A Comprehensive Approach for Healthy Schools
Healthy Schools Campaign (HSC), a national nonprofit organization, works to ensure that schools can provide students with healthy environments, nutritious food, health services and opportunities for physical activity.
Our approach is strategic and comprehensive. Drawing on our work in Chicago Public Schools, we develop policy and program recommendations supporting healthy schools and advocate for these recommendations at the local, state and national level.
We also help to strengthen the leadership skills of parents, students and school staff and administrators so they can advocate on their own behalf, and we work to build support for student health and wellness in the education sector and beyond. Learn more about our approach in this brief video.
We are primarily concerned with the needs of schools whose students are affected by health inequities, particularly in communities of color and low-income communities.
In our early years, HSC focused on specific health issues such as the rising rates of asthma and childhood obesity. Since then, we have expanded our scope to address the multiple components of a healthy school, from helping to develop outdoor learning spaces that offer neighborhood benefits to providing guidance on expanding school-based health services.
By engaging with parents, teachers, school leaders and policymakers, we help schools increase their capacity to address student health needs and work to ensure that policies are in place to support healthy school environments. We publish reports, policy recommendations and toolkits that stakeholders can use to advance these efforts.
Learn more about HSC’s programs and policy initiatives.
Local Change, National Impact
Our work began and is still based in Chicago, where we work closely with local schools on implementing wellness policies that improve student outcomes and address health disparities. One of the focus areas is school food. In 2007, we first engaged Chicago high school culinary students in a healthy cooking contest, Cooking up Change, to develop and serve tasty recipes that meet or exceed federal nutritional guidelines and come in within budget.
Cooking up Change expanded nationwide, with student teams traveling to Washington, D.C., to compete in a national competition and meet with elected officials. Today, more than 2,000 students have taken part in the program, and many of their recipes have been incorporated into school menus. This is one example of how HSC centers student voices in advocating for change.