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Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates

News

Raising Awareness and Reducing the Stigma of HIV: The entire senior class at Urban School in San Francisco, Calif., has taken on a group project that involves each student getting tested at school for HIV. The students hope to increase participation in and awareness of sexually active high school youth getting tested. Read more.

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Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates

News

Oklahoma High School Parents and Principal Frown at New School Lunch Guidelines: Not everyone seems pleased with the new efforts to improve school nutrition. Some critics say that the new guidelines will cost schools money when it's not certain students will even eat the healthier choices. Without buy-in from some parents, principals, and even students, how likely is it that the USDA's nutrition standards are going to have an effect? Comment on ASCD EDge.

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Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates

News

Empowerment, Respect, and Health: In the latest Huffington Post article by ASCD Healthy School Communities Director Sean Slade, he writes about an example of whole child education at Manzanita SEED Elementary in Oakland, Calif. Read more to learn about the practices and results that led to this school winning the California 2010 National Title I Distinguished School Award.

Relationships Key to Strong School Culture: Boosterthon Fun Run blogger Robert Walker interviews Sean Slade about what it takes to engage students by reinforcing a strong, dynamic school culture. Read the interview.

Evaluating School Climate: Healthy School Communities participated in last week's No Name-Calling Week by contributing a blog post focusing on using the Healthy School Report Card's characteristic on social and emotional climate to evaluate school policies and practices that may address issues such as bullying and name-calling. All Healthy School Communities are encouraged to comment and share experiences both on the blog and on ASCD EDge.

Resources

Health Education Resources for Youth: The Adolescent Health Working Group has published an online series of health education handouts that discuss issues such as basic adolescent health care, behavioral health, body basics, and sexual health. All handouts are available for free download and in a variety of languages, including English, Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese.

Take Action

Seeking Input from Teachers and Students about Type 2 Diabetes: BSCS, a science education nonprofit organization, is looking for input from teachers and students to help develop a curriculum on type 2 diabetes for schools. Share your thoughts in their survey.

Webinar on How to Promote a Learning-Receptive Emotional State: The "Ask Dr. Judy" series returns on February 2 at 3 p.m. ET, with a free webinar on promoting a learning-receptive emotional state. Join neurologist-turned-teacher Judy Willis for a one-hour session on practices conducive to student learning and interventions that effectively tackle common behavioral issues. Register now.

Schools, Families, Communities: What supports can schools provide to help maintain a healthy, safe environment for learning? How can schools encourage parents—including parents from minority and immigrant cultures—to take on meaningful roles in the school? How can we best guide parents to reinforce students' schoolwork at home? And how can schools make better use of the rich resources within their communities? ASCD Express is looking for short, 600- to 1,000-word essays on the theme "Schools, Families, Communities." Please e-mail your submissions to express@ascd.org by February 8, 2011. Articles on innovations like full-service community schools; 24-hour schools; service learning; community-based projects; and partnerships among schools, local businesses, and universities are welcome.

EPA Announces Grant to Address Children's Environmental Health: The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Office of Children's Health Protection has announced a request for proposals for grant that address children's environmental health in underserved communities. The EPA intends to award approximately 15–20 awards that total approximately $1.5 million. Each award is not to exceed $100,000. The due date for initial proposals is February 18, 2011. Eligible submissions may come from U.S. states or state agencies; territories; city or township governments; county governments; the District of Columbia; federally recognized American Indian Tribes; possessions of the U.S; public and private universities and colleges, hospitals, laboratories, other public or private nonprofit institutions; and 501(c)(3) organizations. Find out how to submit a proposal.

Critical Exposure—Through Your Lens: The 21st Century School Fund, Critical Exposure, and Healthy Schools Campaign are inviting students, teachers, and everyone within view of a school building to "show the world what you see every day at school." Contestants are invited to reveal an honest perspective of school facilities that include the good parts, the troubling parts, the things to be proud of, and the things to change. Contest launches February 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

Evaluating School Climate

Each year Healthy School Communities exhibits and presents conference sessions about the Healthy School Report Card (HSRC), an action tool that addresses the health and well-being of students and staff. It provides the basis for a school improvement plan that moves toward a whole child approach.

However, many times we do not have the opportunity to fully discuss the details of each of the 11 characteristics of healthy school communities, which cover not only health and well-being but also effective teaching and learning. Because this week was No Name-Calling Week, let's highlight a key indicator in the tool that could help school communities evaluate the climate in the school that might lend to name-calling and bullying.

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Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates

News

School Ends Policy of Tying PE Grade to BMI Measurement: Parents at a Chicago-area school get together to pressure school officials to discontinue linking students' body fat measurements to fitness grades. The BMI Index will remain a tool used to track physical fitness levels, but will no longer be shared with the students on progress reports.

