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December 18, 2015

Project LEAN (Leaders Encouraging Activity and Nutrition) has had a busy 2015 and look forward to new and exciting opportunities in 2016.

To you and yours, happy holidays!

In health,
California Project LEAN
CPL Local School Wellness Policy Trainings: A Productive and Successful Year!

School stakeholders benefit from training and technical assistance. read more 
Survey Shows California School Wellness Programs Are Bearing Fruit

California school districts are approving and implementing increasingly innovative wellness policies and practices.
Advancing Holistic School Wellness in Madera Unified School District - Revised Policy Received Unanimous Board Approval

Madera Unified School District passes a comprehensive wellness policy with CPL support. read more
California Project LEAN Convenes Statewide Experts Addressing Water in Schools 

Water in schools sparks new wellness policy language.
read more
THANK YOU to previous and current supporters! 

The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Model: Expanding the Coordinated School Health Approach

The CDC's coordinated school health (CSH) approach has expanded wellness components. read more

RESOURCES: Three New Tools to Promote Physical Activity in Your Community via ChangeLab Solutions

Creative ways to maximize safe places to play through shared use. read more


School wellness support was in high demand in 2015. California Project LEAN (Leaders Encouraging Activity and Nutrition) (CPL) provides Local School Wellness Policy (LSWP) trainings (i.e., LSWP 101 and 201, parent engagement, wellness webinars) to help support stakeholders as they advance their school wellness efforts. This year CPL conducted numerous trainings for partner organizations, including the California Department of Public Health's Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Branch (NEOPB), former Training and Resource Centers for NEOPB including the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, CSU Chico Research Foundation, Health Education Council, and Monterey County Health Department, plus local health departments including Contra Costa, Kern, Madera, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma. CPL also supported specific school districts and school sites including Madera USD, Greenfield USD, Kernville USD, Napa Valley USD, Arvin Union ESD, Central USD, San Diego USD, Cleo Gordon Elementary, Verde Elementary to name a few, as well, as conducted trainings for parents and other school stakeholders in San Diego and Santa Barbara. In total, CPL reached over 1400 participants.

Training topics included:
  • Overview of Local School Wellness Policies
  • 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act requirements
  • Smart Snacks in Schools nutrition standards specific to California
  • California physical education requirements and opportunities for physical activity
  • Developing a Local School Wellness Policy action plan
  • Parent engagement
  • Identifying and prioritizing wellness policy elements
  • Reaching school stakeholders
  • Communication and monitoring the wellness policy
Most participants describe the quality of the LSWP 101 and 201 trainings as "excellent." Attendees particularly valued training components such as assessing district wellness policies, expanding wellness policy to be inclusive of Coordinated School Health, getting stakeholder buy-in, and using tools and resources including CPL's Policy in Action: A Guide to Implementing Your Local School Wellness Policy toolkit.  Below is what a few participants had to say about our trainings:
"I hope these materials get to school districts throughout CA; they need this training to help give structure to the policy process."

"The tools and the process and how to work with these things together. I loved this training. I really liked all the examples shared. Also facilitator did a great job running conversation."

"The worksheets are SUPER helpful! I will definitely use this moving forward." 

"This is a great educational opportunity."

For more information about CPL trainings, please see our 2016 Training and Technical Assistance Catalog  or contact Katherine Hawksworth at Katherine.Hawksworth@phi.org or (925) 708-7027.

Article2Survey Shows California School Wellness Programs Are Bearing Fruit 

Statewide and local efforts to support healthier schools and students have blossomed from Humboldt to Imperial Counties. These efforts are bearing fruit today. California school districts are approving and implementing increasingly innovative wellness policies and practices.
To gauge progress on school wellness, the California Local School Wellness Collaborative asked members of the Association of California School Administrators about wellness in their districts, 366 administrators replied. The survey was carried out by California Project LEAN and the California School Board Association.
While the survey makes no claims to be fully representative of California's thousands of schools, the information supplied by these school leaders was fascinating. Half of them reported active school gardens, and less than one in 20 reported still having sugary drinks available during the school day. For context, as recently as 2004, 88 percent of U.S. students reported having access to sugary drinks in their schools and 83 percent of high school students nationally were in schools with contracts with soda bottlers according to national "Bridging the Gap" studies.
Schools may be catching on that they are not the right place for advertising of soda and junk food. Six of ten administrators reported not allowing any marketing of any food or beverages in their schools, and another third reported not allowing marketing of unhealthy products.
Over half reported working to promote walking or biking to school. While access to drinking water in the cafeteria was high, following new national requirements, one in four schools still did not meet California's already low state standards for school-wide water access. Those standards are one drinking fountain per 150 students and staff. Almost half were below the standard of one fountain per 100 students used in most states (particularly in high schools). One key obstacle to meeting established standards was funding for maintenance and new fountains.
Meanwhile, sports drinks (in 18 percent) and sweetened flavored milk (70 percent) were still widely available. Only half of the administrators reported having an active wellness committee-which also suggests that respondents were not limited to schools that were prioritizing wellness.

