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Simple Changes Your School Can Make to Be Healthier

How school districts used the results of the School Health Index to find creative ways to promote healthy habits.

The School Health Index is an assessment tool that helps education leaders determine which health policies and best practices their school or district has in place or needs to develop to support students and prepare them to learn.1 But once you’ve completed the School Health Index, how can you make changes if you don’t have any budget for them? The good news is that many schools are able to make meaningful changes, even with zero funding, or they are able to raise money or resources from community organizations, local businesses, or government agencies.


Here are 10 examples of changes school districts have put into place after completing their School Health Index.

  1. Alaska’s Petersburg School District shifted from serving early-morning breakfasts to serving mid-morning breakfasts. Students were more interested in eating later in the morning, so this time change quadrupled participation in the school’s breakfast program.2
  2. In Idaho’s Blackfoot School District, high school students, school staff members, and community volunteers worked together to renovate the school cafeteria over the 2015 winter break.3
  3. Maine’s East End Community School piloted a Walking School Bus program to encourage kids to get more physical activity by safely walking to school in a group. In addition to increased physical activity, participants were less likely than nonparticipants to be absent from school or tardy to school.4
  4. Education leaders in Michigan started morning walking clubs in schools, which organize 10-minute walks in the hallways before classes begin.5
  5. Michigan schools also switched from candy and cookie sales as fundraisers to selling evergreen wreaths to raise money with zero calories.5
  6. Schools in Mississippi added walking trails to school campuses.6
  7. New Hampshire schools implemented an “omelet day” each week as a healthy school breakfast option.7
  8. Thirty-one schools in New York state developed improved nutrition standards for food and beverages sold in school stores, in vending machines, and as fundraisers, so junk food is replaced with healthier options.8
  9. Simply by moving their salad bars to a high-traffic area, Ohio’s Cloverleaf School District increased produce consumption by 350%.9
  10. In Utah’s Davis School District, both faculty members and students enjoy 15 minutes of morning physical activity and 10 more minutes after lunch, in addition to the students’ physical education classes and recess. As a result, student tardiness and absences decreased while academic performance increased.10

Making small changes can have a big impact on student health. If you want to make an impact as an education leader for healthy schools, you may want to earn your Education Specialist (EdS) degree. An EdS degree is a great option for continuing your education after you’ve earned a master’s degree—and an EdS doesn’t require a dissertation.

You can earn your Education Specialist degree while continuing to work, by earning a degree online. Completing your EdS degree can help open the door to a new set of career opportunities and give you the education you need to become an educational leader or a school principal.

Walden University, an accredited university, offers an EdS in Educational Leadership and Administration (Principal Licensure Preparation) online degree program that can help you gain the leadership skills to become a knowledgeable administrator of high-performing, healthy schools. Walden’s faculty is composed of experienced educators who want to help you become an effective, transformative school principal or education administrator.

Take the next step up in your career with Walden. Earn your EdS in Educational Leadership and Administration (Principal Preparation) degree online on your own schedule. Become a licensed school principal or administrator through a program that is nationally recognized by the Educational Leadership Constituent Council. Expand your career options and earn your EdS using a convenient, flexible learning format that fits your busy life.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,

Walden is approved by the Minnesota Board of School Administrators and by the Ohio Department of Higher Education to offer a program leading to initial principal licensure. Candidates must select if they wish to pursue Minnesota or Ohio licensure requirements before the end of their first course in the program. All candidates must pass the required Ohio principal licensure exam (OAE 015 Educational Leadership Exam) in order to complete the program. Candidates seeking licensure in Minnesota or Ohio are responsible for completing any other Minnesota or Ohio requirements beyond Walden’s state-approved program. The Minnesota Board of School Administrators or the Ohio Department of Higher Education is solely responsible for reviewing applications and issuing licenses.

Individuals interested in licensure in states other than Minnesota or Ohio may qualify by virtue of completing a state-approved educator preparation program; however, individuals must review their state’s regulations to ensure the program meets all requirements, paying particular attention to any requirements specific to out-of-state program completers. Individuals who reside in certain states may be ineligible to enroll in this program. Walden Enrollment Specialists can provide guidance on licensure questions however, it remains the individual’s responsibility to understand and comply with all state licensure requirements. Walden makes no representation or guarantee that completion of Walden coursework or programs will permit an individual to obtain state licensure.

Prospective Alabama Students: State Authorization to provide a program related to the preparation of teachers or other P-12 school/ system personnel does not indicate eligibility for an Alabama professional educator or professional leadership certificate. Applicants who complete and educator preparation program at a non-Alabama institution must apply for an Alabama professional educator or professional leadership certificate through the Alabama Certificate Reciprocity Approach. Current requirements may be found at