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What is a Thriving School?

As a national effort with partnerships extending across the country, Kaiser Permanente Thriving Schools seeks to impact health in schools on a broad scale while addressing high priority health needs in the specific communities where we operate. We collaborate closely with more than 300 schools across our eight regions to provide site-specific programming support, and we offer a range of school health resources and information to thousands more schools across the country through our website and various health education campaigns.

Our vision is that every community can count on their school as a champion for good health that enables great learning.

While we cannot be in every school, we believe that any school can become a thriving school. Schools that are actively engaged in promoting the health and well-being of students, staff, and teachers are well on their way.

Consider how your school operates on most days. Where are the barriers to health? What opportunities can you act on?

My School is…

The following list offers action steps that school wellness champions and district leaders can take to strengthen health. Use this list as a guide to evaluate your school’s efforts and develop new initiatives.

General Wellness Policies and Practices

  • Implementing a school or district wellness policy.
  • Providing professional development opportunities for staff focused on healthy eating, physical activity and/or social and emotional health and wellness.
  • Dedicating a staff member or team to address school health and safety environment.

To take action on General Wellness Policies and Practices, go here.

Physical Education/Physical Activity

  • Providing a structured PE program with 200 minutes minimum every 10 days in elementary school or 400 minutes minimum every 10 days in middle/high school.
  • Encouraging students and staff to walk and bike to school (e.g. bike rack, crossing guards).
  • Encouraging teachers to incorporate physical activity into classroom instruction (e.g. physical activity breaks, physical activity in lesson plans).

To take action on Physical Education/Physical Activity, go here.

Healthy Foods and Beverages

  • Providing the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program that meets federal standards for school meals and snacks.
  • Implementing healthy school fundraising and celebration practices that replace junk food with healthy foods and fun physical activities.
  • Making available safe, free drinking water that is easily accessible to all students and staff on campus.

To take action on Healthy Foods and Beverages, go here.

School Health/Mental Health Services

  • Maintaining systems to address health emergencies and support students with chronic health conditions.
  • Dedicating a staff member or team to link students/staff/family to needed health and social-emotional services onsite or in the community.

To take action on School Health/Mental Health Services, go here.

School Climate

School climate refers to the quality and character of school life encompassing norms, values, relationships, teaching and learning practices, and organizational structures.

  • Implementing a policy to address harassment and bullying.
  • Implementing positive discipline policies and procedures that are just and clear, and aimed at decreasing suspension rates and teaching positive social behaviors, such as cooperation, conflict resolution, and helping others.

To take action on School Climate, go here.

Staff Wellness

  • Dedicating a staff member or team to address staff wellness.*
  • Adopting and implementing a staff wellness policy*
  • Offering programs to support staff physical health (e.g. physical activity/fitness, flu shots).
  • Offering programs to promote staff social-emotional health/stress reduction (e.g. team building).
  • Ensuring the school campus makes healthy food easily accessible for staff.
  • Ensuring the school campus makes physical activity easily accessible for staff.

To take action on Staff Wellness, go here.

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