Maryland Board of Education Increases Health Credit Requirement

In May 2021, the Maryland Board of Education (BOE) voted to increase the health credit requirement from one semester to a full year of health education. For decades the health credit requirement in Maryland has been completed in an 18-week semester in 10th grade. This new requirement began this year, with the class of 2025 and will continue to all graduating classes in the future.

“Health is one subject where you should leave highschool knowing it,” health and yoga teacher Katie Gross said. “It has so many real world benefits.”

The Maryland BoE implemented this new health requirement for a handful of reasons, such as instilling healthy behaviors and addressing physical, social and emotional wellbeing. 

“In middle school we had to take health for all three years, and now we have to take it for another year in highschool,” freshman Madison Watts said. “It’s a lot.”

Students will still have the option to take health over the summer, but the course will be longer, potentially 6 weeks. Unfortunately, this puts a lot of pressure on various health teachers around Maryland.  

“It’s harder on summer health teachers to condense the lessons and make meaningful lessons for 6 whole weeks,” Gross said. 

Previously, a health unit would take around 1-2 weeks on average. In order to fit all units into one semester, writers of the health curriculum had to cut out important lessons. Now, an extended semester will allow for more issues to be discussed. 

“They’ve decided to add some very important topics and expunge on what they already have,” resource teacher Mark Crichton said.

Students are not required to take their two semesters consecutively. The counseling and health departments are working together to create a logical sequence to offer health. 

“Potentially you can take one semester of health as a 10th grader and the other semester in a later year, like 11th or 12th,” Crichton said.

The new curriculum as well as the summer curriculum, are still in the writing process. The curriculum will include more content in the Family Life and Human Sexuality (FLHS) unit, along with the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Mental and Emotional Health (MEH) unit, areas that directly benefit students the most.

“There’s a lot of things that students need to learn,” Watts said. “This change definitely should’ve started earlier.”