The Carmel Valley Middle School Music Program and ISPE

Frequently Asked Questions


What is ISPE for Music?

ISPE stands for “Independent Study Physical Education.”  The best source of information is the CVMS website,  Click on the ISPE link on the left side of the Counseling page.  The program was originally designed for athletic kids (e.g., gymnasts) who spend so much in connection with a sport that PE was considered unnecessary.  It has been adapted for music students, so that they can take music and another elective, such as Spanish or art, and fulfill the physical education requirement outside of school.  


Why is this option available for Music students?

Historically, schools had marching bands, and music students were able to count the marching band as their PE activity and take music at the same time.  When marching bands were eliminated from most district schools, students had to take PE, and therefore had an “impacted schedule” if they wanted music and another elective. So, the District gave music students the option of joining the ISPE program, even though they are not involved in a very strenuous athletic program.


Does my child have to take ISPE to take Music?

No! Your child can take regular school PE and take music as an elective. Your child would only take ISPE if he or she also wanted to take another elective in addition to music (such as Art, Drama, Spanish, Multi-Media, ASB, and Journalism).


What activities can and can’t be taken for “ISPE”?

The general rule is that an activity must be an individual activity, not a team activity.  Club soccer and baseball are not allowed.  Individual activities, like a personal fitness program, gymnastics, martial arts, swimming, or tennis are allowed.  There are gray areas, such as a swim team, beach volleyball, etc.  The District makes the call about whether your activity qualifies.   A number of sports organizations are familiar with the ISPE requirements.  You can also ask parents of current music students for suggestions.


Is this program available for other students who want two electives?

No, it is only available for music students.  Kids who take ISPE have the option of a “seventh” class for music, but not for any other elective (Art, Spanish, etc.).  If ISPE kids are not in music, then they simply have a free period in their schedule.


What is required for a program provider to be approved by the District?

The District website has the details: 

Some of the requirements include:

  • The coach must be an “accredited” coach or coaching organization with a $1 million liability policy.

  • The State of California requires completion of 400 minutes of fitness every two weeks while enrolled in I.S.P.E. and school is in session.


How is IPSE graded?

ISPE is a pass/fail course. Students establish goals (during the registration process) and keep logs of their time spent in ISPE. Twice during the semester students submit their logs (via online process) and at the end of the semester, both the student and the coach write up a brief report that is also submitted online.  To get PE credit, students must participate for the required number of minutes, and all reports must be submitted correctly and on time.


How do I sign up for this option?

First of all, you need to be in the current “Application Window” for ISPE.  The deadlines and application instructions are listed on the SDUHSD website.  The "application window" dates can vary each year, but are typically April to May/June.  Information on the application window, the requirements for ISPE, and how to register online are located at: 



Music students are considered to have an “Impacted Schedule.” 



The Music Program is a special part of CVMS.

Please feel free to contact the CVMS Music Boosters if you have additional questions at


CVMS Music Boosters has produced this document.  Every effort has been made to include accurate information. This document has not been approved by the District and is not an “official” school document.  (9/2015)


Thank you to the Earl Warren Middle School Music Boosters allowing us to adapt their materials for this page.