The state profiles were updated on 6/27/2019 to correct a data reporting error for two variables (competitive food and sport participation fees) for some states.
A healthy school is one that fully supports a student’s academic, physical, emotional, and social well-being. Increasingly, state education policies are moving beyond a focus on academic mastery to include aspects of healthy schools. Despite a growing knowledge base that stresses important linkages among aspects of well-being, policies tend to address students’ physical health separately from their mental and emotional health, which are, in turn, both addressed separately from a school’s social and emotional climate. To date, reflecting the siloed nature of policies, no comprehensive analysis of state policies has covered all domains of healthy schools.
As part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Together for Healthy and Successful Schools Initiative, Child Trends partnered with the Institute for Health Research and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago and EMT Associates, Inc. to review relevant state statutes and regulations enacted as of September 2017 and analyze their alignment with the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model of healthy schools. The WSCC covers 10 domains: health education; physical education and physical activity; nutrition environment and services; health services; counseling, psychological, and social services; social and emotional climate; physical environment; employee wellness; family engagement; and community involvement. Findings from this work are compiled in three products to help policymakers and advocates better understand the current landscape and consider the creation of policies that promote healthy schools:
A series of briefs describing states’ overall coverage of the WSCC and the comprehensiveness of each WSCC domain:
A series of cross-domain briefs that explore common policy approaches that bridge the WSCC framework (i.e., partnerships, student supports, and professional development)
State-by-state profiles detailing each state’s overall comprehensiveness, as well as details on how each state approaches selected topic areas from each WSCC domain:
Detailed data, including the associated statutory and regulatory language, are also available through the National Association of State Boards of Education’s State Policy Database on School Health.
We assessed each state’s coverage of the WSCC domains based on a set of topics identified through existing federal and NGO policy guidance. States were assessed as having no coverage, low coverage, moderate coverage, or comprehensive coverage based on the percentage of topics addressed in a given domain. States were then rated on the breadth and depth of their coverage of all 10 domains: deep (6 or more comprehensive domains), broad (8 or more moderate or comprehensive domains), limited (3 to 5 low domains), or weak (more than 6 low domains).
These products are part of a broader package of materials designed to help policymakers and advocates consider a more integrated approach to healthy school policies. Related materials include:
District of Columbia
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