Our recent article featured the CDC school health activities currently underway by the Department of Health’s (DOH) in the Community Health and Wellness Services unit. The funding cycle for these activities end June 2018. However, the Child and Adolescent Health Program in the Department’s Maternal and Child Health Services unit, with funding support from the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant, has funded school health and wellness activities in the state since 2010 and anticipates continuing to do so in the foreseeable future.The EvidenceThe Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model is a CDC recommended strategy for improving students’ health and learning in schools. Student health is strongly linked to academic success and the academic success of students is strongly linked to their health.
Thus, helping students stay healthy is fundamental to learning.
According to research cited on CDC’s website:
- Hunger (lack of breakfast), chronic health conditions including asthma, obesity, diabetes and depression, or physical and emotional abuse can lead to poor school performance.
- Health-risk behaviors such as early sexual initiation, violence, and physical inactivity are consistently linked to lower grades and test scores.
The School Health NJ ProjectThe DOH funds three grantees, each having a seven county service area, to promote the CDC WSCC model. The regional grantees are:
|DOH Regional Grantee Agency||Service Area|
|Center for Prevention and Counseling Inc (northern)||Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Sussex and Warren counties|
|Empower Somerset (central)||Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Somerset and Union counties|
|Atlanticare Foundation (southern)||Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties|
In addition to the three DOH Regional Grantees, the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN) is funded to implement a Parents as Champions (PAC) for Healthy Schools training.
This training is designed to empower parents as agents of change in promoting healthier schools.
Interested schools and parents can find additional resources at CDC’s Parents for Healthy Schools.The goal of the School Health NJ Project is to improve the physical, mental, emotional and social health and well-being of students and school staff, as well as the health and safety of the school environment.
In partnership with Sustainable Jersey for Schools, this project uses a competitive application process to fund (up to $4,000) 30 public middle- and high-schools to implement one the following health and wellness actions:
- Create an Asthma Friendly School
- Implement Breakfast After the Bell
- Offer Healthy Food Choices
- Access to Free and Healthy Water
- Create or Strengthen Policies to Promote Physical Activity
- Implement Programs to Promote Physical Activity
- Create or Expand a School Garden
- Create a School Wellness Council and Conduct a School Health Assessment
- Implement a Staff Wellness Program
- Creating Opportunities for Personal Empowerment (COPE) Thinking, Emotions, Exercise, Nutrition (TEEN)
- Improving School Culture and Climate
For more information contact about this project, contact Pam Pastorino, firstname.lastname@example.org in the northern NJ region; Kristen Schiro, email@example.com in the central region and Amy Hogan, firstname.lastname@example.org in the southern region.