State ESSA Plans to Support Student Health and Wellness

Framework for Action

This document focuses on supporting advocates who are interested in working with state-level policymakers to develop state ESSA plans. It provides practical resources and emphasizes several key areas with the greatest potential impact on student health. The third edition of the document was updated in March 2017. Specific issue-based addenda will be released throughout the year and can be found in the Spotlight Issues tab.

This document includes:

  • How to Engage Stakeholders in a Way that Ensures an Effective ESSA State Plan is Developed and Implemented
  • How to Implement a State Accountability System that Supports the Health and Learning Connection
  • How to Create a State School Report Card that Supports the Health and Learning Connection
  • How to Ensure Health and Wellness are Integrated into Standards, Assessments and a Well-Rounded Education
  • How to Integrate Health and Wellness into School-Level Needs Assessments
  • How to Support Student Learning through Staff Wellness and Professional Development
  • How to Support the Transition from Early Childhood Programs to Elementary School
  • … plus Background, Resources, Case Studies and More.

Using Needs Assessments to Connect Learning + Health

This guide highlights how needs assessments can be a valuable tool to identify, understand and address health conditions that affect academic performance.

Issue-Specific Supplements

Chronic Absenteeism and ESSA
ESSA presents an important opportunity to create public accountability around chronic absenteeism and ensure state ESSA plans support a comprehensive approach to address chronic absenteeism. This document highlights various approaches that stakeholders might use to leverage ESSA to support efforts to address chronic absenteeism. Other resources on Chronic Absenteeism, including Addressing the Health-Related Causes of Chronic Absenteeism: A Toolkit for Action can be found in the resources tab.


Addressing Nutrition and Physical Activity through ESSA Implementation
Ensuring students have access to healthy school meals, nutrition education and physical education is a key strategy for supporting their academic success and health. As states develop and implement their state ESSA plans, it is critical that they do so with an understanding of the connection between nutrition and physical activity and academic success. This document highlights ways for states to incorporate measures of nutrition and physical wellness into their report cards, accountability systems, needs assessment processes and professional development.


Addressing Mental Health and Wellness through ESSA Implementation
Untreated and undertreated mental health conditions remain a substantial factor in stifling academic achievement. Under ESSA, education leaders have the opportunity to remedy some of these underlying issues to ensure that schools integrate more evidence-based mental health promotion and treatment in the everyday workings of the education system, and help their students thrive and succeed.


Stay Informed

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Using Needs Assessments to Connect Learning + Health

This guide highlights how needs assessments can be a valuable tool to identify, understand and address health conditions that affect academic performance.

Webinars

Healthy and Ready to Learn: State ESSA Plans to Support Student Health and Wellness
Currently, states around the country are working to develop state plans to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA recognizes the need for schools to support the whole child and specifically acknowledges the importance of student health and school wellness.

This webinar is an opportunity to learn about this important resource and connect with other advocates working to advance student health and school wellness through ESSA state plans. You can watch a recording of the webinar below and download a copy of the slides.

Speakers:

  • Rochelle Davis, President + CEO, Healthy Schools Campaign
  • Nancy Katz, Director of School Partnerships, Alliance for a Healthier Generation
  • Amy Dyett, Director of Initiatives, The Colorado Education Initiative


Addressing Chronic Absenteeism through ESSA
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) recognizes the critical impact chronic absenteeism has on student success. Multiple levers exist in the law for supporting efforts to address chronic absenteeism. For example, states and school districts are now required to include the rate of chronic absenteeism on their school report cards and professional development funding can be used to train school staff on how to address chronic absenteeism. In addition, many states are using rate of chronic absenteeism as a measure of school quality in the in their state accountability systems.

This webinar is an opportunity to find out more about this important issue, and connect with other advocates working to address chronic absenteeism through ESSA state plans. You can watch a recording of the webinar below and download a copy of the slides.

Speakers:

  • Nancy Katz, Director of School Partnerships, Alliance for a Healthier Generation
  • Alex Mays, National Program Director, Healthy Schools Campaign
  • Sue Fothergill, Associate Director for Policy, Attendance Works
  • Lori Paisley, Executive Director of Coordinated School Health, Tennessee Department of Education


Addressing Nutrition + Physical Activity through ESSA

Ensuring students have access to healthy school meals, nutrition education and physical education is a key strategy for supporting their academic success and health. As states develop and implement their state ESSA plans, it is critical that they do so with an understanding of the connection between nutrition and physical activity and academic success.

