Louisiana receives federal grant to improve student health

Departments of Education and Health partner with six school systems on five-year initiative

Baton Rouge, La. — Louisiana has been selected to receive a federal grant to improve student health and academic achievement through nutrition, physical activity and the management of students’ chronic health conditions, according to an announcement today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The grant, which is valued at $350,000 a year for five years, will benefit statewide student health initiatives, as well as targeted initiatives in six select school systems.

“We are thrilled Louisiana has been selected as a recipient of this federal grant,” said State Superintendent John White. “The funding will help our schools increase the number of students who consume nutritious food and beverages, who participate in daily physical education and activity, and who can effectively manage their chronic health conditions.”

To achieve these goals, the Louisiana Department of Education and the Louisiana Department of Health will partner to:

Support the development of school health advisory councils, the use of an online self-assessment and planning tool called the School Health Index, and the use of technology to increase communication and dissemination of information to school administrators and staff, parents, students and community members;

Provide training to school administrators and staff and members of local advisory councils to promote school health, implement school wellness policies, improve the nutrition environment, increase physical education and activity, and manage chronic health conditions; and Provide technical assistance to adopt supportive nutrition and physical education and activity environments, to foster a systemic approach to managing chronic health conditions, and assist in the integration of activities that promote health outside of school.

While these activities are expected to be implemented statewide, the state education and health departments have selected six local school systems with which to prioritize this work. The departments will partner with elementary, middle and high schools in the public school systems in Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, Lafayette, St. Landry and Tangipahoa parishes, as well as in the City of Monroe. These school systems were selected based on need following a statewide evaluation of school environments and parish-wide health data.

The $350,000 grant allocation for the 2018-2019 school year will be awarded to the state on June 30, 2018, and the state will then provide each selected school system with $8,000 to $10,000. This will continue each year of the five-year grant.

“Schools play a critical role in helping students establish lifelong healthy behaviors,” said Melissa Martin, Director of Well-Ahead Louisiana, an initiative of the Department of Health aimed at improving the health and wellness of Louisiana residents. “We are excited to continue our partnership with the Department of Education to ensure all students have the opportunity to be healthy and successful.”