An online newsletter produced by EdSource
with support from The California Endowment 


July 27, 2013  Issue 5

Dear Friends:

Welcome to our latest issue of EdHealth!


In this issue, we lead with a story about one of the most unlikely, but potentially most frightening and fatal, threats to student health -- the possibility of an armed attack on school grounds. The federal government is now recommending that school staff take a more proactive "run, hide, fight" approach to surviving an armed assault. We also provide information about an upcoming webinar on a little known aspect of the school health landscape -- the growing number of schools that serve supper as part of their afterschool programs. 


Please be sure to keep us notified about any student wellness issues you think deserve greater coverage. And if you have not yet subscribed to EdHealth, please click here


Best regards,





Louis Freedberg

Executive Director


School Safety

'Run, hide, fight' new mantra for schools in post-Newtown environment

By Jane Meredith Adams

EdSource Today


Traditional school safety techniques had students huddling in locked classrooms and waiting for rescue if danger approached during school hours. But tragic lessons in Newtown, Conn., and Columbine, Colo., have given 

In an "active shooter" simulation at Alhambra High School in June, a staff member (top right) plays the role of an armed student threatening to jump off a landing. Credit: Betty Plascencia
rise to new recommendations from the U.S. Department of Education for keeping students safe: Run away and hide, they say. Or, if you have to, fight.


The new school safety protocol for staff and students is "run, hide, fight," a major shift from the static classroom lockdowns campuses have followed for years. The procedure asks teachers and staff to take a more assertive role in trying to survive the unlikely event of an "active shooter" situation on campus. As part of back-to-school preparation, educators throughout California are being trained in the technique, which includes giving teachers the leeway to ignore lockdowns requiring students to be kept inside, to run off campus with students, and to unleash a fire extinguisher on a person with a gun.


"The idea is that instead of being passive and being executed, be active and perhaps save your own life and the lives of others," said Arthur Cummins, who sits on the board of the California School Resource Officers Association and is an administrator for safe and healthy schools at the Orange County Department of Education. Read more 

Healthy Schools

Overcoming hunger at school with grants for fruits, vegetables, breakfasts and summer meals

By Jane Meredith Adams
EdSource Today

Hungry students don't learn as well, which is why schools last week welcomed the announcement of new or renewed federal and state funding to provide students with fruits, vegetables, breakfasts and summer meals.


Hunger is one of the more tangible obstacles to learning, research has found, and California schools have a lot of hungry students in class.


More than 20 percent of households in California didn't have enough money to buy food at times in 2012, according to a Gallup poll and an analysis by the Food Research and Access Center, a Washington-based advocacy group. Through a variety of programs, schools are working to fill the nutritional gap. Read more  


For schools that serve military families, new funds to improve discipline practices, nutrition and academics

By Jane Meredith Adams 
EdSource Today   

To encourage positive behavior, improve healthy eating habits, and boost academic skills for children in military families, school districts, including three in California, received a funding boost last week in new grants from the Department of Defense.

"We have a significant contingent of military families and we are always seeking ways to support them," said Cathy Pierce, superintendent of the Santee School District in San Diego County, which received a $405,000 grant to increase "students' and parents' feeling of connectedness to school" and reduce discipline referrals by encouraging positive behavior. "This grant will help us put additional counselors at two of our schools," she said, noting that counselors will serve all students. Read more
New Research: Dental Care for Children
With dental disease the leading health issue for children -- and one of the top reasons that students are absent from school -- researchers from The Children's Partnership, a nonprofit organization, set out to determine what was keeping low-income children from obtaining care.

Pretending to be parents of Medi-Cal enrolled children, the researchers used the state-recommended website,, to find California dentists that accept Medi-Cal and try to make appointments. The experience revealed several barriers to care, a new study found, including dentists who refused to take Medi-Cal, unnecessary referrals to specialists and refusals to treat a three-year-old child. More than half of California children are insured by Medi-Cal. (For more on student dental health, see this EdSource story on how schools are providing a dental health safety net for students.)
Photo Op:  Exercising at Summer School
Soccer students sports activity

Keep moving. Students take advantage of a lunch break to exercise, get their heart rates up, and have fun at the summer learning program at the Coliseum College Prep Academy in East Oakland. Unfortunately,this is not necessarily a typical California scene.  Survey data indicate that most students do not meet the federal recommendation of 60 minutes of exercise a day. But strategies are emerging to help schools use recess more effectively to encourage physical activity (see item on upcoming webinar below.) 
Credit: Lillian Mongeau, EdSource Today  

Promoting Health After School and During Recess 

What about serving afterschool suppers this year?

The number of school sites that serve supper to students in California has
dramatically increased in the last year, with more than 1,000 schools now serving federally reimbursable meals in their afterschool programs.

Learn the nuts and bolts of how to provide afterschool meals in a webinar hosted by The Food Research and Action Center. Schools eligible for federal meal reimbursement must serve a majority of students from low-income families and must offer an afterschool program. For a list of California sites that offer afterschool meals, click here.  

"Right now, we're serving nearly 3 million meals a month in the state," said Bruno Marchesi, program manager at the California Afterschool Network, a nonprofit organization. "With reimbursement of about $3 a meal, that is $9 million a month in new monies coming into schools." 

Register here for the webinar on Tuesday,
August 6, 2013, 10 to 11 a.m. (Pacific time).
How do you get kids to be active at recess?

Having a supply of sports equipment and a staff trained to engage and organize students are some of the ways to encourage children to play hard at recess, according to
the nonprofit organizations Active Living Research, Public Health Institute, and Ready for Recess.

Learn how to create policies and evidence-based practices at school to keep kids moving at a "Get Your School Ready for Recess!" webinar hosted by the organizations. Teaching kids the habit of exercising is a key ingredient in the fight against childhood obesity.  

The webinar will include how to be creative with equipment, space and temperature to promote physical activity. If you can't make the webinar, Ready for Recess videos and downloadable PDFs will be available.

Administrators, public health practitioners  and parents register here: Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, 10 to 11 a.m. P.S.T. Teachers and staff register here: Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, 10 to 11 a.m. (Pacific time).

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