This webinar is an opportunity to learn about how states are incorporating nutrition and physical wellness into their report cards, accountability systems, needs assessment processes and professional development. You can watch a recording of the webinar below and download a copy of the slides

Speakers:

  • Kyle Guerrant, Deputy Superintendent of Finance and Operations, Michigan Department of Education
  • Bonnie Richardson, President of Louisiana Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance
  • Alex Mays, Senior Director of National Programs, Healthy Schools Campaign
  • Nancy Katz, Director of School Partnerships, Alliance for a Healthier Generation


Behavioral Health 101: Exploring Best Practices for Behavioral Health in Schools

As states develop and implement their state ESSA plans, it is critical that they do so with an understanding of the connection between mental health and wellness and academic success. This webinar provides an overview of the components of a comprehensive school behavioral health system and highlights two examples from Colorado and California where schools or school districts are implementing innovative models to provide behavioral health promotion, prevention and treatment services in schools using a multi-tier system of supports (MTSS) utilizing federal and state funds. You can watch a recording of the webinar below and download a copy of the slides

Speakers:

  • Anne DeBiasi, Trust for America’s Health
  • Alex Mays, Healthy Schools Campaign
  • Sarah Mathew, Colorado Department of Education
  • Deanna Niebuhr, Partnership for Children and Youth


Upcoming Webinars

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Using Needs Assessments to Connect Learning + Health

This guide highlights how needs assessments can be a valuable tool to identify, understand and address health conditions that affect academic performance.

By the Numbers

The development of ESSA state plans presents an excellent opportunity to incorporate health and wellness indicators into education planning and practice. Ensuring that our accountability systems, reports cards, needs assessments and professional development programs are fully integrated to support the health and well-being of students is a crucial step towards academic achievement, improved graduation rates, and college and career readiness.

But, the state ESSA plan is just one step. Advocates and stakeholders will need to stay engaged with state budgeting processes that will impact the viability of the best-intentioned plans and will need to stay aware of competing demands that may distract from health and wellness goals. Further, the plans will be resubmitted to the U.S. Department of Education every four years. In short, the process in which we are currently engaged is the beginning, not the end.

As our nation moves forward with ESSA implementation, we urge you to stay engaged and focused on the shared goal of ensuring all our schools truly support student health, wellness and learning.

We invite you to share your experiences developing ESSA state plans, including the challenges, successes, questions or observations you encounter.

If you would like to receive updates and additional resources, or if you would like to share your experiences to help inform the national dialogue about this issue, please contact Alex Mays.

Using Needs Assessments to Connect Learning + Health

This guide highlights how needs assessments can be a valuable tool to identify, understand and address health conditions that affect academic performance.

ESSA Resources

Access related resources below, or go to our main Resource Center to access resources across all of our program and policy areas.

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Education Data for Health Systems: Challenges and Opportunities

This brief highlights existing efforts to integrate education data, such as chronic absenteeism, into health and public health accountability systems, describes common barriers and best practices, and suggests key opportunities for further exploration to advance this work.

Related Programs:

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Using Needs Assessments to Connect Learning + Health: Opportunities in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

This guide is intended to highlight the ways that school needs assessments required by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) can be a valuable tool in identifying, understanding and addressing health conditions that contribute to poor academic performance. It provides child advocates, community leaders, school personnel and other key stakeholder groups with the information that they need to convince their state and local education leaders to make health and wellness a significant component of the needs assessment and school improvement process.

pdf

Addressing Mental Health and Wellness through ESSA Implementation

Untreated and undertreated mental health conditions remain a substantial factor in stifling academic achievement. Under ESSA, education leaders have the opportunity to remedy some of these underlying issues to ensure that schools integrate more evidence-based mental health promotion and treatment in the everyday workings of the education system, and help their students thrive and succeed.

pdf

Addressing Chronic Absenteeism through ESSA Implementation

ESSA presents an important opportunity to create public accountability around chronic absenteeism and ensure state ESSA plans support a comprehensive approach to address chronic absenteeism. This document highlights various approaches that stakeholders might use to leverage ESSA to support efforts to address chronic absenteeism.

pdf

Addressing Nutrition and Physical Activity through ESSA Implementation

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) recognizes the need for schools to support the whole child and specifically acknowledges the importance of health and wellness. ESSA also provides an opportunity to ensure equitable access to quality education and the conditions that support student learning. Health is a key part of this. ESSA transitions authority from the federal government to state education agencies. Thus, as states begin to implement ESSA, it is critical they do so in a way that supports health and wellness.

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Addressing the Health-Related Causes of Chronic Absenteeism

Taking action to address health-related chronic absenteeism can have a powerful impact on students’ academic success and well-being for a lifetime. This document focuses on preparing educators—particularly school district decision-makers —with knowledge and practical guidance for creating meaningful change to address health-related chronic absenteeism.

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State ESSA Plans to Support Student Health and Wellness: A Framework for Action

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) recognizes the vital role that health and wellness play in education. This document focuses on supporting advocates who are interested in working with state-level policymakers to develop state ESSA plans. It provides practical resources and emphasizes several key areas with the greatest potential impact on student health.

Related Programs:

pdf

Indicators of School Quality: Social and Emotional Learning

This document provides an overview of social and emotional learning as an indicator of school quality, particularly as it relates to state ESSA plans to support health and wellness.

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Indicators of School Quality: School Discipline

This document provides an overview of school discipline as an indicator of school quality, particularly as it relates to state ESSA plans to support health and wellness.

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Indicators of School Quality: School Connectedness

This document provides an overview of school connectedness as an indicator of school quality, particularly as it relates to state ESSA plans to support health and wellness.