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ERIC Number: EJ1203431
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019-Jan
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1540-8000
School Buildings: The Foundation for Student Health and Success
Eitland, Erika; Allen, Joseph
State Education Standard, v19 n1 p35-38, 44 Jan 2019
Improving the school building may well be the most overlooked means of improving student health, safety, and academic performance. Yet in conversations about factors that lead students to academic success, only rarely does the role of the physical environment come to the fore. By downplaying the importance of the building, policymakers and parents alike may be missing one of the largest health and safety issues affecting students daily. There are nearly 51 million K-12 students in the United States, and they each spend more than 15,600 hours in public schools by the time they graduate. Schools must make the most of this critical window for social, academic, and physical development. Environmental factors such as ventilation, thermal control, lighting, and noise have serious implications for student safety and academic achievement. Properly designed, maintained, and operated school buildings that address these environmental factors have been shown to prevent cognitive deficits, optimize student and teacher performance, and create a thriving learning environment within the school. In 2017, The Healthy Buildings Team at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health released the report "Schools for Health: Foundations for Student Success." The report details findings from over 250 research articles unequivocally demonstrating how health is foundational to student thinking and performance, includes more than 70 health and performance metrics, and builds upon previous T.H. Chan School research, "Foundations of a Healthy Building." The report synthesizes more than 30 years of research about the impacts of indoor environmental quality in schools, identifies diverse metrics of success beyond standardized test scores, and provides an accessible, evidence-based guide to the daily, acute, and chronic effects school buildings have on students and staff (see table 1). This article introduces key findings from this report that state boards of education may reference as they seek to promote healthy learning environments.
National Association of State Boards of Education. 2121 Crystal Drive Suite 350, Arlington, VA 22202. Tel: 800-368-5023; Tel: 703-684-4000; Fax: 703-836-2313; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A