The Total Child

Resource: Grief Over the Holidays: Educators Can Help Students Cope

(Student Support Services) Permanent link

The following is a  cross-post from the National Center for School Crisis & Bereavement. Learn more about ways to offer support to grieving students at the Coalition to Support Grieving Students website. AASA is part of the Coalition.

All across the nation, Thanksgiving and the December holidays are a special time for families, schools and communities. Everywhere we look, we see signs of celebration. In schools, there may be pageants, food drives, decorations and parties. In stores, we hear familiar music. On the streets, people wish each other happy holidays and talk about getting together with extended family and close friends. 

During these times, most of us also think about people we miss,including loved ones who have died. These memories can be especially acute for children and teens who have lost a loved one. They may experience periods of deep sadness, a renewal of their grief, or sudden and unexpected reactions of anger, despair or fear.

These responses may happen the first or second year after a death, or many years later. Educators spend a lot of time with students and are uniquely poised to observe grief responses over time. They can take steps to anticipate challenges. The support and understanding they offer grieving students over the holidays can be especially helpful.

Grief Triggers Can Be Strong

Grief triggers are sudden reminders of the person who died that cause powerful emotional responses. These can include smells or sounds, hearing a song, participating in a family tradition, or even imagining a lost opportunity such as a holiday dinner with the loved one.

Our holidays are filled with these kinds of reminders, so grief triggers can be frequent and quite strong during these times.

Emotions Can Be Powerful 

Grieving children may feel particularly vulnerable when they have grief responses to holiday events. They may isolate themselves from peers or celebrations in an effort to avoid triggers. They may be frustrated or disappointed that they can’t manage these responses. It’s common for children to feel, “I should be past this
and able to stay in control now.”

Goals For Educators

By reaching out to grieving students, educators have an opportunity to promote several important goals, including:

  1.  Decreasing the students’ sense of isolation. It’s common for grieving children to feel that others do not understand their experience.
  2.  Offering students an opportunity to talk. Students will be thinking about their loved one. They will be reflecting on memories, experiences and feelings.
  3.  Encouraging students to talk with others. In most cases, it’s helpful for students to talk honestly with peers and family about their thoughts, feelings and memories.

Steps to Take

  • Ask open-ended questions. Listen more than talk. For example, ask, “How are the holidays going for you? I wonder what thoughts you’ve been having about your dad lately.”
  •  Accept expressions of emotion. Children may express sadness, pain, frustration, anger or other powerful emotions. Avoid minimizing their feelings or trying to put a “positive” spin on their expressions. For example, saying, “It’s important to focus on the good times you had with your dad,” is likely to communicate that you don’t want to hear a child talk about painful things.
  •  Reach out to grieving students at school events. The absence of a loved one may be especially noticeable during the classroom party or holiday band concert. Make a point to touch base in some way. Let a student know you’re happy to see her here at the party, or are looking forward to hearing her play in the concert.
  •  Introduce class activities in a way that acknowledges absences and offers alternatives. For example, if students are making cards for members of their family, invite them, if they wish, to also include cards for someone who is no longer living, or who does not live with the family.

Children experience grief differently over time. What is true this year for the holidays may not be the same next year. This is why one of the most important things a family member can do is ask questions and then listen, with presence and patience.Learn more about ways to offer support to grieving children and students at the website of the Coalition to Support Grieving Students.


Redefining Ready! Reflections from 2018 Superintendent of the Year

(National Awareness, Student Support Services) Permanent link

Guest Post by David R. Schuler, Ph.D., Superintendent, High School District 214 (Ill.)

It has been amazing to serve as the 2018 National Superintendent of the Year. This award has not been about me or my career. It is truly a reflection of the outstanding teachers, students, and staff of High School District 214, where I have served as superintendent for the last 14 years of the 19 that I have been a public school superintendent. I absolutely love leading this District and working to influence the national dialogue about public education.

I have appreciated the opportunity this year to reflect on what it means to be the leader of not only a district but of a movement of educators across this country who are striving to redefine what it means to be ready for college, career, and life beyond high school.

More than 60 districts across the nation have joined the Redefining Ready! cohort and hundreds of educators attended the inaugural Redefining Ready! National Summit where we shared best practices and ideas to inspire innovation within our respective districts. Superintendents and districts across this country are engaging in the work to redefine and redesign the educational experience for thousands of students.

