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Articles: Health & Wellness

First-time Superintendent Bilal Tawwab took over Flint's public schools just a month before the city's water crisis erupted.

First-time Superintendent Bilal Tawwab started work at Flint Community Schools in September, prepared to take on the district’s budget deficit of $10.5 million and a number of poor-performing schools. The city’s infamous water crisis erupted during his first month at the helm of the district of 7,000 students

Eagle Mountain Elementary, part of Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD in Texas, adopted a Finnish model pilot program structured around four short recess periods each day.

Multiple studies affirm the importance of play in children’s physical and mental health. At four Texas elementary schools, students have more time for swings, monkey bars and outdoor games after administrators adopted a Finnish model structured around four short recess periods each day.

In June, Maine became the first state to require all school districts to create a policy on use of the substance. Colorado and New Jersey also passed laws in the last year permitting certain students to receive the treatment in K12 schools.

Fewer than half of high schools and only one-fifth of middle schools offer comprehensive sex education, according to a December report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

New York University education professor Jonathan Zimmerman’s new book looks at the history of sex ed and how schools can give students the information they want about healthy behaviors.

New York University education professor Jonathan Zimmerman’s new book looks at the history of sex ed and how schools can use technology and connections with community groups to give students the information they want about healthy behaviors.

Photo Essay: A ball pit, trampoline, squeeze machine, swing, balance beam and tactile boxes offer a sensory break from overstimulation—bright lights, loud noises and constant motion of a classroom—to elementary students at Woodbury City Public Schools in New Jersey.

The American Diabetes Association’s Safe at School program educates parents and district staff about students’ rights to school services.

A number of schools fail to provide routine care such as blood sugar monitoring and insulin shots for a growing number of diabetic students—in violation of federal law, health experts say.

Schools can bill Medicaid beyond special ed services, for various health assessments and treatments that school nurses or school-based clinics provide daily

Schools can be reimbursed for providing many general health services—a new benefit thanks to a change in federal law.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced the shift in December 2014, but many districts miss out on this source of federal funding that can lead to improvements in student health, experts say.

School gardens used for instruction are on the rise nationwide, and with them, student engagement and test scores, according to a recent study.

The nonprofit REAL School Gardens works with corporations to build outdoor classrooms at low-income schools. The gardens include 150 square feet of vegetable beds, perennial and herb beds, rainwater collection systems, composting bins, earth science stations, and animal habitats.

Low-income students are more likely to have uncorrected vision problems. (Click to enlarge)

Millions of youth are disproportionately affected by health problems that impair their motivation and ability to learn, according to the August Education Commission of the States report, “Heath barriers to learning and the education opportunity gap.”

Schools can play a central role in identifying unmet student health needs, and connecting students to community health services, the report states.

The accompanying graphics shows some major health barriers to learning.

Psychologists from Ardsley Union Free School District in New York use behavioral therapy for students who injure themselves.

Emergency room visits for self-inflicted injuries in adolescents have risen significantly since 2009, according to a study in July Pediatrics. Schools looking to curb this behavior have turned to new mental health programs that focus on navigating stress and emotional regulation.

By the time a 220-pound linebacker gets in his way, a high school running back has built significant momentum. The resulting collisions have been described with metaphors involving rams, brick walls and Mack trucks.

Two students at the Shaker Heights City School District help tend to their high school garden project—part outdoor learning lab and part “market” for their school lunches.

Students ease stress with stretches in elementary school yoga sessions. In another district, students taste vegetables they’ve never tried before after growing produce in a school garden. Elsewhere, more students eat healthy breakfasts they’ve grabbed from convenient to-go carts in the morning. This kind of innovation is evident across the country, as district leaders find new ways to promote health and wellness.

Students in four classrooms at Vallecito Elementary School, part of Dixie School District outside of San Francisco, now use standing desks.

Students show stronger concentration when working at standing desks, according to new research. A recent study in the International Journal of Health Promotion and Education found that students using standing desks improved their ability to stay on task in class by 12 percent—the equivalent of gaining seven minutes per hour of instruction time.

Researchers from Texas A&M and the University of Louisville studied 282 students in grades 2 through 4 for an academic year. Twenty-four classrooms were randomly chosen to receive standing desks or keep traditional seated desks.

Tom Wohlleber, assistant superintendent for business services for Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District, leads a safety session with administrators and teachers.

A “culture of safety”—at all levels of a district—is the first and most critical step in dealing with occupational injury. It also guides the prevention of, response to and mitigation of hazards in the workplace, including staff behavior.

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