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Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates

News

NIH Initiates Biggest Children's Health Study in United States: Researchers involved in the National Children's Study—the largest health study related to children in the United States to date—will monitor more than 100,000 Americans from the time before they are born until they are age 21 to understand how environmental and cultural conditions affect health and development. The study, led by the National Institutes of Health and other agencies, will use interviews, blood samples, and umbilical cords as part of its data-gathering methods.

USDA Proposes New Standards for School Meals: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed a new guideline for subsidized school meals that includes a 50 percent reduction of salt in food and more servings of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and nonfat or low-fat milk. The USDA guideline is only a proposal, and it could be several years before any changes are required.

Ontario's School Nutrition Standards Get an Upgrade: Get the facts on Ontario's new nutrition standards for schools that will likely take place in September this year. The new standards will divide foods into three categories: not permitted for sale, healthiest, and healthy. Eighty percent of the content in a school meal and beverage must be in the "healthiest" category, and the remaining 20 percent must be categorized as "healthy."

How Do Counselors Affect the School Environment? A study last year found that 20 percent of elementary school students have a mental disorder, but there is a significant shortage of counselors in U.S. schools, education blogger Valerie Strauss writes in this post. Most states do not require schools to have mental-health professionals on staff, but Strauss points to another study that shows students in schools with strong school-counseling programs have higher test scores. Also, teachers in those schools report more peaceful school environments.

Take Action

Ontario Launches Healthy School Recognition Program: The Ontario Ministry of Education will be accepting applications for its Healthy School Recognition Program. Exemplary public schools that have pledged to take on health-promoting activities will receive a certificate and be publicly recognized on the Ministry's website.

Scholastic, Inc. awards Welch's Harvest Grants to U.S. Schools: The purpose of Welch's Harvest Grants is to help teach the value of sustainable agriculture and healthy eating through school gardens. Hands-on experiences with planting, tending, and growing gardens provide children an engaging learning environment.

Two schools in every state will be selected to receive a customized indoor or outdoor garden package filled with a variety of tools, seeds, educational materials, and more. Eligible schools and organizations include public and private schools, accredited homeschool associations (K–8), public libraries, religious educational centers, and Head Start centers. Deadline: February 11, 2011.

Community-Based Partnerships for Childhood Obesity Prevention and Control: The National Institutes of Health is providing funding to support childhood obesity research through the forming of research teams composed of stakeholders such as researchers, policymakers, community representatives, public health practitioners or officials, and educators. The research teams will conduct relevant research for potential policy efforts in the area of childhood obesity prevention and reduction. Deadline: May 7, 2012.

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

School Trains Sixth Graders in CPR: A Massachusetts school spent the last two days before winter break training 6th-grade students in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), the Heimlich Maneuver, and other life-saving techniques. The curriculum, usually taught in 9th grade, has been simplified to train more individuals. "This is a new and innovative program that we hope will really catch on in other surrounding communities," a lieutenant with the fire department said.

Developing Emotional Resiliency Could Benefit Stressed Teachers: Teaching is a stressful profession and the retention rate—especially in struggling schools—often is low, says a school-improvement coach. Elena Aguilar writes that teachers would benefit from developing emotional resilience—knowing when to let go and how to adapt to stressful situations. She recommends that building these emotional skills be incorporated into teachers' professional development and cites research that shows mentoring and collaborating could help, too.

Why Do We Need Physical Education in Schools? Healthy School Communities Director Sean Slade illustrates the two sides of the debate in his blog post on the Whole Child website. Although research shows that healthier students learn better, there are others out there who seem to believe PE and recess are a waste of classroom time. Go to ASCD EDge and tell us how you defend the role of physical education and physical activity in your school.

Resources

Mental Health Resources for Schools: The Center for Mental Health in Schools at UCLA provides a free online toolkit, Practitioner and Professional Development: Virtual Toolbox for Mental Health in Schools, that reflects on the role of mental health in the well-being of students for school personnel involved in preservice and inservice professional development.

Take Action

Get Nutrition Education in Your Classrooms: Attend this free 45-minute webinar on Wednesday, January 19 at 3:00 p.m. pacific time, 6:00 p.m., eastern time, from SPARK, a whole child partner, to learn how you can integrate nutrition education into other core subject areas like math, science, language arts, and physical education. Register now!

Get Into It and Fight Childhood Obesity: Special Olympics and Youth Service America is offering Get Into It grants. The purpose is to bring together students of all abilities to fight childhood obesity in their schools and communities. The Get Into It curriculum helps to develop a service-learning program that gives youth the opportunity to make a change by creating and implementing local, hands-on programs to fight childhood obesity. Maximum award: $1,000. Eligibility: U.S.-based teams that include a teacher and a unified pair of students (one with and one without an intellectual disability). Deadline: January 19, 2011.

