, all students in grades kindergarten–12, including students with disabilities, must have Physical Education (PE) as part of their education.

Summary of Requirements

You can find complete requirements and information about the curriculum for each grade level on the Physical Education Requirements page.

Elementary School

  • Students must participate in PE throughout elementary school.
  • Grade Kindergarten-six students must participate in PE for at least 120 minutes per week.
    • Kindergarten- grade three students must participate every day.
    • Grade four-six students must participate at least three times per week.

Middle School

Middle school students must participate in PE every semester throughout middle school, 90 minutes per week.

High School

  • High school students must participate in PE throughout high school.
  • All high school students must earn four credits in PE in order to graduate.
  • Students must attend and participate for at least 180 minutes per week for seven semesters, or 90 minutes per week for eight semesters

PE and Learning

Research shows that:

  • Daily physical activity and PE can improve academic achievement.
  • Students who are physically fit do better on tests.
  • Physically active students have better attention spans, classroom behavior, and attendance.
  • PE can improve the school climate.

PE at Your School

On the InfoHub Physical Education Reporting page, you can find information about your school's PE programs last year, such as:

  • how often PE was provided per week
  • the number of certified PE teachers
  • physical education space
  • other PE programs

Students with Disabilities: Adapted PE

The federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act entitles all students with disabilities to receive free, appropriate Physical Education. This is called Adapted Physical Education. In Adapted Physical Education (APE), students with disabilities or medical conditions participate in specially designed activities, games, and sports. Adapted Physical Education teachers modify and/or change physical activities so they are as appropriate for the person with a disability as they are for a person without a disability. By law, only a certified Physical Education teacher may provide Adapted Physical Education. You can ask your child’s school to evaluate your child for APE.

For questions and more information, email APE@schools.nyc.gov.

NYC FITNESSGRAM

NYC FITNESSGRAM is an annual fitness assessment for students in grades kindergarten-twelve that helps students and their families develop personal goals for lifelong fitness. Students complete the assessments in Physical Education class. NYC FITNESSGRAM is not a graded test, and the results are confidential.

You can view your child’s NYC FITNESSGRAM results and more information about NYC FITNESSGRAM on your NYC Schools Account:

You can also ask your child’s PE teacher to print out your child’s report. PE teachers can help you understand:

  • How the test was administered;
  • What the results mean;
  • How your student can make a personal plan for staying healthy and fit.

Contact the Parent Coordinator at your school for help reaching your child’s PE teacher. You may also want to share your child’s NYC FITNESSGRAM report with your health care provider. The NYC FITNESSGRAM reports can help start conversations about eating habits and levels of physical activity needed for good health.

What is on the NYC FITNESSGRAM assessment?

  • Grades K-3: Students are measured for height and weight only.
  • Grades 4-12: Students are measured for height and weight, and complete five fitness activities that assess strength, endurance, flexibility, and aerobic capacity.

Contacts

We encourage elementary schools to use a free program called Move-to-Improve to get students out of their seats and moving more during the school day. Research shows that:

  • Physically active students do better in school
  • Daily physical activity can help students focus and behave better in class
  • Physical activity helps students to be healthy

Move-to-Improve

We encourage elementary schools to use a free program called Move-to-Improve to get students out of their seats and moving more during the school day. Research shows that:

  • Physically active students do better in school
  • Daily physical activity can help students focus and behave better in class
  • Physical activity helps students to be healthy

How Does Move-to-Improve Work?

Elementary school teachers use Move-to-Improve to add short movement breaks into their classroom lessons. During a math lesson, students might do an aerobic activity to compare two numbers. During an English Language Arts lesson, they might practice yoga movements to identify certain words. Any kindergarten-grade five student can participate in Move-to-Improve activities, no matter what their physical ability.

The Move-to-Improve activities build on what students learn in physical education and in their other subjects. Teachers must receive training to use Move-to-Improve with their students.

You can email MTI@schools.nyc.gov to learn more about making Move-to-Improve a regular part of your child’s school.

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