- CDC Releases New Resource on Parent Engagement
- South Dakota Model Wellness Policy Revised
- 2012 Shape of the Nation Report
- CDC Releases School Health Index 2012

CDC Releases New Resource on Parent Engagement

Research shows that parent engagement in schools is closely linked to better student behavior, higher academic achievement, and enhanced social skills. Parent engagement also makes it more likely that children and adolescents will avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as sexual-risk behaviors and tobacco, alcohol, and other drug use.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has released new resources on parent engagement in school health based on the Parent Engagement: Strategies for Involving Parents in School Health document released earlier this year. These resources, which include a facilitator’s guide for school staff development, PowerPoint slides, and fact sheets for school administrators, school staff, and parents, define and describe parent engagement in schools and identify specific strategies and actions that schools can take to increase parent engagement.

Visit the CDC Healthy Youth Web site to access the parent engagement resources.

South Dakota Model Wellness Policy Revised

South Dakota’s Model Wellness Policy was recently revised in response to the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act which, when passed in 2010, increased the requirements for local wellness policies. The Act requires each local education agency participating in the National School Lunch Program or other child nutrition programs to establish a local school wellness policy for all schools under its jurisdiction. In addition, each local education agency must designate one or more local education agency officials to ensure that each school complies with the local wellness policy.

Child and Adult Nutrition (CANS) will be sponsoring training and providing tools to assist local education agencies in the process of updating their current wellness policies. The trainings will be held early next year (2013).

For additional information and technical assistance contact Mary Kirk, Team Nutrition Coordinator at mary.kirk@state.sd.us or (605) 773-4718.

2012 Shape of the Nation Report

The 2012 Shape of the Nation Report: Status of Physical Education in the USA, recently released by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) and the American Heart Association, finds that while 74.5 percent of states mandate physical education in elementary through high school, most still fail to require a specific amount of instructional time and nearly half allow exemptions, waivers and/or substitutions. The Shape of the Nation Report, raises awareness and provides data for an ongoing evaluation of the progress made and challenges that remain in physical education policies.

NASPE and the American Heart Association recommend that schools provide 150 minutes per week/30 minutes per day of instructional physical education for elementary school children, and 225 minutes per week/45 minutes per day for middle and high school students for the entire school year. Currently, no states follow these nationally recommended guidelines at all levels.

This year’s Shape of the Nation report includes new elements that address the areas of school physical activity requirements such as recess, classroom physical activity breaks, the use of physical activity as punishment, support for the Safe Routes to School program and local school wellness policies.

Visit the Shape of the Nation webpage for all of the supporting documents and to view individual state profiles: www.naspeinfo.org/shapeofthenation.

CDC Releases School Health Index 2012

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) is pleased to announce the release of the updated School Health Index (SHI). First released in 2000, the SHI is a self-assessment and planning tool that schools can use to improve their health and safety policies and programs.

New features for SHI 2012 include:
• Expanded focus that adds sexual health to the SHI health topics addressed, including policies and practices that schools can follow to help prevent HIV, STDs, and teen pregnancies.
• Revised cross-cutting modules on family and community involvement, health services, and mental health services.
• Updated nutrition content aligned with USDA requirements and recommendations from the Institute of Medicine.

SHI 2012 retains many of the previous features, such as:
• Offering elementary and middle/high school versions (for completion online or in hard copy).
• Reflecting the coordinated school health approach in its organization of modules.
• Addressing the key health topics of physical activity, nutrition, tobacco-use prevention, safety (unintentional injury and violence prevention), and asthma.
• Providing access to valuable complementary SHI materials, including training manuals, FAQs, and online help.

Ways schools can benefit by using SHI to promote student health include:
• Identifing strengths and weaknesses of health and safety policies and programs.
• Enabling schools to develop an action plan for improving student health, which can be incorporated into the School Improvement Plan.
• Engaging teachers, parents, students, and the community in promoting health-enhancing behaviors and improving health.

The SHI is based on CDC’s research-based guidelines for school health programs, which identify the policies and practices most likely to be effective in reducing youth health risk behaviors. School health programs can help students establish healthy behaviors early in life, with positive results that are both immediate and long lasting.

The SHI is available free of charge at www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/SHI. You can select either the interactive, customizable online tool or the downloadable, printable version. Training manuals and other complementary materials also are available online.

The SHI 2012 update will not change users’ access to the online SHI. Login information will remain the same, and current users will be able to access the previous work completed by their team in the SHI.

For more information on the Division of Adolescent and School Health:
• Web site: www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth
• Phone: 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) • E-mail: nccddashinfo@cdc.gov

Dec. 2012