Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates


Can We Really Do Without School Nurses? Education budget cuts are forcing districts to prioritize which non-mandatory programs they can do without. Unfortunately for many public schools, the school nurse may be one of the first victims of the cutbacks. According to, less than half of U.S. public schools have a full-time registered nurse available to students.

Partnerships Help Colorado's School Health Clinics Grow: The number of school-based health clinics is rising in Colorado, partly because of a decision by officials years ago to secure funding through partnerships with private organizations. The state first established school-based clinics in 1978 and has since seen a steady growth in the centers.

'Chefs Move to Schools' Helps Improve School Meals: A part of Michelle Obama's Let's Move initiative, the Chefs Move to Schools program brings volunteer chefs into schools to encourage healthier eating through menu changes, cooking demonstrations, and school gardens.


Little Evidence That Zero-Tolerance Discipline Policies Are Effective: A new Child Trends brief highlights rigorously evaluated, nonpunitive alternatives to zero tolerance that have shown promise in improving school safety and student outcomes. The brief, Multiple Responses, Promising Results: Evidence-Based, Nonpunitive Alternatives to Zero Tolerance, also finds a lack of rigorous research on the effectiveness of zero-tolerance school discipline policies and that the existing research shows no evidence that these policies decrease school violence.

Prepare for Children's Mental Health Awareness Day 2011: National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day is a day to join the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), communities, organizations, agencies, and individuals nationwide in raising awareness that positive mental health is essential to a child's healthy development from birth. This year, the national theme will focus on building resilience in young children dealing with trauma.

Take Action

Save the Date for the Inaugural Healthy School Communities Virtual Conference: Please join us May 10–13, 2011, for the first-ever Healthy School Communities Virtual Conference. Take part in this free online conference to learn more about health and learning. Topics will include:

  • Aligning health and education in the school setting;
  • Improving school lunches and nutrition;
  • Physical activity and physical education across the school day;
  • Social, emotional, and mental health;
  • Staff wellness; and the
  • Healthy School Communities (HSC) model.

Join HSC staff, mentor and mentee sites, ASCD authors, invited speakers, and guests to find out more about what's working across the U.S. and Canada and share health and learning stories. Check back on April 19 for registration information. Space is limited.

Show Your Support for Healthy School Meals: Ensuring that schools offer only healthy foods and beverages is critical for reversing the childhood obesity epidemic and safeguarding the health of U.S. children. The Kids' Safe and Healthful Foods Project, a new initiative launched by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts, will support efforts to improve the nutritional quality and safety of school foods. Ensuring that provisions of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act are rigorously enforced is a primary focus of the two-year project.

Through April 13, U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking public comment on its proposed changes. Comments can be conveniently shared through the Kids' Safe and Healthful Foods Project website.

Tools for Providing Active Physical Education: Participate in the next SPARK webinar, and learn why active physical education is so important (and how to assess it), strategies for achieving it, and where to go for resources that support HOPE (Health Optimizing Physical Education). This free 45-minute webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, April 20, 2011, at 3 p.m., PDT/6 p.m., EDT. Register now!

ASCD Is Accepting Proposals for the 2012 Annual Conference: ASCD is encouraging members of the education community to submit proposals for next year's ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit Show. The event will be held March 24–26 in Philadelphia, Penn. Proposals are due May 12, 2011.

ASCD's Outstanding Young Educator Award: ASCD is seeking nominations for the Outstanding Young Educator Award (OYEA), which recognizes a teacher who is developing and using best practices to ensure all children are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged in his or her school or district. Maximum award: $10,000. Eligibility: K–12 teachers under age 40; self-nominations accepted. Deadline: Aug 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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