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Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates

News

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.

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Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates

News

Wyoming Program Aims to Help Students Adopt Healthier Habits: The "Take It Off" initiative at Kelly Walsh High School in Casper, Wyo., uses grant money and donations to help students participate in a 10-week program that gives them access to a registered dietitian, personal trainer, and counselor. Registered Dietician Brittany Bennett said the program focuses not on weight loss but on getting students to change bad eating habits and exercise more.

Study Finds Poor Driving Skills Account for Most Teen Crashes: Researchers found that 76 percent of 795 teen crashes were because of critical driving errors, including underdeveloped skills in scanning the environment and vulnerability to distractions. "This study shows the vast majority of crashes occur not because the teen drivers are behaving badly, but because they have not yet developed the crucial skills they need," said Allison Curry, lead author of the study published in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention.

School District Finds Success by Cooking Healthy Meals in Bulk: The school-lunch program in California's Salida Union School District has won honors for figuring out how to cook about 4,000 fresh, nutritious meals for students each day. Billy Reid, who heads the district's food-service program, entices children with bite-sized bits of colorful fruits and vegetables; serves favorites such as pizza made with healthy ingredients; and carefully plans menus based on calories, nutrients, fats, sugars, and sodium.

Virginia and D.C. Schools Face Controversies over Chocolate Milk: Select schools in Virginia's Fairfax County and Washington, D.C., plan to introduce a reformulated chocolate-milk drink that is lower in fat and does not use high-fructose corn syrup after the beverage was banned from lunch programs because of criticism from health advocates. The new formulation got nods from some former critics, but other experts and nutritionists said the change in sweeteners will have little effect if the beverage's calorie content is the same.

Resources

SNA's Tray Talk: Tray Talk is the School Nutrition Association's (SNA) public awareness campaign designed to spotlight school meal successes, share information on the latest trends in school cafeterias, and celebrate the fact that school meals are healthy meals.

Recreating Successful Strategies at Your School: An Edutopia.org article shows how one rural school district was inspired and mentored by an acclaimed urban school in California. Free resources and tools to replicate project-based learning are offered.

Take Action

NASBHC Convention, June 26–29, 2011: Please join Whole Child Partner National Assembly on School-Based Health Care (NASBHC) from June 26–29, 2011, at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile for a deeper dialogue about how the partnerships between school-based health centers (SBHCs) and community schools can create stronger communities and healthier, more successful youth. The 2011 theme is "School-based health care and the community: A partnership that works highlights the focus on collaborations between SBHCs and community schools." View a preliminary program and register online. Register by May 20, 2011, for a special early bird discount.

Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program Survey: As part of the Let's Move in School initiative, the National Association for Sport and Physical Education of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance is conducting the 2011 Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP) Survey to gather baseline data about the extent to which schools are implementing CSPAP components (physical education, physical activity during school, physical activity before and after school, staff involvement, and family and community involvement) at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.

Physical education teachers across the United States are invited to complete the survey by Monday, April 25. Results will help inform future efforts aimed at increasing physical education and physical activity in schools.

Health and Nutrition Grants from Albertsons Grocery Stores: Albertsons is accepting grant applications to address the following areas: hunger relief, health, and nutrition. Award amounts vary. Eligible applicants are 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations and schools in areas where Albertsons grocery stores operate. Deadline: Rolling.

ASCD's L2L Conference: Registration and conference information is now available for the 2011 Leader to Leader (L2L) Conference. Find out answers to these questions about the conference:

  • What is the L2L Conference?
  • What makes the L2L Conference unique?
  • Why should I attend the L2L Conference?
  • What's new this year?

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.

Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates

News

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 Parenting.com, 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.

Resources

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.

Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates

News

Pennsylvania School Is on Guard Against Unhealthy Eating Habits: The William D. Kelley School in Philadelphia is taking a comprehensive approach to battling obesity by banning soda and sweet snacks and emphasizing healthy eating in the curriculum. In addition, the principal and parents have asked nearby stores to stop selling junk food to children in the morning so they will eat a healthier breakfast.

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Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates

News

Food Experts Urge Parents, Schools to Get Tough About Nutrition: Experts in food politics are taking parents and schools to task for not being more aggressive about providing healthy foods for children, saying students do not necessarily need to have a say in what goes on the menu and that the school lunch line should not mimic a fast-food restaurant. "Renegade lunch lady" and author Ann Cooper, speaking at the Natural Products Expo, criticized the organic industry for making candy, corn dogs, and other unhealthy snacks.

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Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates

News

Educators See Advantages of Structured Recess for Students: Organized recess improves students' participation, behavior, and focus in the classroom, according to a nationwide survey conducted by California nonprofit Playworks. The structured playtime involves organized activities that promote nonviolent themes, such as games of tag that involve tapping fingers rather than slapping. Educators in Philadelphia, where 83 schools have structured recess, say the Playworks program gives students a positive outlet for excess energy.

Schools Vary in Approaches to Healthy Meals: California school districts approach healthy lunches for students in different ways, depending on the cost of the program, income levels, and foods common to the culture, according to this article. Orinda Intermediate School offers organic vegetables, jasmine rice, and Jamba Juice for its students with sophisticated palates, while West Oakland Middle School is working to use less meat, more whole grains, and scratch cooking but has seen some resistance from students.

San Francisco Schools Make It Easier for Students to Grab Breakfast: Schools in San Francisco are using a federal grant to expand "grab-and-go" breakfast programs that allow students to quickly pick up healthy foods, including fruit and cereal, as they head to class. Data found that many California children qualify for free or reduced-price school meals, but few take advantage of breakfast because the meals are served in the cafeteria and the students are often short on time.

