Recommendation One:
Provide clean, safe, well-maintained school environments that promote learning


Role Group Strategies:

Ensure that all health and safety conditions within the school building are regularly monitored and that concerns are addressed immediately.


Building Healthy, High Performance Schools: A Review of Selected State and Local Initiatives.
Environmental Law Institute, Washington,  DC,  2003
This report illustrates the policies, programs, and practices that have been adopted by selected states and school districts in order to incorporate a high performance approach in school planning, design, and construction. The report describes in detail the high performance school building initiatives of the states of California, Massachusetts and New Jersey, along with the districts of Los Angeles, Wake County, North Carolina, Elk River Area, Minnesota, and Edmonds, Washington. Various strategies for establishing regulatory requirements, building community support, developing partnerships and evaluating the results are discussed.

Healthy Schools Environment Assessment Tool
Environmental Protection Agency
Healthy SEAT is a self-assessment tool, which districts can customize and use to monitor the environmental conditions of their schools.

Healthy Learning Environments
ASCD Information Brief, August 2004
This brief discusses the importance of comprehensive school health programs that support the physical, emotional, and social health of students. The authors address the state policy context and the role of NCLB in student health, in addition to describing agencies who can assist in the process and specific components of coordinated school health programs, including community and parental involvement.

Healthy School Environment Web Pages
United States Environmental Protection Agency
The Healthy School Environments Web pages are intended to serve as a gateway to online resources to help facility managers, school administrators, architects, design engineers, school nurses, parents, teachers and staff address environmental health issues in schools.  Major categories with resources in the directory include: Chemical Use & Management; Design, Construction and Renovation; Energy Efficiency; Ventilation; Environmental Education; Facility Operations and Maintenance; Indoor Environmental Quality; Legislation and Regulation; Outdoor Air Pollution; Portable Classrooms; Safety/Preparedness; Waste; Waste Reduction; and Water.

NASBE Checklist for Ensuring Healthy Schools
National Association of School Boards of Education
This site provides a sample of five general health related school policies that can effectively promote a fit, healthy school environment where students are ready to learn.  The resource speaks to the role that districts and schools, school leadership, teachers, local policymakers, community members and parents can all play in helping ensure healthy school environments.

Regional Contacts for Healthy Schools
United States Environmental Protection Agency
The site is a clearinghouse of resources primarily intended to help improve the environment of school facilities in the Southeast. It includes state-level information for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.


Help teachers and other school staff better understand how environmental factors influence student success and how they can create healthy learning environments.


Do School Facilities Affect Academic Outcomes
BEST Initiative
This review of current school facilities research concludes that spatial configurations, noise, temperature, daylight, and air quality have an effect on students’ and teachers’ ability to perform in the classroom. However, it points out the need for more empirical research and for standardized data so individual schools can make use of the existing body of research on best practices.


Public School Facilities and Teaching
BEST Initiatives
As part of the BEST initiative, the 21st Century School Fund commissioned a survey of 1,950 public school teachers in Chicago and  Washington, DC to assess the effect of school facilities on teaching. This survey was used to identify what factors teachers believe are important to their ability to teach; assess the adequacy of school conditions and school design as experienced by teachers; examine the distribution of quality school facilities; and analyze the impact of facilities on learning outcomes.

Six Strategies for Improving School Health Programs by Strengthening Professional Development
United States Center for Disease Control
This resource from the Center for Disease control is aimed at improving school health and the overall health of students through effective professional development.  The authors present six strategies for strengthening professional development and give a series of action steps for implementing each one.

A Summary of Scientific Findings on Adverse Effects of Indoor Environments on Students’ Health, Academic Performance, and Attendance
U.S. Department of Education. (2004).
This literature review by the Department of Education summarizes the current state of scientific knowledge about the effect of school environments on student health and highlights areas in need of more research. Overall, researchers found that poor indoor environments in schools can adversely affect students’ health, attendance, and overall performance in school.


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