WellSpot Benchmarks for Schools

Teaching Healthy Behaviors

Healthy Improvements in K-12 Schools for Employees and Students

Because children and school staff spend the majority of most days at school, your school is in a unique position to be able to have a huge impact on the conversation around health. By implementing small changes to improve the health environment of your school, you can help your employees thrive and ensure that your students develop healthy habits for their future.

By implementing changes to improve the health of your employees and students through our WellSpot Designation program, schools are equipped to play a role in positively impacting the health of the community. We support Louisiana schools by providing the resources and tools you need to encourage healthy habits like physical activity, healthy eating, stress management and quitting tobacco.

Schools that meet certain benchmarks can be designated as a Level 1, 2 or 3 WellSpot, with Level 1 being the highest. 

Level 3

  • Tobacco-free policy
  • Promotion of the Quitline
  • Build support
  • School Health Index: take assessment
  • Three additional benchmarks of choice

Level 2

  • Tobacco-free policy
  • Tobacco prevention education
  • School Health Index: create plan
  • Four additional benchmarks of choice

Level 1

  • Tobacco-free policy
  • All benchmarks met
WellSpot Benchmarks for a Healthier School

Health Standards for Schools

Well-Ahead is here to help educators and administrators be leaders by becoming a WellSpot. Our school WellSpot benchmarks are centered on having an established school wellness program that includes physical activity and nutrition components for both students and staff. 

All school WellSpots must be designated as tobacco-free locations, promote the Louisiana Tobacco Quitline, establish a wellness committee, and assess one module through the CDC’s School Health Index (SHI) platform. In addition to these four wellness benchmarks, schools may meet additional benchmarks to achieve the desired level of designation. When you implement these evidence-based benchmarks, you will improve the health of your staff and move Louisiana’s health forward!

You can register to become a WellSpot. Take the assessment to begin.

Schools and school districts across the country are going tobacco-free on their campuses, including many schools here in Louisiana. Going 100% tobacco-free protects both school-aged youth and school staff from exposure to secondhand smoke.

A Tobacco-Free Policy prohibits the use of all forms of tobacco products on school property and provides a tool for enforcement with students, employees and visitors.

Required Documentation:
Copy of policy.

By providing your employees with the tools they need to geaux tobacco-free, you are helping communities across the state take a major step forward towards a healthier Louisiana.

Tobacco cessation is a preventive service, and federal guidance suggests the following coverage:

Required Documentation:
Copy of health plan benefits or health plan promotional materials.

By promoting free cessation services to your employees, you are doing your part to help fight the leading cause of preventable death and the source of many chronic diseases and conditions that cause long-term suffering.

You can promote your own in-house cessation programs (if applicable) or the Louisiana Tobacco Quitline. The Quitline is a free cessation resource that links individuals who want to quit using tobacco with trained specialists through phone counseling, web support or both.

Required Documentation:
Written description or pictures of ways in which the LA Tobacco Quitline or other service is promoted to employees and students.

Youth are particularly vulnerable to nicotine dependency and tobacco industry marketing tactics. Early use of any tobacco product (cigarettes, chew/dip/snuff, little cigars, or e-cigarettes) among youth, disrupts brain development, increases the risk of long-term addiction, and may cause irreversible health effects before leaving school or reaching adulthood.

School-based education programs are an effective way to address all aspects of tobacco use, including education on health effects, social influences, peer pressure, refusal skills, and media literacy as it relates to tobacco marketing and advertising.

Tobacco prevention education recommendations:

  • Annual education to students from kindergarten to 12th grade.
  • Intensive instructional programs for students sixth through eighth grade.
  • Additional focus on students entering junior high or middle school since they are exposed to older students who use tobacco at higher rates.
  • Continued reinforcement throughout high school.
Required Documentation:
Copy of program content, lesson plans, presentations or activity description.

Federal law requires employers to provide breastfeeding employees with time and a space to express milk. Implementing this benchmark enables you to comply with this law. It can also lead to savings through the retention of your valued employees, reduction of sick time taken, and lower health care and insurance costs.

Even better, providing lactation accommodations in child care centers doesn’t require many resources to implement. Employees simply need reasonable break times, a private space and employer support.

 

Required Documentation:
Well-Ahead Louisiana will verify this benchmark is met with the Louisiana Breastfeeding Coalition.

