The 10-Year Roadmap for Healthy Schools
June 21, 2022 | Written By: Healthy Schools Campaign
Visit HealthySchoolsRoadmap.org for a guide to supporting connections between health and learning.
Increased awareness of the connection between health and learning — namely that healthy students are better learners, and academic achievement increases opportunities for a healthier life — has led to strong support for healthy schools.
However, there remains a wide gap between that crucial understanding and the policies and practices that affect student health.
While inequities across race, ethnicity and income have long affected student health and education outcomes, the COVID-19 pandemic revealed, in the starkest of terms, that while the science might be clear, the supporting systems — from ensuring students are fed and nourished to providing physical, behavioral and mental healthcare — are broken.
That’s why Healthy Schools Campaign is pleased to work with more than a dozen national partners on identifying policy and program priorities for fixing these systems.
As part of the National Healthy Schools Collaborative (NHSC), a group of national organizations working in health and education convened by Kaiser Permanente’s Thriving School initiative, HSC helped develop a 10-Year Roadmap to support the mental, physical and social-emotional health of all employees and students.
“It’s more important than ever for us to come together to map out a 10-year plan and to set a vision of what it will take in this country to adequately support children’s health and wellbeing,” said Rochelle Davis, HSC president and CEO. “Through our work at all levels of government, we have an acute understanding of the need to address system-level change. The Roadmap provides an action plan for supporting schools in creating conditions that enable students to thrive.”
With a focus on cross-sector collaborations, especially between the education and health sectors, the Roadmap highlights opportunities for action at the federal, state and local levels to address a set of policy priorities — including many areas where HSC has a long history of effective advocacy: instituting equitable funding models to create and sustain healthy schools; bolstering the capacity of local health systems, healthcare services and social service organization to provide care; and providing healthy spaces for students and educators to learn, play and work.
At least 33 different states with both Republican and Democratic governors have already taken some direct actions that align with the opportunities included in the roadmap.
In addition to Healthy Schools Campaign, NHSC members include the American Academy of Pediatrics, Action for Healthy Kids, National Association of School Nurses, School Superintendents Association, National Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, Child Trends, Playworks, Alliance for a Healthier Generation, School Based Health Alliance, Shape America, National Association of State Boards of Education, Kaiser Permanente and Opportunity Labs.
The NHSC invites health and education organizations, school districts and individuals to learn more about the Roadmap and the role they can play.
“In order for this to become a reality, we invite many more people to get involved,” said Davis.