Saturday, January 10, 2009

Recommended Read: Health Is Academic: A Guide to Coordinated School Health Programs. Edited by Eva Marx and Susan Frelick Wooley with Daphne Northrop.

Brief Description from the EDC (Education Development Center): "Health Is Academic: A Guide to Coordinated School Health Programs describes the growing understanding that piecemeal, competitive, or uncoordinated efforts to address the intertwined social, educational, psychological, and health needs of young people are inefficient and ineffective. Developed in collaboration with more than 70 national organizations, it discusses how the eight components of a CSHP can work together to support students and help them acquire the knowledge and skills they need to become healthy, productive adults. Published in 1998 by Teachers College Press, the 346-page book provides action steps for schools, districts, state and national organizations, and colleges and universities.

The content is based on the knowledge and experiences of teachers, principals, administrators, school board members, nurses, psychologists, counselors, and other health and education experts around the country. Top researches in the field wrote the chapters, and more than 300 professional educators reviewed them."

What I Say:

This book examines in detail the eight component Coordinated School Health Program that was developed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Many people are unaware that the CSHP model even exists, instead viewing each component as a separate entity, when all are in fact related. The eight components are as follows: Health Education, Physical Education, Health Services (nursing, etc), Nutrition Services, Counseling, Psychological, & Social Services, Healthy School Environment, Health Promotion for Staff, Family/Community Involvement.

The book begins by looking at the undeniable link between health and student learning, and then explains how a district can look into implementing the CSHP in their district; an action plan is given at the school level and the district level. Each of the eight components are then explained individually; lastly the CSHP at the state and nationwide level is discussed.

"A school health program is 'comprehensive' and 'coordinated' when it:
  • focuses on key risks to health and learning
  • receives support from students, family, friends, and adults within the school community
  • draws on the thoughts and efforts of many disciplines, community groups, and agencies
  • uses multiple programs or components
  • provides staff development programs
  • uses inclusive and broadly based program planning"
This book was used in one of my health education classes during the fall of my senior year, Organization, Administration, and Assessment of the School Health Program. I actually took this course one-on-one with Dr. McDiarmid, and she had me take a hard look at some programs in local school districts. I was able to apply what I learned from the book to what was in the real world, finding gaps where improvements could be made. This positively affected my student teaching in semester two, and my knowledge of the CSHP was one of the reasons I was hired for my first teaching job.

Health Is Academic was published in 1998, so some of the contact information of the organizations listed have changed. However, the book is very applicable to any school because the "action steps" listed give districts a place to start. The CDC's webpage linked at the start of this post is also very imformative. As a side note, the EDC mentioned develops curricula for school such as the Aggressors, Victims, and Bystanders anti-bullying curriculum that is popular in schools across the country.

I'm not going to go into too much depth about the CSHP here, that's why I want you to read the book! It's a must-read for anyone in physical education or health education, and I would highly suggest it to administrators as well.

As always, please feel free to e-mail me with questions or comments.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Hello! This blog is going to be about my first year teaching middle school health education in Massachusetts. I'm halfway done with my first year, and I'm comfortable enough with the curriculum now where I'm going to try to start experimenting with different methods of pedagogy in order to reach students in unique ways. I hope to chronicle these experiences and hopefully connect with other health teachers along the way. I have a vast amount of resources in lesson plans provided my methods professors, colleagues, books, and many other places. I'll be sure to cite the source when appropriate; the best teachers are all about sharing their methods with others, which is one reason why I have so many ideas to try out!

I'm going to noodle around with the format a little bit and make sure it's something I like before I start writing enteries. I'm not sure how often I'll update, but check back soon! Feel free to send me an e-mail with any questions or comments.
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