Every year, Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a children’s health organization supported by Kaiser Permanente, recognizes “America’s Healthiest Schools.” The awards are one of the longest-running nationwide recognition programs honoring schools for achievements in supporting the whole health needs of students and staff.
Awards are given across nine topic areas related to advancing the physical, mental, and social-emotional health of students, teachers, staff, and families. Two of the areas are core to the Thriving Schools mission: “Strengthening Social-Emotional Health and Learning” and “Cultivating Staff Well-Being.” Kaiser Permanente is proud to sponsor both award categories.
The 781 awardees across all areas make up the largest total in the history of the program. Of these, a total of 149 were recognized for implementing best practices around social-emotional health and 201 for staff well-being. The social-emotional health awardees demonstrated excellence by using positive motivation for student learning and implementing supportive disciplinary practices focused on reflection and restoration. The staff well-being awardees demonstrated excellence by promoting positive relationship-building among staff and providing accessible spaces in schools for staff breaks and relaxation. Many of these schools received program manager support through Kaiser Permanente during the year.
“Healthy schools support better attendance and improved learning for children and higher job satisfaction among teachers and staff,” said Annie Reed, DrPH, MPP, executive director for Kaiser Permanente Thriving Schools. “We’re thrilled to support and honor schools that are doing the work to help lead the way and ensure a better tomorrow for students across the country.”
America’s Healthiest Schools recognition program honors schools’ extraordinary efforts to advance the cycle of achievement in whole child health equity especially for Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color (BIPOC) youth and staff from under-resourced communities. Among this year’s America’s Healthiest Schools, more than 75% of the awardees are Title I schools and more than half serve a majority BIPOC students. As honorees of the recognition program, schools reinforce their central role as powerful agents of impact and change for their community at-large.
“It is a known reality that student and staff health and well-being has been adversely affected by traumatic events of the past few years,” said Kathy Higgins, chief executive officer at Healthier Generation. “Schools awarded in ‘Strengthening Social-Emotional Health & Learning’ and ‘Cultivating Staff Well-Being’ topic areas serve as a beacon of what health outcomes are possible when students and staff work together to build trusting relationships, foundational to school-wide resiliency and well-being for years to come.”
Becoming one of America’s Healthiest Schools
Interested in tools and guidance to help your school create healthier environments that support students’ physical, social, and emotional well-being? Get started by visiting the Healthier Generation Action Center and creating a free account. From there, you can access the Thriving Schools Integrated Assessment and other resources to address the specific needs of your school community.
And stay tuned to our Thriving Schools blog for stories highlighting some of America’s Healthiest Schools and their incredible achievements.
Learn more about America’s Healthiest Schools 2023 awardees.