What's Happening

Check out what our people and partners are researching, thinking, reading, writing, watching and doing!

(Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of ETR as an agency.)

Comprehensive School Health: A Matter of Life
September 27, 2016
Comprehensive School Health: A Matter of Life

By John Henry Ledwith |  September 27, 2016
Senior Sales Manager, ETR

What’s the true value of a comprehensive school health program? I have a surprisingly simple answer: it’s a matter of life.

This came home to me starkly the other day as I sat with a group of people who had been an integral part of my sons’ childhood and teen years. Here were some of their coaches, many of their friends, the parents of their friends. And my boys, too, now young men in their 20’s.

We had come to honor and remember a friend and former teammate who had taken his own life the previous week. We sat baffled and heartsick as we listened to this young man’s father, reaching out to the people in the room, appealing to us: “Please, do not focus on this one bad decision, this momentary impulse, of my son’s life. Do not let that define who he was and the memories you carry onward. He was so much more than this!”

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Tags: School health education, WSCC, K-12, Comprehensive school health, Social emotional health
Tale of a Health Education Evangelist
August 11, 2016
Tale of a Health Education Evangelist

By John Henry Ledwith | August 11, 2016
Senior Sales Manager, ETR

Someone asked me the other day, “Why are you such an evangelist for HealthSmart?” Actually, I get this question a lot. HealthSmart is ETR’s premiere health education program, and I talk about it all the time—not just as part of my job, but as part of my life.

If a friend mentions a disturbing new report about school bullying, or brings up the latest statistics about teens and tobacco, I’m likely to say, “You know, HealthSmart has some great lessons on exactly that topic!” If someone tells me their kids are attending a new school, I ask, “Are they using HealthSmart for their health education program?”

Sure. I’m an evangelist. But I’m a health education evangelist. I believe health is one of the most important topics we can bring to our children and youth. It can literally make life-and-death differences for them. And I happen to think that HealthSmart is absolutely the best health education program out there.

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Tags: K-12, School health education, HealthSmart
How Teachers Changed My Kids’ Lives
May 12, 2016
How Teachers Changed My Kids’ Lives

By John Henry Ledwith | May 12, 2016
Senior Sales Manager, ETR

It’s springtime! Birds are singing, flowers are blooming, kids are dreaming of summer vacation. And teachers? They’re already planning for next year’s classes and curricula.

Yes, lots of people are looking forward at this moment. But I find I’m actually reflecting back on years past. My wife and I have raised two wonderful sons. Both are about to graduate from college this June. As they finish up their undergraduate education, I’m feeling particularly grateful for the dedication and creativity of the K-12 teachers who reached out, gave them a hand and helped them succeed.

My kids are utterly distinct individuals who learn in wildly different ways. If you ever wanted a real-world example of Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences, spend a little time with the Ledwith boys.

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Tags: K-12, Teachers, Gratitude, Learning styles
School Report: Why Peer Support Is Better Than Watching Your Own Back
March 9, 2016
School Report: Why Peer Support Is Better Than Watching Your Own Back

By John Henry Ledwith  | March 9, 2016
Senior Sales Manager, ETR

I am a lucky man. I get to work with school health educators all over this fine country. That means I get to see some of the most inspired, inventive, dedicated work being done anywhere in the world. It’s work that has the potential to make a huge difference in the lives of kids and across communities.

Almost every day, I engage with people looking at how we can build communities that offer support to guide adolescents toward healthy choices. I often think about the force of peer groups as a social determinant of health. I’m fascinated by the power of peers to influence one another’s health, safety and future. Like most of my colleagues, I’m always asking how health educators can most effectively shape positive peer group values and norms.

And, like most of my colleagues, I also have concerns about the ways peer norms and values sometimes have negative effects.

