Achieving Healthy Schools for All Kids in America

Proceedings Report from a Working Forum

Healthy school environments can ensure that children have solid foundations for physical, social, and emotional health.

A Working Forum on Healthy Schools aimed to assess stakeholder alignment on opportunities and barriers to creating healthy school environments and to explore systems-level investments that would support their creation. The Forum also examined levers for promoting equity, and sought opportunities to foster school and community collaboration. 

The Issue

Creating healthy school environments is a key part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) efforts to build a Culture of Health in the United States. It is also an essential component of RWJF's commitment to Healthy Children, Healthy Weight. Healthy school environments can ensure that children have solid foundations for physical, social, and emotional health.

Key Findings

  • Sustainable change must occur both locally and at the systems level, include and elevate the work of school, community and youth stakeholders, and address the lived experiences of school community members.
  • Healthy schools must work to improve conditions that cause trauma to young people and communities, and should acknowledge structural racism and poverty.
  • Participants recommended program and policy infrastructure change, the use of existing policy to support healthy schools at all governing levels, and the creation of environments that value diverse students.

About the Report

RWJF convened a forum in March 2016 with the goal of exploring systems-level work to make healthy school environments the norm and not the exception in the United States. Participants included representatives from schools and school districts, school boards, health and education nonprofit organizations, advocacy organizations, funders, policy research groups, and more.