By promoting self-assessment tools, you can help your employees better understand their health and reduce the risk diabetes and heart disease. As a result, your employees will miss less work due to illness or hospitalization and have lower healthcare costs. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 108 million Americans have high blood pressure and more than 30 million Americans have diabetes. Encourage your employees to take the self-assessments to have a better understanding of their health.

Please note that these evidence-based self-assessments have been developed by national partners and should not be used in place of a visit to a healthcare provider.

Self-Assessment Tools for Heart Health:

My Life Check by American Heart Association

Heart Age Predictor Using BMI by CDC

Sample Communication to Promote Heart Health Self-Assessments 

Self-Assessment Tools for Prediabetes:

Prediabetes Risk Test by CDC, AMA, ADA and Ad Council

Sample Communication to Promote Prediabetes Self-Assessment

Required Documentation:
Written description or pictures of ways in which the self-assessment tools are promoted.

Healthy employees are more productive, have more energy, are better able to manage stress, and are more likely to model healthy behaviors. By prioritizing employee wellness, schools can empower staff to feel their best while further supporting students’ well-being. Wellness programs can be implemented at little to no cost while creating an environment that supports health.

Wellness programs include a coordinated and comprehensive set of strategies, which promote and support overall health and safety for all employees, such as healthy eating, physical activity, mental health (including stress management) and tobacco cessation. Strategies may include, but are not limited to: wellness policies, preventative health screenings, access to healthy foods, fitness programs, tobacco-cessation programs, and educational seminars. 

Offering wellness activities can provide employees the opportunity to improve their health and reduce their risk of chronic disease. This leads to reduce staff stress, improved staff morale and productivity, and reduced costs associated with staff healthcare and absenteeism.

Required Documentation:
Copy of employee assessment and copy of employee wellness work plan or calendar of events specific to school, including activity descriptions related to nutrition, physical activity, tobacco cessation and mental health

Smart Snacks in School refers to the national nutrition standards for foods and beverages sold outside of the federal reimbursable school meal programs during the school day. These items are called "competitive foods" because they can compete with participation in school meal programs.

As of the 2014-2015 school year, all competitive foods and beverages sold during the school day must meet or exceed Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards, which include limits on fat, sugar and calorie content. These standards are the minimum requirement for schools, but states and local education agencies can continue to implement stronger nutrition standards for all competitive foods in schools.

Required Documentation:
Copy of policy on competitive foods and list of food items available in all venues outside the cafeteria.

Each school within a school district should develop a wellness committee. A school wellness committee is essentially an advisory group whose role is to implement programs and practices that reflect the needs of their students and staff. Wellness committees should have representation from school staff, students, family members and community members.

Partners

CDC Healthy Schools
USDA Team Nutrition
Alliance for a Healthier Generation
Action for Healthy Kids

Required Documentation:
Copy of the recent meeting agenda(s), the roster showing representation from family members, community members, and school staff, and schedule of quarterly meetings to be held.

The CDC's School Health Index (SHI) is an online self-assessment and planning tool that schools can use to improve their health and safety policies and programs. The SHI aligns with the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model. The SHI enables schools to identify strengths and weaknesses of health and safety policies and programs, develop an action place for improving student health, and engages all education stakeholders in promoting health-enhancing behaviors and better health. Participation in the SHI should be a group effort. The strength of the process comes from having individuals from different parts of the school community working together and strategizing to improve school policies, programs and practices.

To implement this benchmark, schools must complete at least one module from the School Health Index platform.

Required Documentation:
Copy of scorecard for at least one module from the CDC's School Health Index platform.

The CDC's School Health Index (SHI) is an online self-assessment and planning tool that schools can use to improve their health and safety policies and programs. The SHI aligns with the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model. The SHI enables schools to identify strengths and weaknesses of health and safety policies and programs, develop an action place for improving student health, and engages all education stakeholders in promoting health-enhancing behaviors and better health. Participation in the SHI should be a group effort. The strength of the process comes from having individuals from different parts of the school community working together and strategizing to improve school policies, programs and practices.

To implement this benchmark, schools must create a plan of improvement developed from the School Health Index Scorecard.

