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Assessment Tools

School Health Index (SHI)
NOTE: Action for Healthy Kids has a shortened version of the SHI that is free to use through our school portal. It also provides an action plan for schools.

This tool can help you evaluate your wellness policy and determine where you have opportunities to improve.

The Link Between School Attendance and Good Health, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) statement on school attendance, published in the February 2019 issue of Pediatrics, recommends that health care providers promote good school attendance in their offices as well as in the community, and the state and federal policy levels. Chronic absenteeism — defined as missing 10 percent of the school year for any reason — results in students who are likely to lag behind academically and more likely to drop out. This puts them at risk for unhealthy behaviors by the time they reach their teens, and poor health as adults, the AAP says.

Portraits of Change: Aligning School and Community Resources to Reduce Chronic Absence
This report, by Attendance Works and the Everyone Graduates Center, September 2017, provides a national and state analysis of how many schools face high levels of chronic absence and discusses the implications for state and local action.

National Resources

State School Health Policy Data Base 
Whole Child/Healthy Schools/Coordinated School Health – CDC
Model School Wellness Policies (CSPI/NANA)
ASCD Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child

Superintendents Perspective of Local School Wellness Policy
The National Wellness Policy Study: A summary of findings report superintendents’ perspectives and experiences with local school wellness policy implementation. This report summarizes findings from focus groups conducted with superintendents at The School Superintendents Association meeting. Superintendents shared their perspectives and experiences with implementation and evaluation of local school wellness policies.

Key Initiatives

Advancing Food Equity and Addressing Hunger/Food Insecurity

2019 Food Insecurity in CA: Across California, 4.7 million adults and 2.0 million children live in low-income households affected by food insecurity. Having sustained access to enough food is tied to positive social, physical, and mental health outcomes.

In many California communities, the official federal poverty measure does not reflect the true level of need – and neither do program eligibility criteria based on that measure. Below is a comparison of the maximum allowable income (before deductions) for CalFresh, income limits for school meal programs, and the living wage deemed necessary to meet the basic needs of a family of four in California.

The living wage for basic needs varies by California county, but in all cases that wage exceeds the highest allowable income for public nutrition programs such as CalFresh and free or reduced-price school meals. Families who fall into the gap between a living wage and program eligibility struggle to meet their most basic needs – and must do so without having access to the very nutrition assistance programs that are intended to prevent hunger and poor nutrition.

Read the full Factsheet, with data for the state, counties, and county groups.

BE Time Transformational Grant

Pacific Boulevard School in Huntington Park was one of three recipients of our 2018-2019 “BE Time” transformational school grants, sponsored by GoGo squeeZ. To learn more about the grants, watch this video. And you can learn more about Pacific Boulevard’s plans for the grant here.

Stay tuned for an “after” video that showcases the incredible changes they’ve made, including building a full Creative Expression Lab for students.

No matter who you are or how much time you have, there are plenty of ways to help improve school health. Find out how to get involved.

Get Involved