Expanded training for school personnel on improved nutrition, physical education, and physical activity benefits 692,000 students in Louisiana.
A newly formed group, the Healthier Schools Training Cadre, is made up of expert trainers that work to help school districts to improve nutrition, physical education, and physical activity programs in Louisiana, where obesity remains high among adults and children. The group was formed in 2016 with support from statewide partners.
The trainers are presenting at state conferences and leading workshops with local education agencies and schools. They have integrated components of the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model into every presentation. Training workshops begin with pre-tests and end with post-tests so evaluators can measure knowledge change. The workshops focus on promoting evidence-based strategies that support healthy eating, physical activity and physical education in schools, such as Smarter Lunchrooms and a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP). In addition, the trainers work to connect workshop attendees with local partners and resources to support sustainable change. The goal of the workshops is to mobilize school professionals and communities with the knowledge and skills needed to take actions and support healthier schools.
School Health Collaborative, a group of about 40 organizations, advised the trainers in the development of the materials and continues to support the efforts. The trainers work in their home regions and customize the teaching to suit the needs of constituents. The trainers ensure that all students in the state are served and work to respond to any school in the region that asks for help or services. Currently, the Healthier Schools Training Cadre is planning for the 2017–2018 school year with hopes to create healthier schools and a healthier Louisiana.