Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates


Color-Coded Lunch Trays Teach Students About Nutrition: Jessica Alonzo was named one of the teachers of the year in her Long Branch, N.J., school district for her proposal to help students make better nutrition choices by using color-coded lunch trays that correlate with proper proportions of healthy foods. Also, an area preschool created a vegetable garden to help teach young students about healthy eating, and another school asked the PTA to substitute fruits for less healthy snacks.

Can Movement Help Students Learn? Students are likely to learn more when they use their bodies—a concept called active learning—says educational technology consultant Ben Johnson. In this blog post, Johnson writes that the bodies become an extension of the brain. As such, movement helps students grasp concepts more easily, and teachers can instantly see which students grasp the material by observing their movement.

Children Involved in Bullying Visit School Nurse More Often: Data on about 600 students in grades 3–5 indicate bullies and victims of bullying visited the school nurse more often than did others, for injuries as well as other medical and nonmedical issues, suggesting that school nurses can be key players in identifying and curbing bullying. The study in Pediatrics found no racial or gender differences among victims of bullying, but the odds of being labeled a bully were higher for boys and blacks.

Parents Want More Exercise for Children at School: A U.S. survey of parents of children ages 6–11 found that nearly all said it is important for their children to get daily exercise at school. But one-third said children don't get enough time for exercise at school, 22 percent said recess is too short, and 26 percent thought playground equipment was insufficient, researchers found.


CDC Launches New Health Literacy Website and Blog: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention invites you to visit its new health literacy website, Health Literacy: Accurate, Accessible and Actionable Health Information for All. The site provides information and tools to improve health literacy and public health and make health information accurate, accessible, and actionable for all. The resources are for all organizations that interact and communicate with people about health, including nonprofit, community, and advocacy organizations; childcare facilities; and schools. The site features a health literacy blog that provides a forum for commentary and discussion of vital issues in health-literacy improvement.

Teachers, Do You Need Health Lessons? KidsHealth in the Classroom offers free health education materials for all grades. Teacher's guides for all subject areas include discussion questions, activities, and reproducible handouts and quizzes that are aligned to meet national health education standards.

Take Action

Register for the Inaugural Healthy School Communities Virtual Conference: Please join ASCD's Healthy School Communities from May 10-13, 2011, for the first ever Healthy School Communities Virtual Conference. Take part in this free 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.
  • The Healthy School Communities model.

Join HSC staff, mentor and mentee sites, ASCD authors, invited speakers, and guests to find out more about what's working across the United States and Canada and share health and learning stories.

Registration is free, so register now! Space is limited for each session.

Safe Routes to School Grants: The National Center for Safe Routes to School is now accepting applications for 25 mini-grants of $1,000 each for programs that encourage children to get to school safely. Deadline: May 18, 2011. Also, submit a catchy slogan for the Name That Walk to School Day contest to be eligible to win $250.

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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