The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Update on the Review and Revision of the 1999 Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework

To:Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:Jeffrey C. Riley, Commissioner
Date:June 14, 2019

This memorandum updates the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board) on the progress of the review and revision of the 1999 Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework (CHCF).

In the past two decades, research, and teaching and learning in the fields of health education and physical education, have changed significantly with our changing society and world. In recent years, for example, we have seen a heightened focus on developing students' social and emotional competencies as a key factor in their academic and overall success. Moreover, vaping has emerged as a significant issue, student mental health concerns are prevalent, and there has been a strong focus in our Commonwealth on ensuring the safety and dignity of all students, including increasing support for students who are transgender. Students need skills to navigate ever-changing influences on their health and wellbeing. Massachusetts health educators and physical educators need an updated framework to guide their practice to help students to be physically, emotionally, and mentally ready for college and careers, and prepared for civic life.

The goals of the review and revision process include:

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department) is conducting the review process in three phases:

  1. Outreach and Planning (June 2018 – November 2018)
  2. Review, Revision, and Board Action (December 2018 – Winter 2020)
  3. Revised Framework Initial Implementation (Spring 2020 – Summer 2021)

Outreach and Planning (June 2018 – November 2018)

The Department engaged with over 50 key stakeholders during the outreach and planning phase of the revision process, through one-on-one interviews and focus groups. The outreach effort sought broad representation across many factors including: location (geographic and rural/suburban/urban), race/ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identification, and disciplines/professions. Trends that emerged from this outreach to administrators, educators, and other key stakeholders helped to inform the scope and goals of the CHCF review and revision process. In addition, staff reviewed current research and other state and national frameworks for health, physical education, sexuality education, and social and emotional learning.

During the fall 2018, the Department began recruiting the revision panel. Information was posted to the Department's webpage, shared via the Weekly Update sent to all school administrators and many others, and emailed to several hundred individuals. In addition, the Department sought help from various associations and organizations to share the panel application with their networks. The Department received nearly 85 applications, and selected nearly 50 panelists who bring significant knowledge and expertise in the many areas of comprehensive health education. The panel has broad representation from various geographic regions, types of schools and districts, professional roles, professional and community-based organizations, and more. A full list of panel members and their affiliations is attached.

Review, Revision, and Board Action (December 2018 – Winter 2020)

Review and Revision (December 2018 – Fall 2019)
The panel was charged with providing input and feedback on the various components of the framework, particularly the learning standards that outline what students should know and be able to do related to comprehensive health.

Panelists participated in six full-day meetings, roughly once per month, between December 2018 and June 2019. Meetings included presentations on social and emotional learning, gender and gender identity, and racial equity. Over the course of the meetings, staff shared a proposed structure for the standards as well as drafts of standards and of supporting materials (including a vision statement and guiding principles) for the panel to provide input and feedback. The panel's feedback was compiled and informed subsequent drafts.

During the summer 2019, to further inform the draft that will be presented to the Board, the Department plans to seek additional feedback from content advisors and other key stakeholders, as needed. These people may include experts within particular topic areas, colleagues from other state agencies that focus on public health and mental health, and councils such as the State Student Advisory Council and the Parent and Community Education and Involvement Advisory Council to the Board.

Board Action to Solicit Public Comment and Approval of a Revised Framework (Approximately Fall 2019 – Winter 2020)
With the input of the panel, the content advisors and the additional key stakeholders, the Department will refine the draft revised CHCF and prepare a detailed overview of the draft for the Board. I plan to present the draft to the Board for initial discussion and a vote to solicit public comment in fall 2019. Department staff will continue to engage stakeholders and solicit feedback during the public comment period. Staff will review all comments, make any further necessary revisions, and prepare a final version of the CHCF for the Board to discuss and vote on during winter 2019-2020 (winter 2020).

Revised Framework Initial Implementation (Approximately Spring 2020 – Summer 2021)

After the Board approves a revised framework, the Department will engage with the field on communication and professional development efforts, to help educators implement the updated standards effectively. Planning for this phase will take place in the coming months, and more details will be available in the fall.

Next Steps

At the June 25, 2019 Board meeting, brief highlights about the review process will be presented by Kristen McKinnon, Assistant Director of Student and Family Support. She will be joined by Rachelle Engler Bennett, Associate Commissioner, Student and Family Support.


Download Word Document
List of Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework Review Panelists
Download PowerPoint File
Revision of the 1999 Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework PowerPoint