WEST virginia legislature
2020 regular session
Senate Bill 702
Senators Rucker and Maroney, original sponsors
[Originating in the Committee on Education; reported on February 12, 2020]
A BILL to amend and reenact §18-2-7a of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; and to amend said code by adding thereto a new section, designated §18-2-7e, all relating to designating the specific grade levels to which the specified physical education requirements are applicable; allowing a school district to develop or adopt a program in which the subject of nutrition and exercise education is taught instead of the program required to be prescribed by the state board; setting forth requirements for program developed or adopted; allowing school districts to apply for funding to support the implementation of the program; creating the Nutrition and Exercise Education Fund from which moneys are to be awarded on a competitive basis to eligible school districts; requiring the Department of Education to annually submit a report to the Governor and the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability; allowing a school district to make available to schools within the district a program in which the subject of nutrient and exercise education is taught; setting forth requirements applicable to the program; allowing school districts utilizing the program to be eligible to apply for funding from the Nutrition and Exercise Education Fund; setting forth requirements applicable to each school in a school district electing to participate in the program; allowing school districts to issue a request for proposals to contract with qualified service providers on a per-student rate to provide certain programs and/or products; setting forth certain criteria that providers of programs and products must meet to be considered by school districts; and setting forth required program accountability measures.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
ARTICLE 2. STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION.
§18-2-7a. Legislative findings; required physical education; program in physical fitness.
(a) The Legislature hereby finds that obesity is a problem of epidemic proportions in this state. There is increasing evidence that all segments of the population, beginning with children, are becoming more sedentary, more overweight, and more likely to develop health risks and diseases, including Type II Diabetes, high blood cholesterol, and high blood pressure. The Legislature further finds that the promotion of physical activity during the school day for school children is a crucial step in combating this growing epidemic and in changing the attitudes and behavior of the residents of this state toward health-promoting physical activity.
(b) As a result of these findings, the State Department of Education shall establish the requirement that each child enrolled in the public schools of this state actively participates in physical education classes during the school year to the level of his or her ability as follows:
grades Kindergarten to and including grade five. — Not less than
30 minutes of physical education, including physical exercise and age-appropriate
physical activities, for not less than three days a week.
grades Grade six to and including grade eight. — Not less than
one full period of physical education, including physical exercise and
age-appropriate physical activities, each school day of one semester of the
grades Grade nine to and including grade 12. — Not less than one
full course credit of physical education, including physical exercise and
age-appropriate physical activities, which shall be required for graduation,
and the opportunity to enroll in an elective lifetime physical education
(c) Enrollment in physical education classes and activities required by the provisions of this section shall not exceed, and shall be consistent with, state guidelines for enrollment in all other subjects and classes: Provided, That schools which do not currently have the number of certified physical education teachers, do not currently have the required physical setting, or would have to significantly alter academic offerings to meet the physical education requirements may develop alternate programs that will enable current staff, physical settings, and offerings to be used to meet the physical education requirements established herein. These alternate programs shall be submitted to the State Department of Education and the Healthy Lifestyle Council for approval. Those schools needing to develop alternate programs shall not be required to implement this program until the school year commencing two thousand six
(d) The state board shall prescribe a program within the existing health and physical education program which incorporates fitness testing, reporting, recognition, fitness events, and incentive programs which requires the participation in grades four through eight and the required high school course, subject to the following:
(1) The program shall be selected from nationally
accepted fitness testing programs designed for school-aged children that test
cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, and endurance, flexibility and body
composition; Provided, That
(2) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit the use of programs designed under the auspices of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports;
(3) The program shall include modified tests for exceptional students;
(4) Each school in the state shall participate in National Physical Fitness and Sports Month in May of each year and shall make every effort to involve the community it serves in the related events; and
(5) Instead of the program required above to be prescribed by the state board and except for the requirements set forth in subdivision (4) of this subsection, a school district may develop or adopt a program, including, but not limited to, the optional physical fitness program set forth in §18-2-7e of this code, in which the subject of nutrition and exercise education is taught and focuses on the importance of increasing awareness as to how nutrition and exercise prevent childhood obesity and its secondary diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, asthma, certain cancers, low-self-esteem, and depression. Such program shall include pre- and post-testing for purposes of accountability and measuring improvement in the subjects targeted by the program, must be at least eight weeks long, and must include instruction on the applicable wellness standards in accordance with state board policy. School districts may apply for funding administered by the state board pursuant to the provisions of subsection (e) of this section to support the implementation of a program pursuant to this subdivision.
