The Maryland Assembly on School-Based Health Care is in its second phase of its Hallways to Health program. Hallways to Health is a partnership with the School-Based Health Alliance and Kaiser Permanente’s Thriving Schools movement. As one of the five state affiliates that are part of the Hallways to Health initiative, the Maryland Assembly on School-Based Health Care works with school-based health centers at St. Frances Academy and Northwood High School to implement Hallways to Health.
Hallways to Health’s second phase began this past school year (2015-2016). During this phase, the Hallways to Health initiative aims to provide school-based health centers with the necessary skills and resources to make improvements in the access to and delivery of services that target obesity prevention and treatment, social and emotional health, and school employee wellness. Including providing technical assistance trainings and conducting needs assessments for both students and school employees.
During the first phase of Hallways to Health, the participating Maryland sites were able to achieve huge strides in creating healthier school communities both within and outside their clinic’s walls. Coppin Clinic at St. Frances Academy was able to hold an annual student versus teacher basketball game, conduct teacher appreciation days that focused on healthy living, expand their 15 week Healthy Me curriculum for freshmen, and provide nutritional counseling to students that were deemed overweight or obese. At Northwood High School, the SBHC was able to establish a protocol for tracking BMI of all students that are seen in the clinic and provide them with one-on-one nutritional counseling, start an after school nutrition education program for students, and collaborate with the Center for Science in the Public Interest on a cooking program to make ethnic foods healthier.
St. Frances Academy
The Coppin State University School-Based and Community Health Center at St. Frances Academy (the Coppin Clinic at St. Frances) located in Baltimore City has been serving students since 2008 and became open to the community in 2010.
As part of the second phase of Hallways to Health, St. Frances Academy has been able to focus on expanding the health and wellness services it provides to teachers and staff. Improving the wellness of employees can directly impact the health of students, not just through improved job performance, but also through positive role-modeling of healthy behaviors. During the 2015-2016 school year, St. Frances Academy’s SBHC staff worked to establish a staff wellness committee, renovate the staff break room to become a more welcoming space, advocate for access to the school gym and workout area for staff and teachers, and hold an annual staff development day that focuses on healthy eating and managing stress.
Northwood High School
The Northwood High School-Based Wellness Center is located Montgomery County. This grant has allowed Northwood School-Based Wellness Center increase the wellness services to students and staff.
Northwood High has been working on addressing the high rate of absenteeism during this second phase of Hallways to Health. Northwood’s primary policy goal has been attempting to address absenteeism with a pilot in-class breakfast program through a partnership with Nourish Now. As a result of the pilot breakfast program, students had a recognizable increase in energy, they began to arrive earlier to class, and there was an improvement in their grades. Northwood’s SBHC will be sharing these finding with school administrators with the hope of expanding the breakfast program for the 2016-17 school year. Northwood has also worked on small incremental policy changes such as extending the hours staff has access to their break room. Staff and teachers have not had access to their break room during after school hours; this prevents them from having access to the refrigerator and microwave. Thus, leaving them with the inability to bring healthy snack options to keep if they must stay after school hours. Northwood SBHC staff is doing the leg work to see if expanding the break room hours is possible.
MASBHC’s Hallways to Health sites are looking forward to continuing this initiative and expanding their reach among students, staff, and teachers during the 2016-17 school year. For more information on Hallways to Health, visit the School-Based Health Alliance website.