As part of our Redefining Ready! work, I am continually inspired by the stories of our students and graduates in High School District 214. Each day I hear of stories such as Zach Burke. Zach, a Prospect High School graduate, took a computer science course his freshman year that led to a passion for coding and a top award in the 2016 Congressional App Challenge. He presented his app – designed in one of our classrooms – to national tech leaders in Washington, D.C.

At Buffalo Grove High School, Jackie Molloy and Nicole Relias took courses in the business management pathway and now co-run a startup selling their product, Skunk Aid, on Amazon and in stores across Chicago. How cool is that?

An internship at a physical therapist’s office affirmed recent Wheeling High School graduate Hannah DeGraff’s decision to pursue a career in the field and provided her a behind-the-scenes look at running a healthcare business.

Rolling Meadows graduates Miranda Adelman and Raymond Liu completed courses in the visual arts pathway and interned at Harper College, while Elk Grove’s Oscar Gonzalez worked with high-tech tools in the classroom and earned an industry-level safety certification verifying his qualifications in the field.

At Hersey, Kayleigh Padar's introductory course in journalism led to a role as editor-in-chief of the school's paper and an internship writing bylined articles for the Daily Herald, our local newspaper. And Brandon Sobecki, a Vanguard graduate, spent half of his day interning in a veterinarian’s office while simultaneously earning 21 college credits through our Early College Center.

Our students are saving money in college and shortening the time to graduation by enrolling in dual credit and Advanced Placement coursework.

Tanya Sarkis, a Wheeling High School graduate now a freshman at DePaul University, took four dual credit courses during her senior year that allowed her to save about $11,000 in college tuition.

And Ivan Najera, who never planned to pursue college, participated in our Early College Center where he earned 28 transferable hours of college credit through Arizona State University’s Global Freshman Academy classes. Ivan is wrapping up his first semester at our local community college and will soon transfer to a four-year university to earn his bachelor’s degree.

These are just a few of the countless success stories that our staff have provided for our 12,000 students. Our students can only dream what they can see and we must provide engaging, rigorous, and relevant experiences on their educational journey.

Students today are entering a workforce where they will have multiple careers during their lifetime. We must move from focusing on motivation and inspiration, to aspiration. We must empower our students to aspire, dream big and discover their future.

National Suicide Prevention Month

(National Awareness, Student Support Services) Permanent link

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. As the Child Mind Institute states "through honest conversation and by providing kids who need it with help, we can prevent suicides and save lives. Suicidal thoughts can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background. Suicide is often the result of an untreated mental health condition. Suicidal thoughts, although common, should not be considered normal and often indicate more serious issues."

Below is a resource library on suicide prevention and mental health for students.

Resource Library


National Immunization Month Back-to-School CDC Resources and Recommendations

(National Awareness, Student Support Services) Permanent link

August is National Immunization Month, which raises awareness on the importance of vaccines in protecting children against serious and fatal diseases.

The National Public Health Information Coalition, in collaboration with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has developed a toolkit which offers resources related to immunizations for every stage of life. Access the toolkit and CDC’s resource library .

Below are some of the recommendations for school-aged children from this toolkit.


  • Vaccinating according to the recommended immunization schedule provides your child with safe and effective protection against preventable diseases. Many vaccine-preventable diseases can spread easily in child care and school settings. Protecting your children from preventable diseases will help keep them healthy and in school. 
    •  Parents should check their child’s immunization records to make sure they are up to date on all recommended vaccinations. Parents with questions are encouraged to talk with their child’s health care professional to see if their child needs any catch-up doses.
  •  Talk to your child’s doctor or other health care professional to make sure your children get the vaccines they need when they need them.
    •  Take advantage of any visit to the doctor – checkups, sick visits, even physicals for sports or college – to ask about the vaccinations your child needs.
    •  Families who need help paying for vaccines should ask their health care provider about the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. This program provides vaccines at no cost to eligible children who do not otherwise have access to recommended childhood vaccines. The VFC program provides vaccines for children ages 18 years and younger who are uninsured, Medicaid-eligible, American Indian or Alaska Native.
  •  Check your child’s vaccine records to make sure they are up to date on all the vaccines they need to stay healthy.
  •  Vaccination is one of the best ways parents can protect infants, children and teens from 16 potentially harmful diseases. Vaccine-preventable diseases can be very serious, may require hospitalization or can even be deadly — especially in infants and young children.
    •   Preteens and teens need four vaccines to protect against serious diseases: Meningococcal conjugate vaccine to protect against meningitis and bloodstream infections (septicemia), HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine to protect against cancers caused by HPV, Tdap vaccine to protect against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough (pertussis) and a yearly flu vaccine to protect against seasonal flu. Teens and young adults may also be vaccinated with a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine.


