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ERIC Number: EJ1203427
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019-Jan
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1540-8000
State Leaders on Student Wellness
Blanco, Megan
State Education Standard, v19 n1 p30-31 Jan 2019
A number of states have taken steps toward promoting student wellness, with many of their state boards of education in the middle of the action. This article contains some examples of states leading on student wellness by addressing physical fitness, social and emotional learning (SEL), and mental health supports. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) gave states greater flexibility to deliver a more well-rounded education and to choose nonacademic measures of a school's effectiveness in their accountability systems. Beginning with the 2018-19 academic year, all Vermont public school students in grades 4, 7, and 9 or 10 are taking the state's physical education assessment, FitnessGram. Vermont aims to have 100 percent of students in all its schools aligned with measures of success under the Presidential Youth Fitness Program by 2025. Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, and Washington are looking to Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) as a means for achieving student and school-wide success. All five have adopted SEL grade-level competencies and have developed unique partnerships at the state and local levels to effectively move policy into practice. SEL focuses on developing skills like collaboration, communication, problem solving, and resilience in an age-appropriate continuum through instruction, curriculum, and daily interactions, ideally with the involvement of all members of a school community. Research shows that developing these skills in school has a positive impact on absenteeism rates, school discipline, substance use, graduation rates, and academic achievement. In 2016, New York became the first state to pass legislation requiring that mental health education be taught in all the state's elementary, middle, and high schools (Education Law §804 as amended). In 2018, the Virginia legislature amended law §22.1-207 to include mental health education as part of required physical and health education, which is prescribed under the state's Standards of Learning for all public school students in grades 9 and 10. In addition to state-level action, many districts are leveraging Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants under ESSA's Title IV, Part A to fund mental and behavioral health supports, including hiring additional school counselors, social workers, and psychologists, providing professional development for teachers around SEL, and implementing antibullying or school climate improvement strategies. By providing students with access to evidence-based supports, curriculum, and programming, states and districts are equipping students with the skills and knowledge they need to lead a healthy life well beyond their years in school.
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: Grade 4; Intermediate Grades; Elementary Education; Grade 7; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Grade 9; High Schools; Grade 10; Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Vermont; Connecticut; Illinois; Kansas; Michigan; Washington; New York; Virginia