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Articles: Health & Wellness

One in four California sixth-graders has never seen a dentist. A student at Harmon Johnson Elementary School in Sacramento, above, gets a cleaning. A University of the Pacific study helped establish on-site dental care to high-needs schools.

A quarter of California students have never seen a dentist by the time they complete fifth grade, according to a recently completed six-year study by the University of the Pacific.

Paul Glassman, the director of Pacific Center for Special Care, a program of the university’s dentistry, established dental care in various high-needs schools in 2010. The project has already inspired legislation to help fund more dental services.

Glenn E. Gustafson is chief financial officer and Jessica Reijgers is employee benefits manager for Colorado Springs District 11.

School districts have struggled for many years with the escalating cost of healthcare. Do you have to reduce benefits to be affordable? Do you have to shift costs between the district and the employee? Is there a better way? In Colorado Springs School District 11, we think we have found one.

Almost four years after the tragic shootings, the $50 million, 86,000-square-foot Sandy Hook Elementary School opened in late August to 400 students in pre-K through grade 4. The building includes a number of new safety measures, such as secure doors, video monitoring and impact-resistant windows. 

More than five years after Congress required schools to serve healthier food, districts are using social media, technology tools and old-fashioned personal outreach to connect with parents. The goal: persuading them that today’s school meals are nothing like the sometimes unhealthy foods they remember from their own childhoods.

A school in Georgia made national headlines when parents opposed using yoga to help students relieve stress and increase focus. They said it promotes a Far East religion, though many practitioners disagree with that view.

On Kids Yoga Day this spring, children across the nation learned downward dog, the tree and the frog, among many other positions. One instructor says that students need just five minutes of bending and breathing to shed stress and re-focus on classroom instruction.

Fears of lead-tainted water in U.S. schools surged this year at the same time a report found the nation spends $46 billion less on annual school construction and maintenance than is necessary to ensure safe and healthy facilities.

For Portland Public School students in Oregon involved in The Circus Project, tumbling, acrobatics, juggling and conditioning activities help them learn to trust each other and themselves more.

Students will likely choose healthier meals if provided with more comfortable places to eat. Modern lighting and food-court style designs can draw students to dining areas while school gardens can provide learning experiences and also supply cafeterias with fresh, less expensive produce.

With the Healthvana app, LAUSD students can find clinics that provide free HIV and STD testing in their area.

Los Angeles USD started using an app this semester to better connect students to free HIV and STD testing. The free app features an HIV and STD testing-site locator. It also allows students to make appointments and delivers test results.

ool Nurses, holds the inhalant form of Narcan, the emergency antidote that can revive students after a heroin overdose.

The number of districts and states rushing to stock an emergency antidote that can revive students suffering heroin overdoses shows the severe degree to which the nation’s latest drug epidemic has disrupted schools.

 Superintendent Barbara P. Canavan of Harford County Schools in Maryland speaks during a recent student summit on drug abuse. Among a range of other initiatives, the district shares data about the number of students who never use drugs in an effort to discourage others from becoming addicted.

Prevent people from starting heroin

  • Reduce prescription opioid painkiller abuse.
  • Improve opioid painkiller prescribing practices and identify high-risk individuals early. 

Reduce heroin addiction

  • Ensure access to Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT).
  • Treat people addicted to heroin or prescription opioid painkillers with MAT, which combines the use of medications (methadone, buprenorphine or naltrexone) with counseling and behavioral therapies. 

Reverse heroin overdose

    School’s certainly in session for canines throughout the nation: Therapy dogs, security dogs, and service dogs walk the halls alongside students in many schools. Here is a look at five more districts that have welcomed canines into classrooms in recent years.

    Students from Minford High School in Ohio visit with therapy dog Bella after a fellow student was killed.

    Here are some tips from Jen VonLintel, of School Therapy Dogs: 

    Find studies that show benefits. A binder of research and examples of dogs working in schools can be key to gaining the support of top administrators and/or the school board. Include insurance documents, training data, vet certificates and reports on progress made by students who have worked with therapy dogs.   

    In the mountains of western North Carolina, administrators in Buncombe County Schools have seen a steady rise in the number of its 25,500 students who are homeless, food-insecure and involved in domestic violence.

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