Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates


Mental Health Hotline Now Serving Students: Minnesota's largest school district, Anoka-Hennepin School District, will begin providing a mental health hotline for students and family members this summer. According to Superintendent Dennis Carlson, there is an unmet need for mental health service throughout the state. Callers to the hotline will be able to get referrals to other county services for further assistance. (Minnesota Public Radio)

Lack of Sleep May Fuel Bullying Behaviors, Research Suggests: A study in the journal Sleep Medicine found that school-age children who don't log 10 to 11 hours of nighttime sleep had a higher risk of exhibiting bullying behaviors or discipline referrals. According to researchers, these students were two times more likely to exhibit symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing. (ASCD SmartBrief, 6/2)

School-Food Regulations Come with a Cost: Conservatives in Congress and some school districts say regulations to reduce sodium and fat and make meals healthier will force schools to buy more expensive foods and additional equipment as they struggle with tight state budgets and increases in food prices. The USDA says the regulations will add 14 cents to the price of each meal, and Lucy Gettman of the National School Boards Association says it amounts to an unfunded mandate for schools. (ASCD SmartBrief, 6/2)

Bike Train Helps Students Resume Riding to School: Volunteers have organized a chaperoned bike train to allow students to ride their bikes to a Portland, Ore., school, a practice once deemed unsafe and banned by school officials. Participants set a record last week, with 150 people joining the weekly bike train. The program now receives support from the city's Safe Routes to School program as well as parents and school officials, and has expanded to 12 additional schools. (ASCD SmartBrief, 6/6)

Michelle Obama Issues Checklist to Monitor Healthy Habits for Children: First Lady Michelle Obama on Wednesday visited a child-care center in Washington, D.C., and announced a checklist that underscores five principles, including one to two hours of daily exercise and zero screen time for children younger than two. The checklist is a guide for parents and child-care centers to help improve children's health. Obama also noted that 1,600 child-care centers in the United States have committed to promoting healthy eating and exercise habits. (ASCD SmartBrief, 6/9)

Research Says School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) Help with Dropout Rates: Research continues to support findings that SBHCs help create the caring and supportive learning environments needed to positively impact school attendance, tardiness, risky behavior, academic progression, and graduation. (


School Guide to Children's Mental Health: Using a public health approach and incorporating best practices, the National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention has produced this guide for teachers. It describes the phases for developing and implementing a whole-school approach to children's mental health. (

After a Suicide: A Tool Kit for Schools: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) Suicide Prevention Research Center has recently released a free online tool kit for suicide prevention. The tool kit lays out some common warning signs of suicide and provides best practices on suicide prevention in schools, as well as information about how a school should respond when a suicide has occurred. Crisis response, helping students cope, working with the community, social media, and bringing in outside help are addressed. (JUVJUST News, 5/24)

ASCD Featured on Education Talk Radio: Hosted by Larry Jacobs and sponsored by whole child partner Northeast Foundation for Children/Responsive Classroom, this episode of Education Talk Radio presents an interview with ASCD's Molly McCloskey, managing director for Whole Child Programs, and Sean Slade, director of Healthy School Communities. The discussion laid out for listeners the specifics about ASCD's Whole Child Initiative and Healthy School Communities.

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Report on Findings from School Crime and Safety Survey Released: The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has just released Crime, Violence, Discipline, and Safety in U.S. Public Schools: Findings From the School Survey on Crime and Safety: 2009–10. This publication includes findings from the 2009–10 School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS). (ED's Safe and Supportive Schools News, 6/9)

Video from SPARK—Childhood Obesity: Quality Physical Education as a Solution Use this new video provided by SPARK to help make the case for quality physical education in schools as one way to help curb the growing childhood obesity epidemic. (

Take Action

Art and Science of Health Promotion Conference Call for Proposals: The call for proposals is now open for the 22nd Annual Art and Science of Health Promotion Conference. The conference will be held April 11–15, 2012, at the Manchester Hyatt in San Diego, Calif. The conference theme is "Making Healthy Choices the Easiest Choices: Increasing Awareness, Enhancing Motivation, Building Skills, and Creating Supportive Environments." The deadline for breakout presentation submissions is July 1, with art and science presentations submissions due October 14. Peer presentations will be accepted from September 15–March 9. (Comprehensive Health Education Network, 5/31)

DHHS' Basic Center Program Grant: Awards of up to $200,000 are available from the Department of Health and Human Services' (DHHS) Basic Center Program, which serves runaway and homeless youth who are at risk of falling into the child welfare, mental health, or juvenile justice systems. The program is designed to provide youth up to age 18 with emergency shelter, food, clothing, counseling, and referrals for health care. Eligible entities include: state, county, city, and special district governments, public housing authorities, Native American tribal organizations, and nonprofit organizations that are not institutions of higher education. Faith-based and community organizations are also eligible to apply. Deadline: June 24, 2011. (

Public Comment Needed on Bullying Laws and Policies: The Department of Education is seeking comments on its plan to conduct an analysis of bullying laws and policies. Twenty-four school sites nationwide will be surveyed to document state and local implementation of anti-bullying laws and policies. The study will examine how policies are influenced by state legislative requirements, including ways that state and district policies facilitate or create challenges for effective implementation, and aims to identify promising strategies that school districts are implementing to combat bullying in schools. This information will be used by the Department to better support bullying prevention activities. Comments are due August 1, 2011, by e-mail to or by mail at the U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, S.W., L.B.J., Washington, DC 20202–4537, OMB Control Number: 1875–NEW. (Comprehensive Health Education Network, 6/7)

Webinar from SPARK—Character Is Cool: Building Social Skills Through Physical Education: Join this month's free webinar from SPARK on Wednesday, June 15, at 3 p.m. PT/6 p.m. ET, to learn how to integrate social skills into your own program and get tips on how you can take your existing social skills component to the next level. Register now! (

Minority Youth Tobacco Elimination Project (MYTEP): The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is awarding funds to promote smoking cessation and prevention among racial and ethnic minority youth and young adults between the ages 11–26, and young women ages 13–26. Funding will be administered to conduct evidence-based smoking prevention and cessation strategies. An award will also be administered to a grantee in order to establish and lead the MYTEP Project Support and Evaluation Center. Awards are between $175,000 and $250,000 and nonprofit organizations, tobacco health coalitions, or academic institution with at least three years of experience are eligible to apply. Deadline: July 1, 2011. (CHHCS Grant Alerts, 6/9)

School-Based Comprehensive Oral Health Services (SBCOHS) Grant Program: The Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) is awarding funds to implement comprehensive oral health services within existing school-based health centers (SBHCs).The funded projects will demonstrate effective ways to strengthen existing SBHC's capacity to respond to oral health needs of young people and increase access to dental health education and services for underserved, high-risk populations. Twelve awards up to $200,000 are available in the total amount of $2,400,000. Eligibility includes, but is not limited to, an established SBHC that serves early childhood and elementary/middle-school aged children with the greatest need for high-quality oral health education, preventive, and restorative services. Any public or private entity, including an Indian tribe or tribal organization, is also eligible to apply. Deadline: July 15, 2011. (The Weekly Insider, 6/8)

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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