Community of Practice: A District Team Approach to Strengthening Breakfast After the Bell

(Alternative School Breakfast , Healthy Eating and Active Living , Student Support Services) Permanent link

Guest post by Alison Maurice, Child Nutrition Policy Analyst and Megan McDonough, Child Nutrition Summer Intern, Food Research & Action Center (FRAC)

AASA, The School Superintendents Association (AASA) and The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) partnered to host a webinar featuring three school districts that participate in AASA’s “Feeding Hungry Minds” alternative school breakfast initiative. Since 2011, The Walmart Foundation has supported AASA’s work.  


This webinar featured Mountain View School District in California, Spring Independent School District (ISD) in Texas, and Newburgh Enlarged City School District in New York. These school district offers breakfast to their students using breakfast after the bell (BATB) models. The alternative breakfast programs these school districts have built -- with mentorship, technical assistance, and other support from AASA -- exemplify what is possible when school administrators and school nutrition staff join together to ensure students have the morning nutrition they need to be successful in the classroom.

To facilitate engagement of school superintendents and school nutrition directors, AASA established the Community of Practice (CoP) model as an integral part of their work on school breakfast with districts. The CoP brings together superintendents, food service directors, state anti-hunger organizations, and dairy associations to share best practices and problem solve together. The CoP’s structure encourages relationship building for a deeper understanding of participants’ shared vision on children, health and hunger. 

In 2013, Mountain View School District launched a grab and go breakfast program in all 12 of its schools. From 2013 to 2014, the district increased average daily school breakfast participation by 71 percent, with 5 out of 12 schools increasing by more than 100 percent.

“I believe administrative support, and in particular superintendent support, especially when initiating this program is critical,” said Lillian Maldonado French, Superintendent of Mountain View School District. “When folks knew it was something that we were all behind, especially something that the board and I were willing to support, I think folks really came along and tried to make sure that it was a success.” 

Spring ISD launched their district-wide school breakfast program in 2015 that began with eight schools and successfully grew to universal free breakfast by the end of that year. This is a priority for Superintendent Rodney Watson, who meets monthly with the district’s Chief Operating Officer, Director of Child Nutrition, students, and the Texas Department of Agriculture to set benchmarks for the school breakfast program.

Spring ISD’s 26 elementary schools serve breakfast in the classroom (BIC), while the 4 high schools and 2 middle schools use grab and go kiosks to distribute breakfast. Shelly Copeland, Director of Child Nutrition, noted that one of her principals quickly saw improvements in student behavior ,“and we see that on a daily basis—the calmness of the students and the community feel of having breakfast in the classroom.”

Newburgh Enlarged City School District had more than a 100 percent increase in breakfast participation in each of their 14 schools in 2015 when they began providing BIC to their 12,000 students.

“We believe in the research around when a child is hungry, the impact that it will have on student learning,” stated Roberto Padilla, Superintendent of the Newburgh Enlarged City School District. “We [superintendents] are all in this profession because we love children and we want to create conditions whereby they have the optimal opportunity to achieve at the highest level. This is just simply a matter of removing a barrier that could get in that way.”

 Since 2011, AASA has engaged 30 school districts to increase participation in school breakfast to reduce hunger and increase the number of students who are healthy, alert, in school and learning. Learn more about this initiative through two School Governance and Leadership (SG&L) Publications: “Improving Attendance Health and Behavior: Moving Breakfast Out of the Cafeteria (2013)” and “Feeding Hungry Minds: Stories from the Field (2017). Access AASA’s resource library for more information on this initiative.

 Follow this link to access the webinar recording, and use this password: PpUV4P2Y

Benefits of Green Time

(Student Support Services) Permanent link

Guest post by the "Screen & Green" panelists at the 2018 National Conference on Education. The panelists were Kevin Maxwell, CEO of Prince George's County Public Schools (Md.), Jeanne McCarty, CEO of REAL School Gardens (Washington D.C.)  and Jaime Zaplatosch, Director of Children Nature Network (MN).