(e) The state board shall promulgate a rule in accordance with the provisions §29A-3B-1 et seq. of this code that includes at least the following provisions to provide for the collection, reporting, and use of body mass index data in the public schools:
(1) The data shall be collected using the appropriate methodology for assessing the body mass index from student height and weight data;
(2) The data shall be collected on a scientifically drawn sample of students;
(3) The data shall be collected and reported in a manner that protects student confidentiality;
(4) The data shall be reported to the Department of Education; and
(5) All body mass index data shall be reported in aggregate to the Governor, the State Board of Education, the Healthy Lifestyles Coalition, and the Legislative Oversight Commission on Health and Human Resources Accountability for use as an indicator of progress toward promoting healthy lifestyles among school-aged children.
(f) The Nutrition and Exercise Education Fund is hereby created in the State Treasury as a special revenue account. Moneys in the fund shall be awarded on a competitive basis to school districts eligible to receive such funding pursuant to this section or §18-2-7e of this code. The fund may consist of all appropriations by the Legislature for the fund; any gifts, grants, or contributions received for the fund; and all interest or other income earned from investment of the fund. Any funds remaining in the fund at the close of the fiscal year are carried forward for use in the next fiscal year. Nothing in this section requires any specific level of funding by the Legislature, nor guarantees or entitles any person or entity to any benefit or grant of funds. The state board shall adopt guidelines for administration of the fund.
(g) Annually, the Department of Education shall submit to the Governor and the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability a report that summarizes awards made from the Nutrition and Exercise Education Fund and the reported accountability measures of school districts receiving a grant award from the fund.
§18-2-7e. Optional physical fitness program.
(a) A school district may make available to schools within the district a program in which the subject of nutrient and exercise education is taught and focuses on the importance of increasing awareness as to how nutrition and exercise prevent childhood obesity and its secondary diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, asthma, certain cancers, low-self-esteem, and depression. School districts utilizing such a program are eligible to apply for funding under the provisions of §18-2-7a(e) of this code.
(b) The program shall include a provision for evidence-based nutrient and structured exercise education for all teachers and children in grades three through six. The education for teachers shall include all classroom teachers, including physical education teachers and teachers teaching health. The program shall be at least eight weeks long and shall include the provision of all third through sixth grade teachers and students with complete access to turn-key, evidence-based nutrient and structured exercise education to implement in the classroom, during school, before school, after school, and/or at home with the family. The structured exercise education may be in the form of book, DVD, CD, online, or another form of technology.
(c) Each school in a school district electing to participate in the program created by this section shall ensure the following:
(1) Time is allowed during the school day for the classroom, physical education, and/or health education teaching personnel to provide students with up to 30 minutes of structured exercise pursuant to the physical activity requirements in §18-2-7a of this code and state board policy;
(2) Time is allowed during the school day for the classroom, physical education, and/or health education teaching personnel to provide students nutrient education pursuant to state board policy;
(3) Time is allowed during the school day for the classroom, physical, and/or health education teaching personnel to provide both students and the teacher with time to fill out a daily journal to track information relating to any of the following: Food, nutrient, exercise, and physical activity. The nutrient information may include information such as the amounts of water, carbohydrates, protein, fat, minerals, and vitamins consumed; and
(4) All data that is necessary to comply with the accountability measures set forth in subsection (e) of this section is provided to the Department of Education and its service providers. Data collected pursuant to this program is subject to state and federal data privacy laws to protect the privacy and confidentiality of individual students and not subject to disclosure under the West Virginia Freedom of Information Act set forth in §29B-1-1 et seq. of this code.
(d) School districts may issue a request for proposals to contract with qualified service providers on a per-student rate to provide evidence-based childhood obesity prevention programs and/or products consisting of nutrient education, structured exercise, use of technology, and associated licenses for teachers and students in grades three through six in school districts electing to participate in the program provided for under this section. School districts may consider all providers of programs and products that meet the following criteria:
(1) The provider has operated for 10 or more years in schools serving primarily underserved, low-income students; and
(2) The provider has at least 10 years of empirical research data demonstrating improvement in students’ strength endurance, such as through push-ups and sit-ups, heart health measurements, such as blood pressure and resting heart rate, and nutrient knowledge.
(e) Programs implemented pursuant to this section shall include the following accountability measures:
(1) Annually, school districts implementing a program pursuant to this section shall report accountability measures in the aggregate to the Department of Education, which shall make such reports available to the general public.
(2) At a minimum, reports submitted to the Department of Education shall include aggregated student pre- and post-testing data in the areas of:
(A) Nutrition and fitness knowledge;
(B) Strength endurance using such measures as push-ups and sit-ups;
(C) Heart health using such measures as blood pressure and heart rate; and
(3) The pre-testing required by subdivision (2) of this subsection shall occur prior to the beginning of the nutrient and structured exercise instruction each school year, and the post-testing shall occur each school year near or after the conclusion of the instruction.