Articles tagged with School health

NSBA secures time to assess school district impact of new regulations for food sold in schools

Following the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) release of their new Interim Final Rule on Nutrition Standards for All Foods Sold in School, the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel issued this statement:

“NSBA praises USDA’s decision to follow NSBA’s recommendation to issue an Interim Final Rule rather than a Final Rule. NSBA will carefully be reviewing the Interim Final Rule for financial and operational impact on school districts.

“America’s school boards are deeply committed to fostering a healthy and positive learning environment for children to achieve their full potential. Most school districts have already taken meaningful steps to improve the quality of foods available from vending machines, a la carte lines, and other non-National School Lunch Program sources.

“Yet, we must acknowledge the budget and labor constraints that school districts already face in light of sequestration and the ongoing fiscal crisis for our schools, communities, and states. At a time when education is acknowledged as a priority for America’s success and competitiveness, it is imperative that federal policy—including implementation of the child nutrition regulations—assures that educational systems are supported, not undermined by unfunded mandates or under-resourced requirements. School nutrition programs simply cannot be successful unless the school districts providing them have sufficient resources and local authority to administer them effectively.

“NSBA expressed concerns about the draft Rule during the public comment period and submitted a letter on April 9, 2013 to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. NSBA’s recommendations encouraged an Interim Final Rule be developed to review the financial and operational impact and unanticipated consequences of the new standards to reflect a better understanding of on-the-ground impact before a Final Rule is issued.

“NSBA will provide additional feedback to the USDA to urge that this and all other provisions of the reauthorization will not challenge America’s schools with a new funding burden at a time when there are critical budget shortfalls.”
- See more at: http://www.nsba.org/Newsroom/Press-Releases/NSBA-Secures-Time-to-Assess-Impact-of-New-Regulations-on-Local-School-Districts.html#sthash.1O3PUyPh.dpuf

Alexis Rice|June 28th, 2013|Categories: Federal Programs, Food Service, Nutrition, Wellness|Tags: , , , |

NSBA remembers leading school health advocate

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is mourning the passing of Brenda Z. Greene, a leading national expert who oversaw NSBA’s school heath policies and programs for almost a quarter century until her retirement last summer.

Photo of Brenda Z. Greene

Brenda Z. Greene promoting NSBA's school health programs.

Greene, who died Friday, joined NSBA’s staff in 1983 and was named Director of School Health Programs in 1987 when the organization received its first funding award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Adolescent and School Health. She remained in the position until her retirement in July 2011.

NSBA’s Executive Director Anne L. Bryant said Greene “helped NSBA become the lead education organization on school health issues.” Working with grant funding from CDC and other agencies, Greene worked in partnership with state school board associations and “helped others to be pro-active within their states, communities, and local school districts.”

“Brenda was an extraordinary leader on behalf of school board members and children, and a tireless advocate for healthy students and healthy schools,” Bryant said. “Starting more than three decades ago, she raised the issues few were willing to even discuss, such as HIV/AIDS, teen pregnancy, and tobacco use. Her presence will be missed.”

Alexis Rice|February 5th, 2012|Categories: Wellness|Tags: , |

NSBA releases new policy guide on food allergies

Questions still abound about the tragic death of 7-year-old Ammaria Johnson, a Virginia elementary student who apparently suffered a fatal allergic reaction last week at school.

While investigators continue to piece together what happened on that fateful day, the incident highlights the importance of addressing food allergies among school-aged children, which has risen by double digits in the last decade.   

“Since children spend a considerable amount of time in school, it is inevitable that emergencies, such as allergic reactions, will occur in the school,” said Anne L. Bryant, NSBA’s executive director. “As school boards strive to improve the academic success of students, they cannot lose sight of the health challenges some students face and the need to prevent and effectively respond to health emergencies in school.”

Toward this end, NSBA has published “Safe at School and Ready to Learn: A Comprehensive Policy Guide for Protecting Students with Life-threatening Food Allergies” to help school leaders establish policies and practices that support the safety, well-being, and academic success of students with life-threatening food allergies.  

Developed with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and, in response to the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act , this publication emphasizes the role of schools in protecting students with life-threatening food allergies.

The guide focuses on the need for schools to partner with families, and healthcare providers in identifying and supporting individual student needs and preparing management plans. Further, it provides recommendations on following medication protocols; establishing a coordinated system to prevent and respond to food allergy-related emergencies across the school environment; communicating with and educating parents, students, and school personnel; and monitoring and evaluating policies and practices.

The publication also includes a checklist for schools to assess the extent to which the guide’s components are included in food allergy policies and practices being developed and implemented; sample state and local education policies; as well as a glossary of commonly used terms and a list of resources related to food allergies.

