Student Health & Wellness

Canines in the Classroom: How Gem Transformed Our School

Guest post by Laurie Wade

When I first proposed introducing a therapy dog to my district in 2011, I was met with a lot of raised eyebrows and skepticism. There was the expected chorus of objections: What about kids who are afraid of dogs or don’t like them? What about allergies? What if the dog hurts someone? Like most problems, all of these had solutions, and once that reassurance took hold the possibilities came forward. Research has shown that therapy dogs in schools bring a host of physical and mental benefits for the community. (more…)

iCARE, Part Two: Uniting Our Community

Guest post by Thomas Kachadurian

In last week’s post, I discussed the beginnings of the iCARE program at Colonie Central High School and how it has given students an opportunity to make a difference in our school. This week, I will share how iCARE has grown and united our entire community around a variety of events that aim to serve others and build a positive culture. (more…)

Are Your Students Life Ready?

Guest post by Akil E. Ross

As principal of Chapin High School (CHS) in South Carolina, I’m always trying to promote ways to make our students college and career ready. After all, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) calls for our students to meet higher academic standards and for us to help them find success beyond high school. But I often find myself wondering: Does college and career ready mean life ready? Regardless of which path our students take, just possessing the knowledge and skills to succeed in college and a career is only one part of the equation to becoming a productive and happy human being. In addition to making our students college and career ready, my goal is to make 100 percent of our students ready for life.

What does it mean to be life ready, and how can schools prepare students? (more…)

Leveraging Title IV, Part A to Create Safe and Supportive Schools

Guest post by Kelly Vaillancourt Strobach

Principals have a responsibility to ensure student safety while also providing a supportive environment that is conducive to learning. This requires a careful balance of addressing physical safety while also addressing the psychological safety of students. Despite the current focus on arming teachers and other school personnel, this tactic does not improve school safety, carries significant risk, and can actually undermine the learning environment. Rather, reasonable physical security measures include: (more…)

The Happiness Advantage: Promoting Positivity in Schools

Guest post by Bart Peery

In January 2014, while shopping in our local Walmart, I received a voice mail from the county sheriff’s office. Assuming that it had to do with our school, I went to the school to call them back. When I returned the call, my life was forever changed. The officer told me that one of my students had taken her life. I remember sitting alone in my office sobbing, not knowing what to do next.  (more…)

Celebrate National School Breakfast Week, March 5–9!

Guest post by Alison Maurice

Why celebrate school breakfast? Because it not only fights hunger and improves children’s nutrition, but it is a vital tool for improving the academic achievement of your students.

Tight family budgets and hectic morning schedules make eating breakfast before the school day difficult for too many families. The School Breakfast Program plays (more…)

Taking Aim at the National Drug Epidemic: How One School Chose to Fight the Battle

Guest post by Robert Suman

In a suburban school district 20 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, school leaders in the Norwin School District took a proactive stance against one of the fastest-growing epidemics to sweep the country—opioid addiction.

In the last calendar year alone, Norwin has lost five recent graduates to this quiet killer and elected to pursue and implement a program to educate its student body.  Norwin personnel have come to realize that no one is immune to this epidemic, regardless of age, race, gender, or socio-economic status. We can take two courses of action—be proactive or be reactive. With a drug problem that is trending quickly in the wrong direction, we have elected to be proactive and take an active role in educating our students. (more…)

Start the New Year Right With Breakfast After the Bell

Guest post by Alison Maurice

What better way for principals to welcome their students back for the new year than by offering them a nutritious, balanced breakfast at the beginning of their school day. With the help of your nutrition department, you can pilot a Breakfast After the Bell program in your school and make sure your students are ready to learn. (more…)

Celebrate National School Lunch Week: Optimize Success With Community Eligibility

Guest post by Alison Maurice

Across the country, schools are celebrating National School Lunch Week—a time to shine a light on the important role school lunch plays in supporting students’ academic success and health.  (more…)

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…)