Resources

Becoming A Man (B.A.M.): Youth Guidance's Becoming a Man program, or B.A.M., which is currently offered at Roberto Clemente High School in Chicago, Ill., is an evidence-based violence prevention and mentoring program that nurtures and develops social, emotional, and behavioral skills in young male students considered to be "at-risk" and vulnerable to gang violence. Watch a video about B.A.M. to learn more about the educational enrichment the program provides.

Health and Nutrition Teacher Resources: View up to five free lesson plans and classroom activities that teach a variety of health and nutrition topics for K–12 students, available in printer-friendly formats at TeacherVision.com. Many lessons are designed to be integrated into core subjects and engage learners.

Take Action

Vote for the Best Healthy School Lunch Recipes: A website lets users vote through May 15, 2011, for the best school lunch recipes from the USDA's Healthy Kids competition. Schools, chefs, and students were challenged to come up with healthy recipes that meet nutrition standards in the categories of whole grains, dry beans and peas, and dark green and orange vegetables.

Let's Move in School's National Physical Education and Sport Week: Register your school to host a Let's Move in School (LMIS) celebration during National Physical Education and Sport Week (May 1–7). Schools that register by March 28, 2011, will have a chance to win a visit from a member of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. The first 10,000 schools to register will receive a LMIS poster.

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.

Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates

News

Massachusetts Districts Implement Anti-Bullying Efforts: Many Massachusetts school districts are rolling out anti-bullying plans that were due to the state by the end of 2010. The plans vary widely by district, with many aimed at specific age groups and some incorporating elements of outreach to parents. State reviews of the plans are expected to be finished today, and districts with more work to do will be notified.

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Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates

News

Prohibition or Modeling of Good Nutrition?: In an online article, author Hank Cardello compares prohibition of selling junk food in schools to the nationwide prohibition of alcohol consumption in the 1920s. He claims that schools are wasting their efforts on an idea that won't work and only opens up the opportunity for black market candy selling. While this comparison seems a bit of a stretch, do you think Cardello has missed the point about the role of schools in modeling, teaching, and providing good nutrition? Or do you agree with Cardello's viewpoint that completely eliminating these foods doesn't teach students anything? Share your thoughts on ASCD EDge.

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Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates

News

Washington District's School Lunches Get a Healthy Upgrade with Fresh Foods: Washington State's Vashon Island School District gave cafeteria workers cooking lessons so they could prepare meals using fresh, locally grown ingredients and serve food the day it is made. Chef Tom French of the Experience Food Project, who is behind the healthy-food makeover, says schools also need to market the changes to students so they buy into the program.

Mobile Dental Clinic Reaches Underserved Children: After a child died from having an infected tooth and no access to dental care, one dentist was inspired to start a mobile dental clinic that serves poor children without access to dental care at their schools in Prince George's County, Md. The Deamonte Driver Dental Van's mission is to prevent other children from dying from untreated tooth decay.

Baltimore Schools Nutrition Chief Shares Successful Programs: Baltimore (Md.) public schools' food and nutrition director, Tony Geraci, is traveling around the United States to promote nutrition education and healthy-food programs, such as the Great Kids Farm, that have worked in his city. The district has overhauled its food-service program so that nearly all produce included in the student-designed school menus comes from Maryland farms.

No Free Lunch: The National School Lunch Program requires participating schools to provide nourishing meals for all students. Lately, however, more kids are showing up to school with no money to pay for meals. To accommodate these children, most schools provide an "alternate meal" that covers the bare minimum nutritional requirements—usually a cheese or peanut butter sandwich and a four-ounce box of juice or milk—which is paid for by increasing the regular price for kids who can pay. The slim offerings are expected to recruit more families who need financial help to apply for free and reduced-price meals for their children. The increased enrollment helps to lower the direct costs to the school, allowing the federal government to pick up more of the tab. How might the new mandate for schools to improve the nutritional quality of food affect schools' drive to increase free and reduced-price meals enrollment rates? Read more.

Resources

Social-Emotional Learning in Schools Makes a Difference: The peer-reviewed journal Child Development has published the first large-scale metaanalysis of school-based social and emotional learning (SEL) programs. The research findings can be used as evidence of the positive effect of SEL on healthy child development.

Take Action

ASHA Extends Its Conference Proposal Deadline: Got a health-related teaching technique to share? How about evaluation findings of a school-based program or intervention? Consider submitting a proposal to present at whole child partner the American School Health Association's (ASHA) 85th annual conference this year in Louisville, Ky., October 12–15. The proposal submission deadline has been extended to March 31, 2011.

Consider Writing for Educational Leadership: Showcase your school community's success in making students and staff feel safe, valued, and connected by writing for Educational Leadership magazine. The theme for the September 2011 issue is "Promoting Respectful Schools." Review the guidelines for submission and the theme description:

Students who feel safe, valued, and hopeful in school are more likely to learn. This issue will explore how schools can promote respect for self and others—in both students and teachers. Which programs reduce bullying and promote respectful relationships? How can schools address prickly issues related to race, culture, and religion and teach such crucial skills as empathy and cultural sensitivity? We're interested in articles from teachers who are making classrooms safe places where students can learn from mistakes and articles from school leaders who are making staff feel valued and supported. We welcome international contributions and real-life stories of how schools have created physically, emotionally, and intellectually respectful learning environments.

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.

Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates

News

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.

Resources

Use Technology to Promote Wellness with SchoolTube: SchoolTube.com 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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