Excellence in Summer Learning Award: Whole child partner the National Summer Learning Association will be awarding its Excellence in Summer Learning Award to an outstanding summer program that "demonstrates excellence in accelerating academic achievement and promoting positive development for young people between kindergarten and 12th grade." Award winners will receive national recognition, increased press opportunities, conference presentations and complimentary registrations, professional development opportunities for staff, and increased publishing opportunities. Public or private organizations or agencies (schools, community-based organizations, libraries, universities, faith-based organizations, etc.) serving young people between the ages of kindergarten and 12th grade over the summer months are eligible to apply. Deadline: February 11, 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

Social Isolation in School Increases Children's Depression Risk: A study shows that children who did not have any friends were the most likely to be depressed during their teenage years and that those who were socially withdrawn had the highest risk of having a depressive affect. The lead researcher said that social relationships are an important factor in a child's emotional health that is often overlooked in the academic setting.

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Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates

News

Survey: Only 23 Percent Want Feds to Set Child Nutrition Standards: A Rasmussen Reports survey of U.S. adults found that 23 percent said the federal government should set nutritional standards for public schools, while 31 percent said they want parent-teacher groups to do it and 17 percent said it should be left to state governments. Data showed that 53 percent of adults said they followed reports about the childhood-nutrition law at least somewhat closely.

More States Are Allowing PE Waivers or Substitutions: The number of states that allow students to substitute extracurricular activities or otherwise opt out of physical education has increased since 2006 from 27 to 32, data show. One physical education professor says a push for students to take more academic courses and districts' efforts to save money are behind the trend, which occurs amid greater worry about childhood obesity.

Better Grades May Mean Better Health: Findings from a study published in the December Journal of Health and Social Behavior support already existing evidence that links higher student achievement with long-term health. The study shows that not only is there a correlation between greater educational attainment and physical well-being, but also that a higher level of academic performance proved to be a significant factor as well. Read more.

Resources

Promising District Practices: Are you looking for strategies that schools and districts across the United States are using to effectively address school health? The National School Boards Association's (NSBA) Promising District Practices website shares success stories addressing a wide range of school health–related policies and practices in a practical and easily accessible way.

Enhancing Student Learning by Supporting a Coordinated Approach to Health: Whole Child Partners NSBA and the American School Health Association (ASHA), with ASHA's Council for Administrative Support for School Health, have developed parallel documents to help school boards and administrators enhance student learning by supporting a coordinated approach to health. The documents can be used to communicate how school board and administrator support for a coordinated approach to health contributes to academic achievement and why and how school leaders should have a coordinated approach to the health of students.

Youth Substance Use Interventions: Where Do They Fit Into a School's Mission? This report addresses differences between use and abuse and briefly summarizes some major issues and data relevant to substance use and treatment of abuse and dependency. It also highlights the importance of adopting a broad perspective in understanding the causes of substance problems seen at schools.

Take Action

Reducing Risk Behaviors by Promoting Positive Youth Development: The National Institutes of Health is offering grants to institutions and organizations that "propose to enhance our understanding of effective positive youth development programs and the mechanisms responsible for positive health and developmental outcomes." Award amounts vary and eligible applicants are public or state controlled or private institutions of higher education; nonprofit organizations with or without 501(c)(3) IRS status; for-profit organizations; and various other organizations, including non-U.S. entities. Deadline: February 5, 2011.

School Employee Wellness Awards Program: The Directors of Health Promotion and Education (DHPE)is now accepting applications for the 2010–11 School Employee Wellness Awards Program that recognizes schools and school districts that implement school employee wellness programs. Monetary awards will be granted in the amounts of $250 (bronze), $500 (silver), and $1,000 (gold) to be reinvested in their employee wellness programs. Review an archived webinar from DHPE that further explains the grant application process. Application materials must be postmarked by February 1, 2011.

Get Green With Planet Connect: Interested in integrating environmental health awareness into your school? Planet Connect announces the 2011 Get Green Video Contest. In partnership with the Leaders of Environmental Action Films, the Get Green Video Contest is asking U.S. high school students to make a 30–120 second video that shows how everyday actions impact the ocean. Deadline: February 23, 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

Schools Prepare for Likely Implementation of Child-Nutrition Law: Some Colorado schools are preparing to implement the new Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act, which is expected to be signed into law by President Barack Obama. If approved, the law will increase the free-lunch subsidy for schools that improve nutrition standards. Some people are concerned the additional funding may not be enough for schools to meet the bill's goals, and restricting unhealthy items typically sold in school vending machines could affect schools' fund-raising.

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