Building Sustainability for Wellness in Schools
Adopting environmental, systems and policy (ESP) changes helps to build sustainability for Coordinated School Health. When ESP changes occur, these systems work toward developing a culture where students, staff and families have opportunities to engage in and practice healthy living.
Environmental Change – Any physical sustainable change to the school environment to promote healthy behavior.
- Developing a walking path, installing bike racks, establishing an exercise room to promote staff wellness.
- Replacing soda with water, 100% fruit juice and milk in school vending machines. Effective July 1, 2007, all public schools vending machines are to contain only “healthy” beverages such as water, 100% fruit juice and milk (BOE policy #6810 “Competitive Food Sales Policy”)
System Change – Any sustainable change in school operations to promote healthy behavior. System change looks at operational changes that will enhance healthy behaviors. Most time, system change which is well accepted among stakeholders such as students, staff and parents may lead to policy change.
- Offering healthier lunch options such as salad bars, vegetarian options, etc.
- Incorporating physical activity with core subjects such as using “Take 10” and “Minds in Motion” programs.
- Offering organized physical activities during and after school. Activities may include Ultimate Frisbee challenge during recess, hula, yoga, martial arts activities after school, etc.
- Increasing PE requirements. The National Association for Sports and Physical Education (NASPE) recommends 150 minutes of elementary PE per week and 225 minutes for middle and high school PE per week. A California study shows that students who were physically fit performed better in academic tests compared to those who were not physically fit.
- Using healthy options to reward students instead of candies, cookies and pizza and ice cream parties.
- Adopting Recess Before Lunch (RBL) concept. Kaneohe Elementary adopted RBL and saw a decrease in food waste which translated to students eating more of their lunch. In addition there was a dramatic drop in Chapter 19 referrals as a result of RBL.
Policy Change – Any sustainable change in school policy to promote healthy behaviors. Of the three changes, policy changes is the most sustainable as it sets the standard for healthy behavior.
- Establish a policy that allow for only healthy items for school fundraiser. Choose healthier options such as greeting cards, wrapping paper, toilet paper, etc instead of brownies, cookies and Portuguese sausages.
- Establish a healthy snack policy that allow only “healthy snack” in school. Refer to policy section of the CSH toolkit for details of King Kaumualii’s Snack Policy. Constructive Classroom Rewards
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