Student Health & Wellness

Do You Want to Offer School Meals At No Cost to All Students? 

Guest post by Alison Maurice

Find out if your school district is eligible to provide free meals to your students with this handy FAQ guide to the community eligibility provision. (more…)

Support Learning With the Breakfast After the Bell Toolkit

Guest post by Alison Maurice

Nationally, on an average school day in the 2015–16 school year, 12.1 million low-income students participated in school breakfast, an increase of nearly 433,000 children from the prior school year. While this is definitely progress, there is still room for improvement, especially at the middle and high school levels, where school breakfast participation has often been lower than at the elementary school level.

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Positive School Culture: Make It the Principle

Guest post by Lizzie Sider

Lizzie Sider is an 18-year-old singer/songwriter born and raised in Boca Raton, FL. She is also the founder of the bully prevention foundation Nobody Has The Power To Ruin Your Day, through which she has personally visited over 350 schools with her original bully prevention assembly. In her post below, Lizzie offers principals some observations related to the importance of promoting a positive school culture. Lizzie’s endeavor highlights key values all global change ambassadors should possess, including promoting awareness/perspectives and empathetic action. (more…)

Ring in Student Success with Breakfast After the Bell

Guest post by Mieka Sanderson

Millions of low-income students miss out on school breakfast every day.  Not having this important morning meal leaves students fatigued and distracted by hunger pangs. Research shows that food-insecure students are more often tardy, absent, and distracted in the classroom. Studies indicate that increasing school breakfast participation can play a key role in boosting student’s health and academic achievement.

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The Orlando Shootings: A Parent’s Guide for Talking to Children

Children and teenagers are better able to cope with upsetting news when they understand more about the event. They need information just as adults do. In the wake of the recent tragic shooting in Orlando, FL, here are some things you can share with your students’ parents to help them when discussing the event with their children.

Where to Begin

Start by asking your child or teenager what they already understand about the shooting. (more…)

Family Holidays—A Reminder to Support Grieving Students

Mother’s Day offers a rich array of choices for classroom educators. Run an Internet search on “Mother’s Day classroom activities” and literally hundreds of ideas appear—quizzes, art projects, research, math, and that longtime standby, making cards for mom.

These can be fun endeavors for students and teachers alike. But a classroom activity focusing on mothers can be challenging for a student whose mother has died. It can also be difficult for students who don’t live with their mothers. Lesson plans posted on the Internet rarely take note of this. (more…)

Understanding Grieving Children’s ‘Confusing’ Reactions 

Grieving is a personal and distinct experience for every individual. You might have heard the statement before that, “Everyone grieves differently.” However, children’s reactions to the death of a loved one can be particularly puzzling to adults. One reason is that their reactions can vary greatly. So, for adults, it helps to expect and be ready for the unexpected.

Adults are sometimes confused if a grieving child does not behave as expected. For example, sometimes, children appear happy, unaffected, and play as usual. And sometimes, they say angry or unkind things about others or the person who died. But it’s important to understand that after the death of a loved one, children will be experiencing deep and powerful emotions, even if it is not at first clear from the things that they say and do. (more…)

Schools Succeed When Breakfast is Served After the Bell

Guest post by Mieka Sanderson

Secondary school principals across the nation are rallying around a new take on the School Breakfast Program: breakfast after the bell. The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) released a report in November 2015, School Breakfast After the Bell: Equipping Students for Academic Success, which showed that 87 percent of principals who implemented the program believe other principals should explore launching a similar program. Echoing the results of the elementary school principals’ report FRAC published in November 2013, implementing a Breakfast after the Bell program in secondary schools has proven to be a superior alternative to the traditional before-school breakfast program. (more…)

Grief Over the Holidays: Educators Can Help Students Cope

All across the nation, the December holidays are a special time for families, schools, and communities. Everywhere we look, we see signs of celebration. In schools, there may be pageants, food drives, decorations, and parties. In stores, we hear familiar music. On the streets, people wish each other happy holidays.

During these times, most of us also think about people we miss, including loved ones who have died. These memories can be especially acute for children and teens who have lost a loved one. They may experience periods of deep sadness, a renewal of their grief, or sudden and unexpected reactions of anger, despair, or fear. (more…)

Senate Passes ESEA Reauthorization Bill, Sets Stage for Conference Committee

Less than two weeks after the U.S. House of Representatives moved to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) by passing the Student Success Act (H.R. 5), the Senate followed suit by passing the Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177) by a vote of 81 to 17.

This historic achievement comes seven years after No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was due for reauthorization. The bill was opposed by 14 Republicans who felt the bill did not go far enough to restore local control in education and three Democrats because of concerns over missing civil rights provisions.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) issued the following statement after the bill passed the Senate:

“Last week, Newsweek Magazine called this the ‘law that everyone wants to fix’—and today the Senate’s shown that not only is there broad consensus on the need to fix this law—remarkably, there’s also broad consensus on how to fix it.”

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