A healthy school is one that fully supports a student’s academic, physical, emotional, and social well-being. State boards of education, along with state legislatures and state departments of education, help create such schools by setting and implementing policies that govern a wide range of school processes: from the development of chronic condition plans; to restrictions on the use of pesticides and other chemicals; to encouragement of non-exclusionary discipline procedures; to standards for health education and professional development.

Each of these aspects of a healthy school environment are captured under the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model. The WSCC model defines 10 important areas of a healthy school: physical education and physical activity; nutrition environment and services; health services; counseling, psychological, and social services; social and emotional climate; physical environment; employee wellness; family engagement; and community involvement.

The NASBE State Policy Database on School Health provides a searchable database of all identified statutory and regulatory language related to the WSCC. NASBE first developed its Health Policy Database in 1998 with support from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s School Health Branch.

In 2017, as part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Together for Healthy and Successful Schools Initiative, NASBE partnered with Child Trends, the Institute for Health Research and Policy at the University of Illinois-Chicago and EMT Associates, Inc. to update the database so that it comprehensively documented codified state education policies and analyze their alignment with the WSCC. This WSCC-aligned database was released in January 2019.

The newest update, the current database you see, was released in February 2021. It encompasses both codified and non-codified policies enacted as of September 2019 (proxy for school year 2019-2020) for 200 variables across the 10 WSCC domains, as well as a category capturing references to the WSCC model itself. A further description of the methodology and policy terms can be found here.

Funding to redevelop and update the State Policy Database on School Health was provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (grants 74616 and 76690). The findings and conclusions expressed in this database and related publications are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Foundation.

Suggested Citations

National Association of State Boards of Education (2021). State Policy Database on School Health. Available: http://statepolicies.nasbe.org/health/

Temkin, D., Piekarz-Porter, E., Lao, K., Nuñez, B., Steed, H., Stuart-Cassel, V., & Chriqui, J. F. (2021). State policies that support healthy schools: school year 2019-2020 [Brief]. Child Trends. Available: https://www.childtrends.org/publications/state-policies-that-support-healthy-schools