Working Together to Improve Learning and Health
Health and education affect individuals, society, and the economy and, therefore, must work together whenever possible. Schools are a perfect setting for this collaboration. Schools are one of the most efficient systems for reaching children and youth to provide health services and programs, as approximately 95 percent of all U.S. children and youth attend school. To date, however, integrating health services and programs more deeply into the day-to-day life of schools and students remains a largely untapped tool for raising academic achievement and improving learning. This month, the Whole Child Podcast shares a two-part discussion on the importance of a healthy—safe, secure, and connected—learning environment and how unifying the fields of education and health in the school and community settings can aid the growth, development, and learning of all children.
In the first episode, the panelists look at the benefits of a healthy learning environment from the education perspective. We ask, “Why should education (principals, teachers, and students) be concerned about health?” Listen to the episode below or download it here.
- Robert Balfanz, PhD, is a research professor at the Center for Social Organization of Schools at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Education, codirector of Talent Development Secondary, and director of the Everyone Graduates Center. He focuses on translating research findings into effective school interventions and has published widely on secondary school reform, high school dropouts, early warning systems, chronic absenteeism, school climate, and instructional interventions in high-poverty schools.
- Kathleen M. Budge, PhD, is the coordinator of the Leadership Development Program at Boise State University and an associate professor in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Foundational Studies, where her research and scholarly activity focuses on educational leadership, leadership development, rural education, school improvement, and poverty. She has presented and written frequently on these topics, including coauthoring the award-winning ASCD book Turning High-Poverty Schools into High-Performing Schools.
- Mark Pinder, MEd, is the principal of Milwaukie High School and the winner of the 2013 Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award. Milwaukie High School is in an incorporated city bordering Portland, Oregon, with an enrollment of 1,400 students (9th through 12th grade), of which 60 percent are part of the federal free or reduced lunch program. Twenty-eight percent of the students are Hispanic and 14 percent are English language learners.
The second episode features panelists from the public health sector who take an in-depth look at the new Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model, from its rationale, to its objectives, to its potential to develop a collaborative approach to learning and health. We ask, “How can school health teams use this model to start a conversation with educators?” Listen to the episode below or download it here.
- Wayne H. Giles, MD, MS, is the director of the Division of Population Health within the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He directs research and programmatic activities in arthritis, aging, alcohol, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, disease prevention, school health, and epilepsy.
- Holly Hunt, MA, is the chief of the School Health Branch in the Division of Population Health within the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the CDC. The School Health Branch leads chronic disease prevention activities specifically for children and adolescents in schools and focuses on obesity prevention, nutrition, physical activity, and tobacco prevention and control. Hunt leads innovative projects in research application, evaluation, and program and professional development.
- Lloyd J. Kolbe, PhD, is an emeritus professor of applied health science at the School of Public Health at Indiana University Bloomington. He consults for the government, businesses, and industries on public policy research and development to improve the health and education of children and young people. Kolbe served as founding director of the CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health from 1988 to 2003 and then as a professor and associate dean for the Office of Global & Community Health Partnerships at the School of Public Health at Indiana University Bloomington from 2004 to 2010.
- Laura Rooney, MPH, is the manager of the Adolescent Health Program at the Ohio Department of Health and a school health liaison to the Ohio Department of Education regarding policies and programs in schools. She also convenes a state-level school health advisory collaborative to improve health outcomes of school-age children and is a member of Ohio ASCD’s Whole Child Planning Committee.
The new WSCC model is the next evolution of the traditional coordinated school health approach. Developed by ASCD and the CDC and launched in spring 2014, the model aims to better align the policies, processes, and practices of education, public health, and school health, and, in doing so, improve learning and health. ASCD and CDC encourage use of the model as a framework for improving students’ learning and health in our nation’s schools. The model is in the public domain and schools, districts, states, and school health organizations are welcome to use the model in the planning and implementation of coordinated school health initiatives and programs. Go to www.ascd.org/learningandhealth to learn more, request materials, and get started.
The Whole Child Podcast: Changing the Conversation about Education seeks to inform and engage educators, parents, and community members about what works in today’s schools. Guests include educational leaders, practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and students from around the globe who share their insights about sound education policies and practices that ensure that each student is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.