A quarter of the schools reported that the availability of physical education had improved in the last five years, and four in 10 that physical activity offerings had improved.
These school administrators' top wellness concerns were mental health, nutrition, bullying, and physical education/activity, in that order. When asked what technical assistance they would like, school administrators listed engaging parents as their top priority, followed by support for mental health. They also wanted help training teachers in leading physical activity. Most had wanted to include some aspect of school wellness in the new Local Control Accountability Plans and a third had done so. Many administrators also described additional innovative practices and policies they were working on such as expansion of recess, water stations, and workplace wellness for staff or training classroom teachers to lead physical activity breaks.
One policy problem identified was that California's outdated legislation on water needs to be upgraded and many students still do not have sufficient access to safe drinking water.
This progress reflects efforts to create more healthful school environments that have been underway in California for decades. While wellness policies driven by the USDA's school food program rules have focused on nutrition and physical activity, broader coordinated school health efforts are still needed. Recent years have seen increased attention to the issue and related statewide efforts, grassroots initiatives and advances in federal rules. California Project LEAN, for example, has long provided support to successfully improve the school nutrition and physical activity environment and to engage parents and youth as advocates for healthier schools. Yet many of the needed changes are far from fully scaled up. We still need to reach all schools to assure healthy food environments and physical activity for kids.
In particular, the childhood obesity epidemic is far from vanquished. While rates have stopped increasing as fast, and have fallen slightly in some communities, we still have a long journey until our kids are back at the healthy weights typical of the 1970's.
This will take continuing leadership and investment. California school boards can be proud of their progress but it's no time to rest on our laurels.  To read the report summary, click here.
For more information, please contact Dr. Lynn Silver at LSilver@phi.org and (510) 285-5740.
article3Advancing Holistic School Wellness in Madera Unified School District-Revised Policy Received Unanimous Board Approval

Madera Unified School District (MUSD), with the leadership of Assistant Superintendent, Sandon M. Schwartz, embarked on revising and strengthening their Local School Wellness Policy during the 2014-2015 school year. California Project LEAN was able to provide training, ongoing technical assistance, and facilitate the revision process, with financial support from Kaiser Permanente Community Benefits Programs, Fresno.
The district's process was highly participative, and was supported by two school board members, and were inclusive of community partners, such as the Madera Public Health Department, Promotoras de Salud, and multiple school and community based stakeholders.
CPL provided ongoing support to both the MUSD School Wellness Council and its working groups that resulted in a comprehensive, community generated wellness policy which incorporates all components of Coordinated School Health, now called the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Model.  The wellness policy addresses guidelines for nutrition (i.e., school meals and competitive foods and beverages, classroom celebrations, fundraising, water, rewards), physical activity (i.e., physical education, joint use, and safe routes to school) as well as strategies in other areas such as restorative justice/alternative discipline models, asthma, lactation accommodation for students and staff, and community involvement. Increased access to water was also required, at least 1 fountain per 100 students. Together, these strategies will support a healthy school environment not only to address obesity but to also improve overall health and wellness for its students, staff, and community members.
The newly developed wellness policy was unanimously approved on September 8, 2015 and can be found here. Implementation of the wellness policy is currently underway with many positive changes taking place at the school and district level.
Congratulations, Madera Unified School District on a job well done!