To access this publication online and for further information on addressing food allergies in schools, visit NSBA’s Food Allergies & Schools webpage.

 

Naomi Dillon|January 9th, 2012|Categories: NSBA Publications, Policy Formation, School Board News, Wellness|Tags: , |

Law gives schools flexibility on location of special services, NSBA says

Federal law requires school districts to provide students with disabilities a free appropriate public education, but it is up to the district to decide where that requirement can best be met, NSBA and the Kentucky School Boards Association (KSBA) said in a brief filed for R.K. v. Board of Education of Scott County, Kentucky recently in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The case was initiated in 2009, when “R.K,” a student with Type I diabetes, was in kindergartener in Scott County, Ky. Initially, R.K. needed insulin injections during the school day, but later he began using an insulin pump that required accurate input of certain dietary information.

The NSBA-KSBA brief noted that the Kentucky Board of Nursing had advised schools not to delegate the responsibility for monitoring insulin pumps to other staff. With this recommendation in mind, the district told R. K.’s parents that he could attend one of two elementary with onsite nurses. However, the parents said the district had an obligation to educate R.K. at his neighborhood school, and sued.

A district court judge ruled in June that R.K. had no “absolute right” to attend his neighborhood school, and the parents appealed the decision to the 6th Circuit.

The NBSA-KSBA brief says there is a fundamental difference between an “educational placement” decision, concerning the types of services and supports offered to a student, and the “physical location” where those services are provided.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) requires that students be educated in “the least restrictive environment,” the brief says. However, in the Kentucky case, NSBA and KSBA said, “the student does not allege he has been removed from education with his non-disabled peers; his sole allegation is that he was denied assignment to his neighborhood school.”

NSBA General Counsel Francisco M. Negrón Jr. said Section 504 does not require districts to educate children with disabilities in their neighborhood school.

“The court should not read into Section 504 a requirement that a school district be required to provide all disability-related services to students in their neighborhood schools,” Negrón said.

“In addition to minimizing the role of the individualized education program staffing process, such a ruling could needlessly increase costs by minimizing the flexibility of school districts in managing limited resources.”

NSBA Executive Director Anne L. Bryant said a decision against the school district threatens the “common practice of deploying the districts’ resources in a many that is both fiscally responsible and educationally sound.”

Lawrence Hardy|October 20th, 2011|Categories: School Law, Special Education, Student Achievement, Wellness|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Involving families in schools: addressing opportunities and challenges

It is common sense that family involvement in schools is essential to increasing student achievement.  Research also suggests it reduces risky behaviors and improves attitudes about school among students.

However, family involvement in schools doesn’t always come easy.  For one, schools and parents often have a different understanding of what that involvement should look like.  In addition, there can be cultural and language barriers and other issues such as lack of knowledge about how the school system works that make it difficult to get families involved.  So what can school board members do to seize opportunities and address challenges to involving families in schools?

A new National School Boards Association (NSBA) publication, Families as Partners: Fostering Family Engagement for Healthy and Successful Students, presents an interesting suggestion.   According to the publication, from a school district perspective, family engagement in health issues can be an excellent first step toward getting families involved in schools as they are often more willing to address health issues than potentially intimidating academic issues.  In fact, a recently published Center for Public Education (CPE) document shows a similar thread and relays that an effective means to getting families at the door can be a targeted involvement to solve a particular problem – like poor attendance or behavior.

At first it can seem overwhelming to involve families in schools as families comes with differing views and expectations regarding the school system and their children’s learning.  But the benefits outweigh the challenges and ultimately improve student achievement!  So in thinking of ways to address challenges and seize opportunities to involving families, BoardBuzz would like you to check out some important strategies outlined in the documents above:

  • Recognize that all families, regardless of income, education, or cultural background are involved in their children’s learning and want their children to do well;
  • Investigate how families want to be involved and how teachers want families to be involved;
  • Address family involvement through a coordinated school health framework, which includes a family involvement component;
  • Foster district-wide strategies including reviewing policies and procedures to effectively engage families;
  • Ask what families need to know to be involved and how well your district and schools are meeting those needs;
  • Build the capacity of your board and staff to strengthen family engagement; and
  • Continue to survey or track the effects of involvement.

To learn more about steps to take to accomplish some of those strategies, view Families as Partners.  In addition, check out NSBA’s new Family Engagement in School Health webpage to access relevant resources such as sample policies, surveys, and tools created by NSBA to help school leaders better engage families.

How is your school district addressing family involvement?  What have been some of the outcomes?  Drop us a comment!

Daniela Espinosa|October 7th, 2011|Categories: NSBA Opinions and Analysis, Student Achievement, Wellness|Tags: , |
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