Now that it’s officially spring, teachers across the country are getting excited to take their students outside. Whether schools have simple vegetable beds, outdoor classrooms, or full on green schoolyards, both students and teachers reap a multitude of benefits when they spend more time outdoors.

In February at the AASA Conference in Nashville, the “Screen Time & Green Time” panel discussed why it’s just as crucial to take your 21st-century-learners outside as it is to take them to the computer lab. But despite the proven benefits of ensuring children have frequent time and space outside, many teachers and administrators struggle to create and program effective green spaces for children. Our panelists offer some suggestions and resources to help you effectively plan, create, and activate your greenspace.

How to Plan your Program
Jaime Zaplatosch
Director – Green Schoolyards Initiative
Children & Nature Network


A growing body of evidence shows that time spent learning and playing in nature helps children reach their full academic and social-emotional potential. Regular access to high quality green space improves mental and physical health -- and inspires strong connections to the natural world.

While only a small percentage of U.S. schools currently offer nature-filled outdoor spaces, many communities are exploring green schoolyards as a strategy for increasing educational and health equity, and enhancing quality of life. The number of green schoolyards is growing as communities mobilize to transform asphalt and turf grass into enriching outdoor areas where children and families can learn, play and grow both during and outside of school time.

We envision green schoolyards as multi-functional school grounds that offer places for students, teachers, parents and community members to play, learn, explore and grow with regular connection to nature. Green schoolyard features can include things such as outdoor classrooms, native/pollinator gardens, stormwater capture, play equipment, nature play areas, edible gardens, trails, and trees.

Engage partners outside of the school district to develop a green schoolyards program that helps them achieve their mission and put their resources on your schoolyards; consider who cares about each of the benefits shown here and invite them for a conversation. Visit our Green Schoolyards Resource Hub for a step-by-step process and existing resources for creating and sustaining a district-wide green schoolyards program.

 Real-World Proof
Dr. Kevin Maxwell
CEO - Prince Georges County Public Schools

Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS) in Maryland is one of the nation's 25 largest school districts, with an incredibly diverse student population by almost any metric. Maryland was the first state in the nation to adopt an environmental literacy high school graduation requirement as part of their environmental literacy standards and PGCPS embraced those standards with rich program offerings that promoted environmental literacy for all our students.

We’ve seen firsthand how our environmental initiatives support a holistic approach to education, creating robust, real-world learning experiences. PGCPS gets students excited about school and engaged in learning, bolstering STEM learning, problem solving, critical thinking and more. Our students enjoy their outdoor environmental lessons, and love to work on “real world” projects where they solve problems, collect and analyze data, and explore the environment. These are the lessons and projects kids talk about years later, so the deep learning that’s taking place stays with them throughout school and life.

PGCPS is now considered a national model program, and I’ve helped convene superintendents interested in harnessing the power of environmental education. To learn more, visit the Superintendents’ Environmental Education Collaborative (SEEC).

How to Activate Green Space for Academics
Jeanne McCarty
CEO - REAL School Gardens

One of the big barriers to getting children outdoors more often is that teachers and administrators can’t afford to lose instructional time. Luckily, instead of losing instructional time, teachers can actually use the outdoors to teach more efficiently, effectively increasing their instructional time by taking certain lessons outdoors and delivering them in a hands-on way. Studies show that students are more engaged in outdoor learning, and teachers’ effectiveness and job-satisfaction improves when they’re trained to take learning outdoors. That’s because experiential learning in a real-world setting increases student engagement and academic achievement, especially in science and math.

When you provide teachers with the proper tools and training they need to effectively use outdoor spaces to support academics, they feel more confident and prepared to incorporate experiential learning into their lessons and get students outdoors to learn. Administrators should consider providing professional development for teachers that focuses on outdoor experiential learning. We provide one-on-one coaching and personalized support to ensure that outdoor teaching becomes deeply embedded into the school culture and produces long-term results for teachers and students alike.


Blog Tour: Impact School Safety by Learning to Love

(National Awareness, Student Support Services) Permanent link

Guest post by Dr. Bernadine Futrell, Director, Leadership Services at AASA, The School Superintendents Association. This blog was written as part of National Healthy Schools Day.

