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Assess Your School’s Health

Let’s take a school health road trip.

Creating a healthier school environment is kind of like planning a family road trip. It’s about the journey and the destination. There are some key things to think about on your journey to creating a healthier school.

1. What’s your destination?

With school health, it’s always best to begin with a destination in mind. What are you trying to accomplish or improve at your school? Sure, there may be several great routes you can take and you will likely make many stops along the way. But the trip will be better all around if you know where you are headed right off the bat, and you can share your destination with others so they can drive with you or meet you there.

Think about what kind of school environment you would like to see a year or two from now. Talk to other parents in your school and explore the Nutrition and Physical Activity areas of the blog for ideas.

2. How are you getting to your destination?

With a clear destination in mind, you need to how you’re going to get there. Do you need new tires or an oil change before hitting the road?

Just like your car needs to be prepped for a big trip, a school needs an occasional health checkup. But don’t worry, our school health mechanics are on it – we’ve created this short School Health Survey that you can complete in three minutes to see where your school is starting and get some ideas on where and how you can improve.

Take a look around the classroom and the school. Is physical activity important, but with limited resources to incorporate it? Is it the first thing to go when testing time comes around? Or is physical activity non-existent? Take a look at the quality and quantity of food and snacks in and around your school in this way, too. What other things can be improved?

Ready for more? Fill out the full School Health Index with your school health team, but, pro tip: Don’t let a school health check hold you back from taking your first steps. Get started on that school garden or healthy snacking activity while you embark on a full school health assessment with your team!

3. Who’s coming with you?

You’ll likely plan your trip differently depending on who is traveling with you. Not everyone wants to drive, nor do you want everyone at the wheel!

Here are likely passengers on your school health improvement ride:

  • Teachers—classroom and PE
  • Principal and other administrators
  • School nurse
  • School food service staff
  • Parents
  • Organizations—think PTA, PTO and community groups

Some of these riders may only be comfortable going part of the distance, and that’s okay. You’ll also pick up additional passengers along the way. People are more likely to join you if they know where you are headed, have properly planned for the trip, and if the other passengers are fun to be around.

Don’t forget to bring healthy snacks!

One more tip: Learn how to create a school health team, an important component of any adventure in school health.