Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates


Discipline Team Aims to Address Issues Before They Become Problems: Two teachers at an Indiana elementary school make up the school's discipline team, created as part of the school's turnaround plan. The two begin their day at the school's breakfast program and aim to get to know students and uncover potential issues. "We're getting the pulse of the building," one teacher explained. "We want to be on top of the problems so we can deal with them before they erupt. If it's bad at the beginning of the day, it's just going to go downhill if we don't find a way to get things in order."

Teachers in Ontario Are Asked to focus on Students' Mental Health: Educators in Ontario's Windsor-Essex Catholic District have been asked to take more care in determining if students suffer from mental health disorders. Leonardo Cortese, chief of psychiatry at Windsor Regional Hospital, said that about 20 percent of students suffer from a mental disorder, but have trouble telling teachers they are depressed or experiencing anxiety. "You're a detective and need to dig deeper to get to that," he told school employees during a recent symposium.

Illinois High Schools Work to Combat Teen Suicides: Illinois high schools are aiming to address teen suicides through initiatives that remove social stigma, promote open discussion, and offer mental health therapy, among others. For instance, Barrington High School created a mental health-focused community group and updated its health curriculum, while St. Charles School District 303 initiated a Facebook campaign on mental health awareness and put hotline numbers on student IDs.

Canadian Group Suggests Limiting Screen Time for Children: The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology released new guidelines that suggest limiting recreational television, game, and computer time to two hours each day for students who are 5–17 years old. The guidelines also call for students to spend more time outdoors, get more exercise, and walk or bike to school when possible. Ideally, children and youth should be getting about an hour of physical activity daily, though only about 7 percent meet the target.


Use Technology to Promote Wellness with SchoolTube: is a great way for educators and students to access and share information online about initiatives, school projects, presentations, and a wealth of other education resources. Check out the health and wellness channels and think about maybe starting your own channel for your school.

How Can Health and Education Sectors Address the Needs of the Whole Child? This article, published in the latest issue of Preventing Chronic Disease and coauthored by Theresa Lewallen, illustrates the need for public health officials to join educators in improving child health and learning.

New Promotional Video from Let’s Move in School: Let's Move in School is a joint effort calling on physical educators, parents, and policymakers to work together to implement a comprehensive school physical activity program that incorporates quality physical education and activity in schools. Register your school to have a Let's Move in School event during National Physical Education and Sport Week from May 1 to 7.

Take Action

Get Health and Wellness Grants from Rite Aid: The Rite Aid Foundation is providing grants to nonprofits that administer health and wellness in communities where Rite Aid operates. Deadline: April 1, 2011.

Shade Structure Program: The American Academy of Dermatology's (AAD) Shade Structure Program awards grants to purchase permanent structures designed to provide shade and ultraviolet ray protection for outdoor areas. AAD also provides a permanent sign to be displayed near the shade structure that promotes the importance of sun safety.

AAD will award up to 35 grants. Each shade structure grant is valued at a maximum of $8,000. Nonprofit organizations and public schools that are sponsored by an AAD member dermatologist (find one here) and demonstrate an ongoing commitment to having a sun safety/skin cancer awareness program in place for at least one year prior to application are eligible to apply. Deadline: April 22, 2011.

Nature of Learning Grant Program: The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Nature of Learning Grant Program is looking to promote an understanding of local conservation issues, utilize field experiences, and encourage student-led projects that connect classroom lessons to real-world issues while building partnership among local school, business, and community members. Maximum award: $5,000. Eligibility: Schools or nonprofit organizations. Deadline: April 1, 2011.

Healthy School Communities is a worldwide ASCD effort to promote the integration of health and learning and the benefits of school-community collaboration. It is part of a large, multiyear plan to shift public dialogue about education from a narrow, curriculum-centric and accountability system focus to a whole child approach that encompasses all factors required for successful student outcomes. Visit the Healthy School Communities group on ASCD EDge and share everything from ideas and solutions to common concerns.

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