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Physical Education Block Schedule Waiver Guide

A guide to support local educational agencies during the waiver application process.

Background

California Education Code (EC) requires physical education (PE) instruction for all students on a regular and consistent basis: 400 minutes each 10 school days. An exception is the daily alternating block schedule, often referred to as the A/B Block Schedule. Although the majority of block schedules are at the secondary level, some middle schools also use this scheduling.

The State Board of Education (SBE) adopted the waiver policy in July 1984 (amended February 1990 and June 1999) to allow local educational agencies (LEAs) to seek flexibility in these requirements to accommodate block schedules when necessary. SBE Policy Number 99-03 created criteria for the consideration and granting of waiver requests of the PE requirements, which are found in the policy itself. The intent of the policy is to ensure that students engage in consistent physical activity as required by statute, despite the fact that their school schedule does not allow for that activity in an instructional setting.

To determine whether you should apply for a PE Block Schedule Waiver, please visit the California Department of Education (CDE) PE Frequently Asked Questions web page.

For more information regarding the PE Block Schedule Waiver Policy, please visit the CDE Waiver Policies web page.

Steps to Apply for a Block Schedule Waiver

  • The PE Block Schedule Waiver application must be completed in one sitting. The system does not allow the applicant to save, leave, and/or return to the online entry. Applicants are encouraged to use the resources below to prepare to submit the online application.
    • The application requires the applicant to enter a start date for implementation of the waiver. Keep in mind that it takes 10 to 12 weeks to process and analyze waivers. Please review the waiver calendars on the CDE Waiver Policies web page to determine the appropriate start date.
    • The CDE Submit a Waiver Request web page includes helpful information regarding instructions, data elements for completing waivers, and attachments.
  • Submit your prepared application online to the CDE Waiver Office on the Waiver Request System web page.
    • You must be a registered user in order to submit a waiver request. If you are not registered, you can do so by clicking “New Registration” at the bottom of the Waiver Request System web page.

If you have any questions regarding the PE Block Schedule Waiver online application process, please contact the CDE Waiver Office, by phone at 916-319-0824 or by email at Waiver@cde.ca.gov.

Block Schedule Waiver Narrative Checklist

Once the PE Block Schedule Waiver application has been submitted online to the CDE Waiver Office, the school district will be required to complete the Waiver Narrative Checklist.

  1. After you have completed the online submission portion, download and complete the PE Waiver Narrative Checklist (PDF).
  2. Submit the PE Waiver Narrative Checklist and any supplemental attachments to the Standards Implementation Support Office at STEM@cde.ca.gov. Microsoft Word and PDF documents are the only formats accepted for this submission. The Consultant will review your submission and provide technical assistance on the application process from that point forward.

If you have any questions regarding the Waiver Narrative Checklist submission process, please contact the Standards Implementation Support Office, by phone at 916-323-5847 or by email at STEM@cde.ca.gov.

Other Key Elements of the Waiver Process for Block Schedules

CDE will provide technical assistance to schools that apply for and receive a waiver.

A school granted a waiver of EC Section 51222(a) in order to implement a block schedule shall be selected to be monitored each cycle as a part of the district’s Federal Program Monitoring (FPM) process. This shall only occur when the district has been identified for an FPM visit by the CDE.

CDE staff will review California Physical Fitness Test data for school(s) who request a waiver, initially and on request for renewal of the waiver, to determine improvement or, at minimum, maintenance of student’s levels of health-related fitness.

The SBE shall grant waivers of this type for two years less one day, which will require the district to reapply for the waiver every two years. In addition to the above, renewal will require an evaluation of the extent to which the needs of students are being met by the PE Program in place at that school(s).

In summary, waivers must meet strict EC criteria in order to be recommended for approval by the CDE. The intent of the waiver is to offer flexibility to schools, but still maintain the requirements of providing content-based PE programs to ensure that pupils attain the knowledge, skills, and confidence to successfully maintain an active lifestyle, now and for the future.

Permanent Block Schedule Waiver Application

  • The LEA will follow the same process for both the online application and the Waiver Narrative Checklist request and submittal.
  • On the checklist, highlight any changes to each of the block schedule criteria that have occurred since the Temporary PE Block Schedule Waiver was granted. For example, under criteria three, the bell schedule and the district instructional calendar may have changed.
  • Provide all updated documents for each criterion.
  • Provide a summary that includes the following:
  • A description of how the PE block schedule was monitored
  • What worked well and what changes were made, if any
  • A description of how the success of the program was determined, including any documents and data as supporting evidence

If you have any questions regarding Permanent PE Block Schedule Waivers, please contact the Standards Implementation Support Office, by phone at 916-323-5847 or by email at STEM@cde.ca.gov.

Questions: Professional Learning Support & Monitoring Office | plsmo@cde.ca.gov | 916-323-5847 
Last Reviewed: Thursday, June 3, 2021