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Articles: Health & Wellness

High school students in the tiny Magazine School District in Arkansas receive three hours of sex education a year in grades 9 through 12—an approach that Superintendent Brett Bunch acknowledges is inadequate. 

SMILE EVERY DAY—Magazine second-graders brush their teeth during a wellness center event that promotes healthy living for K12 and the community.

Some parents of students in Magazine, Arkansas, can’t afford the gas to drive their sick child 50 miles to the nearest doctor, says Brett Bunch, superintendent of the town’s school district.

Interest in virtual reality is becoming an increasing reality in public schools as ed-tech companies offer more cost-effective devices.

As we face a new year with a new president, Newsletter Editor Ariana Fine looked back on 2016 to consider the biggest and most influential stories in K12 education. 

A 2015 study shows that education that focuses on the causes and consequences of depression and how to cultivate healthy emotions can decrease the rise of suicide.

The suicide rate among 10- to 14-year-olds is on the rise. While the statistics are dire, a solution seems to be taking shape. Prevention may be in the hands of the students themselves.

Since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, K12 students face suspension before expulsion when found in possession of the drug. (GettyImages.com: Traffic_Analyzer)

Superintendents in states that passed referendums legalizing marijuana in November are pressing for more clear legal guidance on how to best address issues like drug possession. They also say more research is needed on the possible impacts of marijuana legalization on K12 academic achievement. 

The U.S. Department of Education has released guidance over the new Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants, a funding initiative under ESSA. (Gettyimages.com: Macrovector)The U.S. Department of Education has released guidance over the new Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants, a funding initiative under ESSA. (Gettyimages.com: Macrovector)

Schools that offer more comprehensive instruction, increase school safety and student health, and better integrate educational technology may be eligible for new federal funds. A new grant program from the U.S. Department of Education will reward schools that improve access to music, social studies, environmental education and computer science.

Research regarding the effectiveness of random drug testing of students at school is scarce and inconsistent.

About 27 percent of high schools nationwide have a form of student drug testing. Some schools also perform “reasonable suspicion” testing on students who show evidence of illegal drug use, which can include abnormal behavior or physical symptoms.

 One child in five has had or will have a “seriously debilitating mental disorder,” according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Educators in Virginia’s Fairfax County Public Schools intend to remove the obstacles that prevent students who have severe social anxiety from attending school, a phenomenon known as “school refusal behavior.”

Terry Schmitz,  Founder,  The Conover Company

Most SEL programs today rely on surveying students. But surveys are self-reflective, so they tend not to be accurate. If you ask students if they have issues with time management, they might say no, even if they do.

Passion project: Students in Deerfield Public Schools in Illinois created a healthy and tasty snacks project, with a goal to reveal the guidelines of the district's Food Management Plan snack policy.

Shortly after a teacher inadvertently gave almond biscotti to a student allergic to dairy and nuts, Deerfield Public Schools Superintendent Michael Lubelfeld convened the first of several meetings for parents of students with allergies.

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.

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