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Training Tools for Healthy Schools FAQs

Basic Information

CDC created Training Tools for Healthy Schools: Promoting Health and Academic Success (formerly known as the DASH Training Network, or “D-Train"), a national cadre of master trainers to provide workshops on using CDC's school health tools. Training Tools for Healthy Schools offers workshops on the School Health Index (SHI), the Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT), the Physical Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (PECAT), and the School Health Guidelines to Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activities. These workshops are designed to help those who work in and with schools to improve school health policies, programs, and curricula.

What is the PECAT?

The Physical Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (PECAT) is a tool for analyzing written physical education curricula to determine how closely they align with national standards for high-quality physical education.

What is the SHI?

The School Health Index (SHI) is a self-assessment and planning guide that enables schools to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their school health promotion policies and programs and to develop an action plan for improving student health.

What is the HECAT?

The Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT) helps districts and schools conduct a clear, complete, and consistent analysis of health education curricula based on the National Health Education Standards and CDC’s Characteristics of Effective Health Education Curricula.

What are the School Health Guidelines to Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity?

The School Health Guidelines to Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity, released by CDC in 2011, are designed to help schools develop, implement, and evaluate school-based healthy eating and physical activity policies and practices for students.

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Limited Free Workshops and Eligibility

What does "free" workshop mean?

A free workshop is one in which the CDC pays for the trainer’s travel expenses (including air/car, hotel, per diem) and an honorarium for his/her time and expertise. Workshop coordinators are responsible for funding and securing other workshop logistics, including the facility, materials, and refreshments. In addition, the workshop coordinator is responsible for following up with participants up to 12 months following the workshop, to gain information regarding specific steps and actions accomplished, and report back to CDC.

Who is eligible to receive a free workshop?

PECAT, HECAT, and School Health Guidelines workshops may be hosted by regional organizations (e.g., district AAHPERD), state agencies (e.g., state Department of Education), or local agencies (e.g., local Department of Education). SHI workshops may only be hosted by a regional organization or a state agency, unless special approval is granted. At this time, free workshops are not offered to individual schools.

  SHI PECAT HECAT School Health Guidelines
Regional organization
State agency
Local agency  
Where and when will workshops be conducted?

Most workshops will be held as part of a professional development meeting hosted by a state agency or in conjunction with a state or regional conference.

How can I request a workshop?

Access to the CDC-supported workshops is first come, first serve. You are encouraged to schedule your workshop soon. Please complete a Workshop Request Form and e-mail it to TTHS@cdc.gov. All items on the Workshop Request Form do not need to be finalized at this time.

Submitting a completed form does not guarantee a workshop; please wait for CDC approval before confirming your workshop. If your workshop request is accepted, you will be provided with the contact information of a trainer to begin coordinating workshop logistics.

If my request for a free workshop is not accepted, may I schedule a workshop for which my site will cover the trainer’s costs?

Yes. Please complete the Workshop Request Form and e-mail it to TTHS@cdc.gov. All items on the Workshop Request Form do not need to be finalized at this time. Based on trainer availability, your workshop may be selected. Submitting a completed form does not guarantee a workshop; please wait for CDC approval before confirming your workshop. If your workshop request is accepted, you will be provided with the contact information of a trainer to begin coordinating workshop logistics.

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Planning and Hosting a Workshop

Who should come to a workshop?

Anyone who works on school health issues—this might include school administrators, health educators, physical educators, curriculum specialists, government agency staff, university professionals, community volunteers, and others who work with schools. Because these tools are meant to be implemented in teams, groups from individual schools or districts are encouraged to come to the workshop to increase buy-in when they return to their schools/districts and are ready to implement the tool.

How many people should attend a workshop?

The number of participants in a workshop usually ranges from a minimum of 10 to a maximum of 50 people. The average number is about 30.

How long should a workshop be?

Workshops should be a minimum of 4 hours and up to 8 hours in length to ensure in-depth training.

  SHI PECAT HECAT School Health Guidelines
4 hours
8 hours
How do I decide how long my workshop should be?