Required Documentation:
Copy of the plan for improvement for the module used for the "Take Assessment" benchmark from the CDC's School Health Index platform.

Physical activity has been shown to help boost academic performance, improve classroom behavior and strengthen cognitive skills and attitudes. Opportunities for physical activity occur before and after school, during the school day and in physical education classes. Schools that take advantage of these opportunities and who engage staff, families and the community can help their students meet the nationally-recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day and help them develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to be physically active for a lifetime.

To achieve this benchmark, schools need to implement at least two of the following physical-based activities:

  • 150 minutes of physical education per week1,2
  • Students active at least 50% during physical education class2
  • Certified physical education teachers2
  • Classroom physical activity energizers2
  • 20 minutes of recess provided each day1,2
  • Before- and after-school physical activity opportunities are offered2
Required Documentation:
Copy of policies, lesson plans and/or photos of ways in which two physical activity-based practices are implemented OR the CDC's School Health Index scorecard and plan for improvement for Module 3 may be used as documentation.

School nutrition plays a key role in a child's academic achievement. Students that are not eating breakfast or are not consuming enough food or nutrients have lower grades, are absent from school more often, struggle with focusing and have decreased cognitive performance. There good news is, there are numerous opportunities to improve the school nutrition environment in the cafeteria, in the classroom and at school and community events. School Wellness Committees should work together to improve school nutrition.1

 

To achieve this benchmark, schools need to implement at least two of the following nutrition-based practices:

  • Food and beverages for sale to students during extended school day include healthy options1,2
  • Strategies are utilized to maximize participation in the lunch and breakfast program2
  • Collaboration between school nutrition staff and teachers2
  • Farm to School activities are implemented2
  • Marketing techniques are used to promote healthy choices2
  • Healthy foods and beverages are included at celebrations/events and nonfood items are offered for rewards1,2

 

Required Documentation:
Copy of policies, lesson plans and/or photos of ways in which two nutrition-based practices are implemented OR the CDC's School Health Index scorecard and plan for improvement for Module 4 may be used as documentation.

School health services intervene with actual and potential health problems, including providing first aid, emergency care, and assessment and planning for the management of chronic conditions (such as asthma or diabetes). In addition, wellness promotion, preventive services, staff, student and parent education complement the provision of care coordination services. Health services connect school staff, students, families, community and healthcare providers to promote the healthcare of students and a healthy, safe school environment.

For students with chronic health conditions, school nurses and other healthcare providers play a large role in the daily management of their conditions. School health services staff also are responsible for coordinating care by communicating with the student's family and healthcare providers so that they can stay healthy and ready to learn.

To achieve this benchmark, schools need to implement at least two of the following services-based practices:

  • Implement a referral system2
  • Health emergency response plans2
  • School food allergy management plan2
  • Identify and track students with chronic health conditions1,2
  • Care coordination for students with chronic health conditions2
  • Disease education for students with chronic health conditions2
Required Documentation:
Copy of policies, lesson plans and/or photos of ways in which two health services-based practices are implemented OR the CDC's School Health Index scorecard and plan for improvement for Module 5 may be used as documentation.

The CDC's School Health Index (SHI) is an online self-assessment and planning tool that schools can use to improve their health and safety policies and programs. The SHI aligns with the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model. The SHI enables schools to identify strengths and weaknesses of health and safety policies and programs, develop an action place for improving student health, and engages all education stakeholders in promoting health-enhancing behaviors and better health. Participation in the SHI should be a group effort. The strength of the process comes from having individuals from different parts of the school community working together and strategizing to improve school policies, programs, and practices.

To implement this benchmark, schools must complete at least three additional modules from the CDC's School Health Index platform for a total of four assessments and plans for improvement.

Required Documentation:
Copy of scorecards and plans for improvement for at least three additional modules from the CDC's School Health Index platform for a total of four assessments and plans for improvement.

Implementing changes in your school community can be intimidating. Training and professional development is a great way to gain new skills and strategies for implementing healthy changes. Professional development is a consciously designed, systematic process that strengthens how staff obtain, develop, retain and apply knowledge, skills and attitudes. It is an ongoing process which prepares educators to create and support healthy environments in schools, improving learning and health for the students they serve.

Required Documentation:
Copy of agenda and attendance list, or certificate from CDC Healthy Schools best practices modules.