Health Policies

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 health school environment are captured under the Center 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.

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 at Chicago and EMT Associates, Inc. to comprehensively document state education policies and analyze their alignment with the WSCC. The database encompasses policies enacted as of September 2017 for 136 variables across the 10 WSCC domains, as well as a category capturing references to the WSCC model itself. Further information on methodology, a summary of findings, and profiles for each state can be found on Child Trends’s website. As state boards of education and others consider adoption of policies and processes that support the whole child, these resources will supply important information on existing statutes and best practices.

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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s School Health Branch.