240643 Los Angeles Unified School District Physical Education Policy: Assessment, Implementation & Impact

Monday, October 31, 2011

Mariah Lafleur, MPH , Samuels & Associates, Oakland, CA
Sarah Samuels, DrPH , Samuels & Associates, Oakland, CA
Robert Garcia, JD , The City Project, Los Angeles, CA
Brian Cole, DrPH , Department of Health Services, UCLA School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Sally Bullock, MPH , Samuels & Associates, Oakland, CA
Seth Strongin, MS , The City Project, Los Angeles, CA
This study assesses implementation of a district policy to improve physical education in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). LAUSD serves 670,000 students, four-fifths of whom are Latino or African-American and three-quarters qualify for free-/reduced price meals. Formally adopted in the fall 2009 as a result of a community campaign to address inequities across the district, the plan aims to enforce existing requirements for minimum minutes of PE, PE content, class size caps, and teacher credentialing.

A stratified random sample of 35 LAUSD schools (elementary, middle, and high) was drawn from the highest and lowest quintiles of schools based on percentage of students eligible for free-/reduced price meals (FRPM). Eighteen control schools with similar FRPM rates were randomly selected from other nearby districts. Primary data were collected using 1) the System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time (SOFIT) to determine amount of class time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), 2) direct observation of PE class length, content and size, and 3) interviews with school personnel documenting PE curriculum used, frequency of classes, teacher credentials and awareness of the implementation plan.

Analysis of outcomes compares LAUSD schools with controls, as well as high and low income schools. Preliminary results reveal that LAUSD schools are implementing PE requirements to varying degrees. This study provides much-needed evidence as to whether school districts can successfully implement a policy that positively impacts the provision of PE and improve the health and physical fitness of students.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
•Describe the methods for evaluating the impact of the PE Policy Implementation Plan •Analyze preliminary evaluation results and discuss the impact of the Implementation Plan. •Discuss and explain the benefits and challenges of using the method of a district-wide policy to improve physical education and ultimately students’ health and fitness.

Keywords: Policy/Policy Development, Physical Activity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I evaluate and organize programs to increase physical activity and healthy eating among underserved populations.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.