Healthy Students and Quality Education

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Healthy students and quality education go hand in hand.  School districts are tending not only to the education of children, but to ensuring their good health as well. 

“You can’t educate a child who isn’t healthy, and you can’t keep a child healthy who isn’t educated,” said Jennifer Douglas, the Walla Walla School District’s director of health services, quoting former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders.

And it is with that in mind that the district and Walla Walla County health officials are forming a committee to assess the physical and mental well being of Walla Walla students.

The School Health Advisory Committee will use the federal Centers for Disease Control’s school health index, a self-assessment and planning guide to determine where the district stands currently and then work to form policies to address any deficiencies.

Healthy Students and Quality Education

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Pamela Milleson, director of nutrition services for the district, is helping form the committee and said the assessment should be completed by this time next year.

Milleson chaired a similar committee formed in 2005 to help the district implement federally mandated nutrition guidelines. However this committee will be a standing committee, meaning it will continue to function indefinitely and will assess all aspects of student health.

“(The health index) provides a really comprehensive look at school health policies,” county health associate Katy Sanlis said, “not just the nutrition policies.”

Sanlis, who came to Walla Walla as part of a national public health training program, first approached the district in October about using the index. Its eight areas of focus include health and safety policies and environment; health education; physical education; nutrition services; health services; counseling and social services; health promotion for staff; and family and community involvement.

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