For more information, please contact Jane Alvarado-Banister at 
Jane.Banister@phi.org or at (559) 356-8299.
article4California Project LEAN Convenes Statewide Experts Addressing Water in Schools 

Mandated by state and federal legislation, schools are required to provide water during meal times. However, making water a free, safe, and easily accessible option for kids throughout the entire school day is a priority of many local and statewide partners. Water is a much healthier and usually almost free substitute for unhealthy sugary drinks.
Therefore, California Project LEAN (CPL) convened a meeting on October 5th with local and statewide leaders already working on water issues, many through Agua4All--a project of The California Endowment to discuss the best approach to address the lack of access to water in school policy. The purpose of the convening was to 1) develop optimal language related to water access in schools for inclusion in CPL's model school wellness policy based on the best available evidence, 2) strengthen the California School Boards Association's recommendations, and 3) think about key components for a potential state policy proposal that would improve California's current inadequate requirements and plumbing code, which currently the ratio of fountains to occupants is 1:150 occupants and one of the weakest nationwide.
Partners in attendance included:
  • California Department of Education
  • California Food Policy Advocates
  • California School Boards Association
  • Community Water Center
  • EniGami Ventures
  • Rural Community Assistance Corporation
  • The California Endowment
  • University California San Francisco
A draft model of wellness policy language specifically addressing water was developed based on partner and external consultation input and feedback.  Once final, it will be made available.
article5THANK YOU to previous and current supporters! 

California Project LEAN was recently awarded local grants to advance school wellness efforts and is very appreciative of the continued financial support from the following:
  • Community Partners
  • Kaiser Permanente Northern California Community Benefit Grants Program, Fresno and Central Valley
  • The California Endowment, South Kern
With much gratitude, CPL would also like to extend a huge THANK YOU to the following for their support for FY 2015:
  • California Department of Public Health Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention  Branch (CDPH/NEOPB)
  • CDPH-funded former Training and Resource Centers for NEOP:
    • California Center for Public Health Advocacy
    • CSU Chico Research Foundation
    • Health Education Council
    • Monterey County Health Department
    • Public Health Department: Bay Area and Central Valley
  • Community Partners
  • Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, San Diego
  • Kaiser Permanente Northern California Community Benefit Grants Program, Fresno
  • Kern County Public Health Services Department
  • PHI Center for Wellness and Nutrition
  • Standard Elementary School District
  • The California Endowment, Building Healthy Communities
he Whole School, Whole Community, Whole
 Child Model: Expanding the Coordinated School
 Health Approach

The CDC's coordinated school health (CSH) approach, which h
as been the blueprint for integrating health-promoting policies and practices in the school setting, has evolved to a modified approach called the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model.
The WSCC model focuses its attention on the child, emphasizes a school-wide approach, and acknowledges learning, health, and the school as being a part and reflection of the local community.
The WSCC model includes 10 components, expanding upon the CSH components of Healthy and Safe School Environment and Family/Community Involvement into 4 distinct components.
By focusing on youth, addressing critical education and health outcomes, organizing collaborative actions and initiatives that support students, and strongly engaging community resources, the WSCC approach offers important opportunities that may improve healthy development and educational attainment for students. Learn more about this approach in a special issue of the Journal of School Health. 

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article7RESOURCES: Three New Tools to Promote Physical Activity in Your Community via ChangeLab Solutions
Too many communities lack the resources residents need to be active, and finding safe, accessible, and affordable spaces to exercise and play is more challenging than it ought to be. One practical, low-cost strategy for creating opportunities for physical activity is to maximize the use of facilities that already exist. Shared use - also called joint use or community use - occurs when government entities, or sometimes private organizations, agree to open or broaden access to their facilities for community use.
Three new resources that can help communities refine and strengthen their shared use efforts:
  • Fair Play: Advancing Equity Through Shared Use: This fact sheet can help public health advocates and shared use practitioners increase opportunities for physical activity in the neighborhoods that need those opportunities most. It provides tips and strategies for developing shared use with an equity focus.
  • Model Open Use Policy for School Districts: School districts can use this model policy language and the companion checklist to formalize community access to district recreational facilities without a partner organization or agency.
  • Shared Use Agreements & Tribal Nations: This fact sheet provides Tribal Nations and their partners with an introduction to the legal issues they must consider when implementing shared use in or near Indian Country. This resource can help Tribal Nations increase opportunities for both physical activity and cultural learning.


Click here for the 2016 Training and Technical Assistance Catalog
About California Project LEAN
California Project LEAN, a program of the Public Health Institute, works to advance nutrition and physical activity policy in schools and communities in order to prevent obesity and its associated chronic diseases. California Project LEAN efforts center on youth, parent and resident empowerment approaches, Policy and Environmental change Strategies (PSE), and community-based solutions that improve nutrition and physical activity environments. For more information, go to www.CaliforniaProjectLEAN.org.
About the Public Health Institute
The Public Health Institute, an independent nonprofit organization, is dedicated to promoting health, well-being and quality of life for people throughout California, across the nation and around the world. For more information, go to www.phi.org.