Brown students playing during recess


Health and Physical Education

Being physically fit and healthy has a direct effect on the social, emotional, and mental well-being of a child. The Health and Physical Education Department provides students with 21st century Health and Physical Education that encompasses contemporary concepts and rich experiences in a collaborative environment. 

Along with a strong core health and physical education curriculum, we also offer additional programming to support the physical and social-emotional wellness of our students, including:

  • Adventure Education Programming: Hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, snowshoeing, and ropes courses funded by The Cummings Foundation. These courses focus on teamwork, persistence, and resilience.

  • BOKS (Build Our Kids' Success): A before school physical activity program at several district K-8 schools for students in kindergarten to 5th grade, but tailored to specific school needs.
  • Nutrition Education Programming: Offered by UMass Extension

Supervisor of Health & Physical Education: TBD


K-8 Curriculum

Somerville Public Schools offer 40 minutes of physical education in grades K-8 weekly. Instruction is aligned with the Massachusetts Curriculum Standards and Federal Curriculum Standards for physical health and includes SPARK, a research-based physical activity curriculum. 

  • K-2 physical education is focused on large muscle development and movement, orientation in general and personal space, body management, spatial awareness, movement concepts, and group cooperation. Units address catching, throwing, balance, stunts and tumbling, dance, manipulatives, jumping, dribbling, volley and striking, kicking and trapping, and games.

  • 2 pedestrian safety training.

  • 3-6 physical education is focused on skill development and fitness through practice games. Units include fitness activities, aerobic games, chasing and fleeing, jump rope, basketball, dance, cooperatives, flying disc, football, hockey, soccer, softball, and volleyball. Skills are developed through practice and games. Learning develops through teamwork and cooperation.

  • 3 district swim program. Every 3rd grade student in the district will receive free swim instruction during the school day for several weeks. The district provides transportation to the Kennedy School and the student's teacher will communicate with parents and guardians about scheduling and packing a swim bag (Permission slip and swim bag information). Visit the Kennedy Swimming Pool webpage to learn about low-cost swimming lessons available on Saturdays and weekdays.

  • 4 & 5 Bicycle Safety Every 4th and 5th grader attends a bicycle safety assembly in partnership with Shape Up Somerville and Safe Routes to School MA.

  • 4-5 Health classes learn substance abuse prevention and personal health through Health Smart.

  • 6-8 Health classes follow Get Real for sexual health education and Life Skills for substance abuse prevention.

  • 7-8 physical education focuses on fitness, team, and individual activity. Units include basketball, cooperatives, dance, flying disc, football, golf, handball, hockey, jump rope, racquets and paddles, soccer, softball, track and field, volleyball, and world games. Emphasis is placed on non-competitive activities, problem-solving, trust, cooperation, and teamwork.

  • K-8 Nutrition Education taught in partnership with UMass Extension Family Nutrition Program at all schools except the Brown and Kennedy.

High School Curriculum

Somerville High School offers a comprehensive health and physical education program. Freshmen and juniors are required to take course offerings in Health, while sophomores and seniors are required to take physical education courses. Each high school course lasts one semester and meets 4 times per week for 55 minute periods.

  • Freshmen and Juniors take Health 1, Health 2, Fashion, Child Study, and Shape Up Nutrition.

  • Sophomores and Seniors take Team Sports, Competitive Sports, Introduction to Dance, Introduction to Weight Training, Lifetime Activities, Non-Competitive Activities, Fitness Education and Sports Medicine.

  • High School students also have the option to join the Dance Club or Badminton / Ping Pong Club.

  • High School students are encouraged to take advantage of the fitness room open hours every day before and after school.

Social Competency

Teaching socio-emotional skills promotes good development, a peaceful classroom, increases academic acheivement and improves future success. All PreKindergarten to 8 classrooms are adopting the Second Step program, with classroom teachers providing direct instruction in socio-emotional skills. Additionally, some schools like the Winter Hill Community Innovation School supplement with the Responsive Classroom program.

Healthy Choices: Alcohol, Drug, and Violence Prevention

The Somerville Public Schools are committed to maintaining a safe and secure learning environment in order to maximize student learning. We support students effectively communicating their needs, interests, and opinions, making healthy choices and respecting the needs, interests, and opinions of others