Enhanced Physical Education (P.E.) Strategic Plan
The Enhanced Physical Education (P.E.) Strategic Plan provides a high-level roadmap for implementing the vision that all Illinois K-12 students will participate in daily, high-quality physical education. Enhanced P.E. correlates directly to the health and well-being of students for the rest of their lives and has cognitive benefits, too, making students more receptive to learning. There is a significant body of research showing that children who are more physically active perform better in class and on standardized tests. Improving opportunities for physical activity is an imperative for improving our children’s academic achievement and their health.
Illinois has long been a leader in valuing children’s health. Although many states require P.E., Illinois was the first state in the nation to require daily P.E. for all students. Many schools have designed or adopted model programs to meet this requirement and create opportunities for physical activity. Unfortunately, physical activity times in P.E. classes are consistently low. In a typical 30-minute (K-6 grade) class, students engage in only 11 minutes of physical activity. Thus, a tradition¬al P.E. class contributes very little to ensuring students are meeting the 60 minutes per day of exercise recommended in the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
In order to make rapid and significant progress toward implementing enhanced P.E. programs and improved physical activity and wellness in Illinois schools, the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the Illinois Public Health Institute produced this Strategic Plan, with input from the Enhanced P.E. Task Force. This plan identifies three partners as most able to effect change and make enhanced P.E. in all Illinois schools a reality: school boards, superintendents, and principals. The Strategic Plan identifies ways that each of these three partners can be leaders in this effort, as well as corresponding community-level implementation strategies.
To achieve the full potential of this plan, a broad range of stakeholders must use it to help guide their work. Strategies discussed in this document should be undertaken by members of the Enhanced P.E. Task Force, dedicated teachers, school administrators, school boards, public health advocates, community leaders, and organizations throughout Illinois who strive to improve the lives of children every day.