The length of the workshop should be determined based on the audience, setting, and content desired. Obviously, the more time available, the more comprehensive of a workshop can be provided:

  • In shorter workshops (i.e., 4 hours), participants will have the opportunity to get an overview of the tool, learn about the various components included in the tool, and simulate implementing the tool in small group activities.
  • In longer workshops with the appropriate audience, actual implementation of the tool may occur.

For example, in a 4-hour PECAT workshop hosted by a state agency, participants would learn about the tool and gain a greater understanding of the analyses included in the PECAT; whereas in an 8 hour PECAT workshop with district teams present, the participants could actually begin the process of using the PECAT to analyze their own physical education curriculum during the workshop. However, please note that a full curriculum analysis will not occur in an 8 hour HECAT or PECAT workshop. It is the responsibility of the workshop coordinator and the participants to continue the work that began at the workshop, and for the workshop coordinator to strengthen the knowledge and skill level of participants through continued and targeted follow-up support.

Examples of the content that might be presented in a SHI workshop can be found in the SHI Training Manual.

What are workshop coordinators responsible for?

Workshop coordinators are responsible for funding and securing workshop logistics, including the facility, materials, and refreshments. CDC will provide a bulk order of SHI, PECAT, HECAT, or School Health Guidelines to Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity materials mailed to the site, free of charge. However, additional materials (e.g., binders, flip charts, markers, pens, paper) are the responsibility of the site.

Workshop coordinators are also responsible for marketing the workshop in their area and handling registration, as appropriate. In addition, the workshop coordinator is responsible for following up with participants up to 12 months following the workshop, to gain information regarding specific steps and actions accomplished, and report back to CDC.

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Training Cadre

How was the training cadre developed?

Qualified individuals were invited to submit an application, essays, resume, and references to be a trainer. The application materials assessed education, experience, and expertise in both school health content and adult learning. Applications were reviewed and scored, and trainers were selected based on a standardized set of criteria. After identifying qualified and experienced trainers, CDC staff conduct training-of-trainer (TOT) sessions to equip the trainers with the skills and materials needed to conduct workshops on the implementation of CDC tools.

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Evaluation and Feedback

Is this initiative being evaluated?

Four methods are being used to evaluate the workshops:

  1. Workshop Participant Evaluations: All workshop participants are asked to complete an evaluation immediately following their workshop. These evaluations are collected by the trainer and sent to the CDC for data entry and analysis.
  2. Workshop Summaries: Trainers are required to complete a summary immediately following the workshop.
  3. Workshop Participant Follow-up Surveys: Approximately 3-6 months after the workshops, workshop coordinators are sent a link to an online follow-up assessment to measure the progress made in implementing the tool and reporting back to CDC.
  4. CDC Staff Site Visit Reports: A select number of workshops are observed by CDC staff to assess trainer delivery of content. CDC staff complete a report to summarize their observations.
What are participants saying about these workshops?

Evaluation results from workshop participants in 2007 and 2008 indicate increased knowledge and skills about the use of the PECAT and the SHI. In addition, the majority of participants agreed that the overall quality of the workshop was good. A large majority of respondents felt their trainer was knowledgeable, organized, flexible, and informative. Selected comments from participants include the following:

  • “[The trainer] was very personable and knowledgeable. This has been one of the best Phys.Ed. professional developments that I've attended and the information [was] practical and necessary.”
  • “Presenter was very personable and open to questions. She gave examples and related personal experiences to make a point or clarify.”
  • “The workshop was very helpful to us in recognizing some of our strengths and weaknesses and gave us the opportunity to brainstorm ideas how to improve.”
  • “Having [the trainer] present the material—he is a true leader for our profession, and he made the day valuable.”
  • “The workshop was very informative and useful. The information is very practical, and the content was interesting.”

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Contact Information

Whom can I contact if I have more questions?

To request additional information on Training Tools for Healthy Schools, please contact us at TTHS@cdc.gov.

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