Staff Professional Development - Action for Healthy Kids
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Staff Professional Development

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Is your staff knowledgeable about nutrition, physical activity and district wellness policies? Do they feel well-equipped to teach nutrition education and lead physical activity breaks in their classroom? Consider providing annual professional development to ensure they have the right tools in their wellness toolbox to be effective school wellness leaders.

Take Action

Try some of these strategies to ensure your school offers staff professional development on nutrition education and physical activity:

  • Provide annual training on your district health and wellness policies, as well as any school-level policies. Focus on policy components that apply to students and teachers, such as nutrition education, physical education, school meals, marketing requirements and role modeling. Share Game On activities and resources that relate to the classroom, like healthy celebrations.
  • Integrate physical activity “mini lessons” during every staff meeting. Start your meeting with a fitness activity or schedule a physical activity break halfway through the meeting. They’ll be having fun and learning how they can have fun with students, too.
  • Highlight one nutrition education resource that teachers can use in their classroom at each staff meeting. See the Nutrition Education activity for ideas.
  • Identify 5-10 specific nutrition topics where students at your school are struggling. Take 10 minutes in monthly or quarterly trainings to educate staff. For example, is soda consumption especially common? Inform staff of healthy drink options and provide resources and activity ideas that they can use in their classrooms.
  • Ensure all teachers (not just health teachers) are trained to use the curriculum. Demonstrate a lesson so teachers feel more comfortable teaching this content.
  • Train staff to utilize physical activity for classroom management and student learning. For example, re-engage restless students in the middle of a lesson with a fitness break.
  • Already providing professional development to staff on other subjects? Integrate nutrition or physical activity concepts into math, literacy and science trainings. You’ll get two for one!



Don’t let time be a factor. Simply adjust your training based on the time you have.

Encourage staff to be role models. Ask them to eat healthy in front of students and participate during recess or physical activity breaks.

Try a walking meeting or quick aerobics workout.

Remind staff to participate in professional development. Anyone who interacts with students has an opportunity to teach them about healthy habits.

Tie everything back to learning objectives to ensure the content is relevant to school administrators, teachers and students.

As appropriate, offer professional workshops to parents to encourage collaboration and open communication about how they can support healthy habits at school and at home.

Recruit a local kinesiologist or dietitian as a volunteer to present to staff during an in-service day or lunch & learn session.

Have a parent volunteer reach out to local businesses to donate healthy snacks for a staff meeting.