Training and technical assistance for school staff in selected communities helps students with meeting daily physical activity recommendations and nutritional needs.
The Washington, DC Department of Health (DOH) in partnership with the Office of the State Superintendent for Education (OSSE) has been providing training and technical assistance to school staff in underperforming and low-income Washington, DC schools to help meet required standards for physical activity and nutrition.
DOH and OSSE offered trainings for schools on implementation of evidence-based programs that focused on building consistency in how physical education, physical activity, and nutrition programming and standards are met. Although there are policies in place for schools in DC that are related to nutrition and physical activity, there have been implementation challenges, particularly on the physical activity side, with low-income schools meeting the required 60 minutes of physical activity each day.
The design and development of the trainings used several CDC resources and strategies for school health including: the School Health Index (SHI); the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model (WSCC); the Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT); and Physical Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (PECAT). With improved capacity as a result of the trainings, these low-income schools were now able to successfully compete for sub-grants offered through OSSE.
The OSSE sub-grants enabled schools to purchase curriculum, equipment, and supplies tied to the newly implemented programs. Additionally, reaching out to the targeted schools required significant relationship building. Funding for two positions in OSSE—a physical activity specialist and a health education specialist—were critical in building effective partnerships. In addition to other duties at OSSE, these staff were responsible for the initial outreach and subsequent distribution of invitations to trainings in year one. The staff’s role has grown to provide ongoing technical assistance as schools implement their policies and programs.