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Tags: K-12, Health education, Violence prevention, HealthSmart
School Report: Planning for Unique Solutions
February 11, 2016
School Report: Planning for Unique Solutions

By John Henry Ledwith | February 11, 2016
Senior Sales Manager, ETR

It’s that time of year again. Early spring. Budget planning. Curriculum review committees. Educators at every level taking a look at what they’ve been doing and wondering if it’s time to try something new to reach their students more effectively.

As schools and districts make their projections and plans for the 2016-17 school year, the ETR crew starts to get calls from people all over the country. (After all, we’re the leading distributor of evidence-based prevention programs, as well as the publisher of the premiere comprehensive health program HealthSmart.)

The truth is, I never know exactly what questions will come up. 

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Tags: K-12, HealthSmart, HECAT, NHES
Free Play: Emboldened by the Power
January 8, 2016
Free Play: Emboldened by the Power

By John Henry Ledwith | January 8, 2015
Senior Sales Manager, ETR

Recently I had the interesting experience of hearing Dr. Peter Gray deliver the closing keynote at the Texas State AHPERD (TAHPERD) meeting. This is an annual gathering of the Lone Star state’s physical and health education teachers.

The Texas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance is committed to “the development of knowledge and programs that promote active, healthy lifestyles and enhance skilled, aesthetic motor performance.”

Dr. Gray’s topic was “How Free Play Promotes Children’s Social and Emotional and Intellectual Development." He has long been sounding the alarm about the decline of play and its impact on adolescents. (The Ted Talk video below is highly recommended!)

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Tags: K-12, Children, Physical education, Free play, Child development
Hey, Coach. Teaching Sex Ed? How’s That Going for You?
October 8, 2015
Hey, Coach. Teaching Sex Ed? How’s That Going for You?

By John Henry Ledwith | October 8, 2015
Senior Sales Manager, ETR

I was in a room full of coaches the other day. I loved it. These men and women are so dedicated to their art and craft. They’re athletes. They’re achievers. They’re deeply committed to their students.

But this was a training addressing sexuality education. Frankly, not all of these teachers wanted to be there. They’d rather be running with their PE courses, helping students develop physical skills, build teamwork and boost confidence.

Fact: People have different levels of comfort teaching sensitive issues. Fact: Classes on sexual and reproductive health bring up a lot of sensitive issues. 

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Tags: School health, K-12, Sex education, Physical education
When Kids Are Struggling, Teachers Are There
September 14, 2015
When Kids Are Struggling, Teachers Are There

By John Henry Ledwith | September 14, 2015
Senior Sales Manager, ETR

When I think about the teachers who’ve been part of my family’s life, I’m endlessly impressed with the dedication and heart they’ve brought to their classrooms. My kids grew up in K–12 public schools. More than once, I’ve stood in awe as I watched a gifted teacher grab kids’ attention, inspire them, guide their learning and still manage to maintain some semblance of order within those classroom walls.

What prepares teachers to deal with the intensity of child and adolescent growth and development? There is probably no other profession where we expect people to cover so much ground with a population of such varied ability and drive.

I had a conversation with an old friend the other day that really brought this home. 

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Tags: K-12, School mental health, Mental health, Teachers
The Best Health Ed Curriculum for Your School? Here’s Your Answer!
August 18, 2015
The Best Health Ed Curriculum for Your School? Here’s Your Answer!

By Susan Telljohann, HSD, CHES | August 18, 2015
Professor Emeritus, Department of Health Education, The University of Toledo

Something quite remarkable has occurred over the past two decades in the field of school health education. We’ve gotten evidence!

We’ve explored, examined, tested and refined everything we know about how to provide meaningful, effective health education in school settings. We know enough now to design and deliver programs that have a true impact.

And now we have a whole lot of programs to choose from. Evidence-based. Evidence-informed. Theory-informed. Traditional. Flipped. Innovative and exciting, but unproven.

How do schools committed to program success choose the program that’s going to work best in their setting?

