Implementing the Wellness Initiative for Student Success
The Wellness Initiative for Student Success (WISS) focuses on six priority school districts for professional development and technical assistance to improve school health environments. These efforts potentially reach over 600,000 students.


Students choosing healthy or unhealthy food in school lunch line

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH), in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, formed a coalition, operating under the guiding principles of the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model, to launch an initiative to improve nutrition and physical activity environments in schools: the Wellness Initiative for Student Success (WISS)Cdc-pdfExternal.

MDPH and its partners provide the WISS training series, including training on the School Health Index nutrition and physical activity modules and a training series focused on model wellness policy development, Smarter Lunchrooms, and Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs.


WISS training has improved enthusiasm for and participation in the Smarter Lunchrooms movement using the Smarter Lunchrooms ScorecardExternal. During the 2015–2016 school year, 51 schools participated, and the average score increased by 13 points (48 to 61 out of 100). This tangible progress is very well received at the state and district level. Twenty-five more schools completed the Smarter Lunchrooms training in the 2016–2017 school year.

Additionally, evaluation capacity to measure the impact of WISS in Massachusetts schools has improved and includes use of the School Health Index, the CDC School Health Profiles and Youth Risk Behavior Survey, WellSAT 2.0External, and the Massachusetts Physical Activity Assessment for Schools.

This program was supported by CDC’s State Public Health Actions to Prevent and Control Diabetes, Heart Disease, Obesity, and Associated Risk Factors and Promote School Health cooperative agreement (DP13-1305).