NASBE State Initiatives

 

NASBE has provided technical assistance and in some cases stipends to support school nutrition and physical activity policy development in 14 states. Some of the resulting state obesity prevention initiatives are highlighted below.

Alabama
We provided a grant to the Alabama State Board of Education from 2010-2012.  We also provided technical assistance to the Jefferson County Health Department, a recipient of a CPPW grant, and eventually connected the two projects since they were both creating model school wellness policies.  Staff from the state departments of health and education assisted the county health departments in the creation and pilot testing of the wellness policy and then adapted it for statewide dissemination.

Arkansas
In 2009, Arkansas was identified as one of the top states with the highest rates of food insecure children under the age of 18. Only 53.9 percent of Arkansas children who participate in the school lunch program also participate in the breakfast program and 38 percent of Arkansas children and adolescents have a potential obesity problem and face health risks with being overweight.  Arkansas decided to form a No Kid Hungry Stakeholders Team because it ranked number one in childhood hunger, and because there is a rich history of cooperation among non-profits, state agencies, and the business community.  The Arkansas No Kid Hungry Stakeholders Team, a collaborative group of public and private entities, meets bi-monthly to share strategies and successes in the fight against childhood hunger. A key goal of the group is to increase the number of children who ate breakfast at school, using an alternative delivery method, Breakfast in the Classroom. As a result of the combined efforts, 60 additional schools served breakfast to a total of 4,500 students in 2012-13.

Connecticut
Staff at the Connecticut State Department of Education have been encouraging districts to add optional health and wellness objectives to student success plans through a series of targeted trainings and presentations.  They also decided to take advantage of the newly-established Coordinated School Health Pilot Program, by making the piloting of school-based health policies a requirement for grant recipients.  They will be monitoring the progress of these schools in order to share lessons learned.

Georgia
The Georgia State Board of Education’s Health and Wellness Committee leveraged the partnerships created through this committee to create several smaller projects, such as a partnership between the Georgia Department of Education and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.  The project entailed the creation of this classroom resource for teachers to use when encouraging students to take advantage of the physical activity opportunities available in state parks.  They are also an active partner in Georgia SHAPE (Student Health and Physical Education) partnership, which is a network of partners, agencies and athletic teams, all committed to improving the health of young people by offering assistance and opportunity to achieve a greater level of overall fitness.

Kentucky
The Kentucky Board of Education School Health Committee includes a wide range of stakeholders from state-level agencies and advocacy groups, including representatives from statewide foundations, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, and a middle school principal. They are active in statewide coalitions and projects, and the committee oversees the cross agency work with the implementation of the “State Public Health Actions to Prevent and Control Diabetes and Associated Risk Factors and Promote School Health” grant that the department of health has received from CDC. In January 2014, the committee worked with the Commissioner and Chief of Staff from the Department of Education to promote school districts enrolling in Let’s Move Active Schools. A special recognition meeting for Let’s Move Active Schools by the Committee will be held during the Southern District AAHPERD convention in Lexington, KY in February 2014.  The Committee also plans to host an open meeting in conjunction with the Southern Obesity Summit in Louisville, KY in October 2014.

Michigan
Accomplishments of the Michigan State Board of Education included adopting the draft state nutrition standards in October 2010 and working with the Michigan Department of Community Health to pilot the standards in four school districts using funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  The lessons learned from these schools were used to create a toolkit and offer trainings.  The SBE also incorporated health related assessment questions into the Comprehensive Needs Assessment (a school improvement tool), and adopted the Integrating Mental Health in Schools policy and disseminated the policy toolkit.
November 20, 2012, the Michigan State Board of Education unanimously adopted an updated “Model Policy on Quality Physical Education and Physical Activity in Schools”.  With the continued support of NASBE, the Michigan State Board of Education is creating an online toolkit that will be used to help school districts understand and adopt the new model policy.

North Carolina
The Healthy Responsible Students Committee (HRSC) is led by the North Caroline State Board of Education and includes stakeholders from other state health agencies and the nonprofit and business community.  They are a participant in the Governor’s “No Kid Hungry” campaign and in August 2011, the state board of education passed the “Resolution to Promote School Breakfast” less than one month after a HRSC convening where a guest speaker discussed the importance of school breakfast.  This resolution clarifies that classroom breakfast can count as instructional time, and has lead to significant changes in the ways that schools implement breakfast programs.

West Virginia
The West Virginia State Board of Education is creating a recipe contest based on the USDA school meal standards, where school food service staff will enter recipes that meet the standards.  Recognition and small prizes will be given to the winners, and the recipes will be disseminated throughout the state for use in school cafeterias.  To prepare contest for the contest and to help food service staff comply with the meal pattern, the WV State Board of Education has been holding “from scratch” cooking training sessions.