When considering the question, How can school system leaders help children in their district feel safe, as well as have their physical and social – emotional needs met in a healthy school environment?, I look to love.

Centuries of research continue to point to a loving and caring adult as a principle factor in a child’s life¹ . Coupled with high rigor and expectations, love can be a significant tool in the search for solutions for school safety.  

In my experience as a district administrator, educational researcher and now through my work in professional learning at AASA, love – self-love and the love of others has always been a goal in public education. Because it has consistently nourished healthy environments.

Schools who focus on the social emotional needs of students have shown the most advances in other areas of student outcomes including student achievement. Simply put, when students feel like they belong (are loved) the academic outcomes are also positive.  

Students learn love from a variety of ways, including exposure to positive examples of people from all backgrounds and experiences. Creating opportunities for students to develop mental models of success that reflect themselves as well as others helps students develop love and compassion. School across the country are making intentional efforts to introduce diversity in their district leadership, classroom and curriculum.

This mental modeling, helps children see a future that is attainable and positive for them. It also helps all students see value in all humans.

Simple, yet powerful, when kids learn to love, communities learn to love, and when love is spread – environments are safer for all – including in and out of school.

¹Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University.

Nothing About Us, Without Us’: Advancing Health through a Youth Driven Lens

(Coordinated School Health, Student Support Services) Permanent link

Guest Post by Cameron Estrada, a School-Based Health Alliance Youth Development Intern and a member of the Alliance’s Youth Advisory Council.


 School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) have been a safe haven and a reliable resource for me throughout middle and high school. Now as a college student, I still advocate for youth health and leadership with the School Based Health Alliance. I hope to share my experiences, what I have learned, and strategies for how other centers can become more youth driven.  

I have seen each side of school-based health from a student’s perspective. I have gone into my SBHC for check-ups for my physical wellbeing, seen a provider for mental health, and was the president of my SBHC’s Youth Advisory Council. From the primary care side of the center the staff was amazing. They cared about me, remembered my name, and encouraged me to take an active role in my health. My staff treated every client with respect and confidentiality and made the transition to a youth driven SBHC simple. When my SBHC wanted to be more youth driven, they asked the students they served the best way to start a group. The Youth Advisory Council increased the center’s focus on youth. As a council we launched student health initiatives with our SBHC that were important to students. We knew when and how to reach our peers. This aided our center’s ability to help more students and provide the services they needed.

From my experience, there are three key steps to making an SBHC more youth driven.

  1.  The first step is to build relationships. Building relationships with students begins the moment they walk through the door. Be authentic with them and reassuring. You do not have to pretend to be their best friend but encourage the healthy behaviors they are exhibiting. Provide students with youth friendly literature in the lobby. If a student has something they want to know more about but are too afraid to ask, a pamphlet or poster might be the answer for them. It might even give them the confidence to ask questions. Build relationships with the faculty at your school. Faculty can be a great resource especially the health teacher, the advisor of student council, or an advisor of any service organizations on campus. These relationships can connect you to students who might want to be involved with the SBHC beyond a patient level. Lastly, build relationships with community partners. My home state is fairly conservative and my SBHC wasn’t allowed to provide full sexual health services or education (only STI screening and condoms without advertising their availability). Partnering with community agencies who could meet these needs meant building relationships and establishing a steady referral process. This holds true to any service your center cannot provide. Relationships are the foundation for the next step.
  2.  The second step to making an SBHC more youth focused is to ask for help. Ask your students if they would be interested in starting a council. Ask the National Honor Society if they want to fulfill their service hours by helping to create a health fair. Ask your student council if they want to start a campaign surrounding sexual health. It is important to remember that the center is not only a resource to the school, but the school is a resource for the center. You can partner with different people within your school to improve the function and reach of your SBHC. The center can not only be a place of healing and learning, but also a place of opportunity and development for students to make a difference in their schools and in their health.
  3.  The final step is to take action. With better school integration, use your new relationships and resources to do something. This can take on many forms. Ask your youth what needs they have. If your council wants more education and access to reproductive health services, help them educate stakeholders at the school, local, and state levels for better policy suited for this. If your student council wants to create their own pamphlet about the health risks of underage drinking to be handed out with every prom ticket, your center can help provide information to guide them. Even something as small as a school club asking for a staff member from the SBHC to come speak at a meeting about anxiety can be a powerful action. The information you gather from asking for help should fuel the actions the SBHC takes.

