Letter:  Discontinuation of PE Exemptions

Discontinuation of PE Exemptions

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September 2023

Dear Faculty, Students, and Families,

On behalf of the Office of Teaching and Learning and the Athletic Department, we would like to inform you that effective for the 2023-2024 academic school year, the Schenectady City School District will no longer offer substitutions and/or exemptions from Physical Education class for participation in extracurriculars, this includes dance and athletics.

Under Part 135.4 of the New York State Commissioner's Regulation, students grades 9-12, must participate in Physical Education taught by a certified physical education teacher and must earn a quarter credit for every semester they are enrolled in high school until the end of their eighth semester. Students are required to earn a total of two credits to graduate high school.

Physical Education is an academic subject and, as such, demands the same rigor as other subjects. Physical Education provides students with a sequential K-12 standard-based program designed to develop movement skills as well as knowledge to create and implement personal plans for physical activity and fitness. It also provides the contributing support of social-emotional learning and nutrition, leading to meaningful participation in daily activities.

Physical Education focuses on a specific course of study and incorporates standards-based instruction, student assessments, and measurable outcomes. In addition, our Physical Education programs provide students with a foundation for a lifetime of health, wellness, and social and character development.

The current Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA) federal policy, includes Physical Education and Health as part of a well-rounded education for all students. The use of waivers, substitutions and/or exemptions are not supported by research and do not provide students with learning outcomes communicated in National Standards for Physical Education or the newly revised New York State Standards for Physical Education.

All students must be a bona fide student of the high school represented and must be taking at least four subjects including Physical Education.

We thank you for your support and understanding in this matter.


Dr. Lorenda Chisolm, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning

 Dr. Carlos Cotto, Assistant Superintendent of Innovation, Equity and Engagement