Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD) was one of 40 districts selected to apply for funding for the new curriculum from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It was a combination of local money and funding from the CDC that made the new curriculum possible.
Georgi Roberts, Director of Health and Physical Education for FWISD, said the district made the new health curriculum a priority.
“It’s difficult for individual schools to do much because it’s not a priority,” Roberts said. “But Fort Worth stood up and matched the funding to allow us to do this.”
Health class curriculum had not been updated in FWISD since 2005.
The new curriculum is part of a comprehensive course, including units on mental health, drugs and alcohol, violence and injury prevention, nutrition and human sexuality. Teaching everything that encompasses heath, including both physical and mental health, is the goal.
Based on Texas state and national health standards, the new curriculum is contemporary, accurate and skill based.
“We’re hoping with this new curriculum we will be creating a generation of young adults who will not only have the personal skills, but will have the team approach,” Roberts said.
She said students are taught to think and write answers to scenarios instead of answering a multiple choice question when learning to apply the skills.
Health class is taught in 6th grade and then at a higher level in 9th grade. The change in curriculum was implemented in 9th grade last year.
Designated health teachers will implement the new curriculum into the 6th grade course later this school year.
Gilbert Cabrera, physical education and health teacher at McLean, said the new curriculum will be more effective in preparing students than the old curriculum. Cabrera said already in 9th grade he has heard that there has been a positive response to the change.
“Kids are grasping the concepts it’s working really well for them. Kids are engaged and they like what they are doing,” Cabrera said.