 My school-based health center was more than a place where I got my physicals for sports. I learned how to be a leader, how to organize and how to be an advocate. It is no coincidence that, even in college, my involvement in youth health has not stopped. I am a School-Based Health Alliance Youth Development Intern and a member of the Alliance’s Youth Advisory Council. On my campus, Texas Christian University, I am involved in setting up an event called “Take Back the Night” that raises awareness about sexual violence and supports survivors. The skills and confidence that I gained in high school are the basis of my advocacy and a youth driven SBHC was instrumental to my life. From my experience, an SBHC serves students better when they recognize them as partners and assets to inform and lead the movement for quality, equitable health care.


2018 National Healthy Schools Day AASA Blog Tour: School Safety and Positive Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Overview

(Coordinated School Health, National Awareness, Student Support Services) Permanent link

 National Healthy Schools Daynewsletter

 As part of National Healthy Schools Day today, AASA Children’s Programs Department hosted a blog tour on school safety to help stimulate conversation on healthy schools and positive SEL, in response to the debate surrounding our schools in light of recent violence in Florida and elsewhere. Participants were asked to one or both of the following questions:

  1. Considering the continued threat of gun violence in our schools, what does a healthy school look like to you today? Have school shootings altered your view of what it means to be a healthy school?
  2.  How can school system leaders help children in their district feel safe, as well as have their physical and social-emotional needs met in a healthy school environment?

CoCAT school safety pop up

Below is a list of the posts that were published as part of the Blog Tour:

Superintendent Voice

Public Health Organizations

Higher Education Researchers

LGBTQ & Student Voice 

  • Time Out Youth, a youth center for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth and their allies, ages 11-20, in Charlotte, NC and the surrounding areas.  


Blog Tour: Healthy and Safe at School: If not now, when?

(National Awareness, Student Support Services) Permanent link

The following is cross-post by Donna Mazyck, MS, RN, NCSN, CAE , Executive Director of the National Association of School Nurses. The original post can be found here. 

What do you say when a third grade student asks a trusted teacher if she is safe from violent intruders in the school? Who champions implementation of a dormant school wellness policy in order to support students with the best nutrition and physical activity choices? How do you press past frustration with social factors that impact the health of children and youth? On this National Healthy Schools day we ask: How can school system leaders help children in their district feel safe, as well as have their physical and social-emotional needs met in a healthy school environment?

The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) envisions school communities where students are healthy, safe, and ready to learn. Violent acts, such as school shootings, threaten the safety and well-being of students and school staff; action must be focused on common sense solutions. As with any complex and multifaceted situations, a multi-disciplinary approach enables interventions.

What we do know is that a healthy school environment begins with a student-centered collaborative approach by leaders within schools and communities. The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model centers on the whole child and incorporates 10 components vital for a healthy and safe school environment. The WSCC model components include.

  •  Counseling, Psychological & Social Services
  • Social & Emotional Climate
  • Physical Environment
  • Employee Wellness
  • Family Engagement
  • Community Involvement
  • Health Education
  • Physical Education & Physical Activity
  • Nutrition Environment & Services
  • Health Services

 That third grade student who wonders if she is safe from violent intruders in her school relies on the trusted teacher who depends on the school administrator who convenes an emergency preparedness of staff and community partners to plan, mitigate, train, and practice response to the plan. The specialized instructional support team, i.e., school counselor, school nurse, school psychologist, and school social worker, focus on counseling, psychological, social and emotional climate.

NASN Blog Tour April 2018

A new school nurse who found an untapped wellness policy in her school district organized a wellness committee that would oversee implementation of wellness policy activities. Parents, school superintendent, principals, school nurses, and community members became the wellness committee. After completing the CDC’s School Health Index – a self assessment and planning tool – the wellness committee had the information needed to learn the school strengths and growth opportunities. The next step involved identifying recommendations to foster a healthy and safe school environment.

Another aspect of attending to student well-being is to acknowledge the factors that are barriers to health. School nurses assess social determinants and connect students and families with community resources that may address those factors.
NASN’s vision is for all students to be healthy and safe in schools. Now is the time for making schools healthy and safe environments.