So you’re ready to make positive changes in your school to support a healthy school environment. Congratulations! You’ve got your plan outlined. You’ve brought your partners together to help engage in the work. The school administration has given the thumbs up. But…you’re just not sure where to begin or how to get the resources to take action on your plans. Maybe you need some inspiration! The case studies below are offered to help you explore how schools are turning their vision for positive, healthy change into action.
Action Plan Case Studies
These stories illustrate the clever ways that some schools have created healthy school environments, often with very little funding. Schools highlighted here have been charged with creating a Healthy Schools Action Plan to promote healthy school campuses and wellness policies, with support from Kaiser Permanente Thriving Schools and the Alliance for Healthier Generation.
Students and Staff Partner for Healthy Hydration
El Cerrito High School is committed to engaging stakeholders at all levels in designing and implementing wellness initiatives for students and staff. When student leaders raised concerns about access to clean, fresh drinking water, the school health center staff and student leaders partnered to get new water stations installed at their school.
Scaling the Heights of Health: Climbing Wall Enriches Physical Activity Opportunities
E.W. Oliver Elementary School in Riverdale, GA takes seriously the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations that children get 60 minutes of physical activity each day. To engage the students in fresh ways, the school expanded their PE programming to include a rock climbing wall. The climbing wall has been used into a number of classroom lessons to help illustrate concepts ranging from math to social studies in addition to physical education.
Making Healthy, Clean Drinking Water the Norm
Martin Luther King Jr. High School in Pittsburg, CA wanted to encourage their students to drink more water instead of unhealthy sugar-sweetened beverages. Yet, teachers realized that traditional water fountains offered only part of the answer. They also wanted to align water access with the school’s commitment to the environment. Their solution? Installing water bottle refilling stations.
Supporting Social and Emotional Wellbeing in the Classroom
Barclay Elementary School in Baltimore, Maryland recognizes the importance of promoting self-calming practices to support student resilience. The school recently embarked on an innovative initiative to establish “quiet corners” in classrooms. These safe spaces allow students to engage in healthy coping strategies that are restorative and that foster a more positive school environment for everyone.
A Hub for Health: Renovating a Fitness Center for Staff Wellness
Mt. Solo Middle School in Longview, WA saw that their staff were enjoying easy access to the school’s fitness center facilities to help them get their regular physical activity and support their overall well-being. But much of the school’s equipment had long been in need of repair. So the school did an overhaul of their fitness center equipment and even expanded access to the fitness center to staff from surrounding schools in the district.
Cafeteria Classroom Creates Space and Tools to Foster Healthy Habits
Capital City Public Charter School system’s middle school in Washington, DC took their interest in fostering healthier eating habits to a whole new level. Recognizing the value of hands-on educational opportunities for building life-long healthy habits, the school created its Culinary Center. A designated classroom space in the cafeteria, the Culinary Center enables students and staff to learn to prepare healthy meals, gaining experience through cooking demonstrations and lessons that are bound to make them top chefs.
Repurposing Community Space for Walking and Wellness
Alvord High School was interested in expanding opportunities for physical activity for both students and staff and saw great potential in a rarely used grassy field behind the school. The school set in motion a plan to create a small track — or “fit trail” — out of the underutilized field that could serve as an inviting outdoor physical activity space for students and staff and the broader community.
Cultivating a Healthy School Culture: Physical Activity Rewards for Staff and Students
Loma Vista Middle School in Riverside, CA has been aggressively working to improve the wellbeing of students, staff, parents and community members through their efforts to promote physical activity and advance healthy school policies at the district and state level. But they recognized there was more they could do to increase engagement in wellness programs and promote healthy eating. So the school embarked on a series of steps to foster a culture of health by establishing physical activity rewards for staff and students offering a chance for everyone to be a winner.
Innovative Smoothie Program Boosts Breakfast Participation
Wells Middle School in Riverside, CA has been motivated by the abundance of research linking healthy nutritious school meals, particularly breakfast meals, with student academic achievement. In an effort to increase participation in breakfast meal programs and support students and staff in getting plenty of healthy fruits, the school implemented a breakfast smoothie program that was the perfect blend for success.
School Employee Wellness Case Studies
These stories highlight ways that school administrators and unions are working together to strengthen staff and teacher wellness in schools.
School Employee Wellness Through Collaboration
Kaiser Permanente — with input from researchers, unions and administration associations — developed a Guide to School Employee Well-Being Through Collaboration. This resource provides a roadmap for unions and school district administrators at all levels to work together to build successful employee well-being initiatives.
Championing School Employee Wellness
Wellness Champions in eight Baltimore County Public Schools designed and implemented a range of activities aimed at improving school employee wellness, such as after-school yoga classes, stress-reduction activities at staff meetings, renovated break rooms and kitchens, and adding new exercise equipment.
Advancing Wellness Through Labor Management Partnership
San Leandro Unified School District in California stepped up their employee wellness efforts by raising these needs during bargaining discussions between the teacher’s union and the district management. A labor management group was convened to explore strategies for addressing employee wellness and develop a wellness policy that emphasized employee health and its connection to student success.
Tell Us Your Story!
We’re looking for stories that highlight easy and fun ideas that are implemented by people like you. Share your story of how you are advocating for healthy changes at your school.