The Path to Health, Wellness, and Academic Success in 2019: The Healthy Schools Academy

Over the course of two and half days in February, Springboard to Active Schools (an initiative of the National Network of Public Health Institutes and Health Resources in Action), along with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation (Healthier Generation), the National Association of School Nurses (NASN), SHAPE America, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Healthy Schools (CDC), hosted a Training of Trainers (ToT) for more than 60 school health trainers from 17 states.

The ToT, known as the “Healthy Schools Academy”, provided training to CDC-funded state teams on tools and resources to support professional development and technical assistance for school districts and schools in their states. The Healthy Schools Academy (“Academy”) covered topics around physical education and physical activity, healthy out-of-school time, nutrition, managing chronic conditions in schools and helped trainers identify and apply evidence-based policies, practices, and programs to develop an action plan for professional development.


Day #1: February 13

After a brief fire drill to get our blood pumping (culprit: a burned bagel), the morning bell for the Healthy Schools Academy rang promptly at 8:00 AM. Springboard to Active Schools and our partners kicked off the Academy with a morning assembly filled with physical activity and opportunities to get to know each other. After a rousing game of “Shipwrecked”, trainers headed out to their first set of seminars, spending the day with either Springboard to Active Schools and SHAPE America to learn about Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs or Healthier Generation to learn about healthy out-of-school time. The day ended in homerooms – small groups reflecting on the day and planning for the next day to participate in action planning.

Day #2: February 14

A brief Morning Assembly oriented our trainers to the day’s schedule, and then it was off to Learning Labs, an interactive period to practice what was learned in the previous days’ seminars. After Learning Labs, trainers could opt to attend seminars in one of three topic areas – managing chronic conditions with NASN, local school wellness policies and WellSat with Healthier Generation, or PECAT and physical activity during school with Springboard to Active Schools and SHAPE America. Once again, the day ended in homerooms, with time to process what each trainer learned that day.

Day #3: February 15

After our last Morning Assembly, trainers headed to their second set of Learning Labs to practice their presentations from the previous day’s lessons. The last day of the Academy featured a special class on Adult Learning Theory where trainers were able to explore the principles that contribute to effectively teaching adults. After the special class on Adult Learning, trainers visited their homerooms one last time to finalize their action plan. The Academy concluded with an End of School Assembly, which included reflections from attendees. The final bell rang at 12:00 PM on Friday, and trainers were dismissed back to their home states.


One special aspect of the Healthy Schools Academy was the incredible work of two graphic recorders, Lauren Green (of Dancing with Markers) and Brian Tarello. Lauren and Brian joined seminars, homerooms, and learning labs to do visual notetaking and create large-scale graphic records of the key themes and ideas from each session they attended.


Overall, participants found value in the Healthy Schools Academy and expressed their satisfaction through their evaluations:

“Thanks so much – know this was not an easy feat, and y’all did an amazing job pulling together a lot of different partners. It was fun, engaging, and useful, overall… and great to network with other states, as well.”

“Great learning environment. Loved the graphic artists. Loved the multidisciplinary learning. Nice for CDC to be there too.”

“Thank you for all of the planning and preparation for the Academy. You spent so much time and dedication in prepping for this 2.5 day event. There were a lot of takeaways and I’m excited to go back to our state and train. Overall, great job! Lots of champions in the room. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

If you have any questions about the Healthy Schools Academy or Springboard to Active Schools, feel free to email Kate Holmes at Check out the Springboard to Active Schools website for future trainings and webinars and for resources on physical education and physical activity.

To learn more about NNPHI, visit


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