School-based health education ensures all children acquire functional health knowledge and develop health-affirming attitudes and beliefs to adopt and maintain healthy behaviors for a lifetime of good health. A comprehensive health education program not only addresses physical health but also mental, emotional, and social wellbeing.

​Instruction should be skills-based and emphasize health literacy to empower students with motivation and the ability to process and analyze basic health information to make appropriate health decisions. Content in lessons is still important, but it needs to be the context for critically important skill development.  

In Rhode Island, K-12 health education must be taught by a qualified teacher (certified in health education) and students must receive age-appropriate, medically accurate instruction each year for an average of 20 minutes per day/100 minutes per week in accordance with RI General Law 16-22-4.  As part of its commitment to ensuring all students have access to high-quality curriculum and instruction, the Rhode Island Department of Education provides a Curriculum Framework for Health Education for use by schools/districts in developing, evaluating, improving  and/or purchasing health education curricula. 
The Framework, now aligned with the National Health Education Standards, was developed by a task force comprised of a group of diverse educators, administrators, parents, health professionals, State Department staff, and community-based organization staff and endorsed by the RI Council on Elementary and Secondary Education in June 2022.