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Tags: School health, Evidence-based interventions, Evidence-informed interventions, Health education, K-12
School Report: Flexing the Plan
April 9, 2015
School Report: Flexing the Plan

By John Henry Ledwith | April 9, 2015
National Sales Manager, ETR

I never cease to be amazed at the skill and art of fine teaching. Here’s a story I heard last week from a high school teacher I know.

Students were coming into her classroom at the beginning of the period. Two young men started talking about a fight that occurred the night before between a couple of their peers. They took different sides on the fight.

Their talk was assertive, then challenging, then trash. Racial epithets were tossed back and forth. Other students started joining in and the entire situation was escalating.

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Tags: K-12, Health education, School health, Teachers
Winter into Spring: School Health Plans
February 5, 2015
Winter into Spring: School Health Plans

By John Henry Ledwith | February 5, 2015
National Sales Manager, ETR

Happy February! What a great time to plan some dynamic school health activities for the coming months. In most parts of the country we still have some super-cold days ahead. Those are the days when Physical Education classes move indoors, and everyone tries to figure out what to do with a bunch of energetic, slightly stir-crazy kids.

And we’ll also start seeing the thaw into spring—the occasional crisp, sunny day, that changing angle of light that tells us the earth is moving on its axis and, yes, baseball season is coming again!

Indoors, outdoors—it doesn’t matter. These are all perfect days to support Healthy Behavior Outcomes for your student population.

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Tags: K-12, School health, HealthSmart
School Report: Line Up & Sign Up
December 9, 2014
School Report: Line Up & Sign Up

By John Henry Ledwith | December 9, 2014

One of the truly rewarding things about the work I do is that I get to interact with school professionals on both the local and national levels.

When I talk to people in the local school world—teachers, health educators, administrators—I often hear questions such as:

  • Where can I go for more information on school health?
  • Whom can I talk to about the health issues in my school community?
  • Where can I engage in conversations that will help me grow as a health educator and contribute my own ideas to the process?

Of course, ETR is always available to respond to and answer any questions we can. But the real key is building your network with other classroom professionals. And there are many ways to do that.

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Tags: School health, K-12
School Report - November 2014: Teachers, School Health & Transformation
November 13, 2014
School Report - November 2014: Teachers, School Health & Transformation

By John Henry Ledwith | November 13, 2014

I love teacher trainings! As long as I’ve been going to these events—and I’ve gone to a good many—I always learn something new.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in Buffalo, New York, with a group of about 80 teachers being introduced to their new health curriculum—ETR’s signature product, HealthSmart. The training was facilitated by Susan Telljohann, PhD, one of the authors of HealthSmart, a master trainer, and a leading thinker in school health theory and development today.

This was quite the group. First of all (and speaking as a native son) these folks were New Yorkers! They were smart, dynamic, personal, and totally willing to participate.

Second...

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Tags: HealthSmart, K-12, School health, Health education
School Report - October 2014: Ally Week - Joining In with Enthusiasm
October 15, 2014
School Report - October 2014: Ally Week - Joining In with Enthusiasm

By Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES | October 15, 2014

What an amazing experience. Like many of you, I’ve been following the activity on Twitter in support of #AllyWeek. Sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), this event gives us all an opportunity to reflect on the ways we and our organizations are stepping up to give support to LGBT youth.

I’ve been involved in the field of health education long enough to remember a time when even mentioning that LGBTQ students were in our schools and our sexual and reproductive health classes was a radical and courageous act. And I admit I did not always take that courageous path myself when the opportunity presented itself.

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Tags: Teens, Health education, LGBTQ, LGBTQ youth
School Report - October 2014: ASHA Looks at the Whole Child
October 14, 2014
School Report - October 2014: ASHA Looks at the Whole Child

By John Henry Ledwith | October 14, 2014

There is some real excitement going around in the school health world. I just saw an impressive portion of it first hand at the 2014 American School Health Association (ASHA) conference in Portland, Oregon. This is one of the few places where a national audience of teachers, administrators and academics get together to focus on the future of kids through the vehicle of school health. This remarkable group of people has pumped up the volume and aimed the field towards a new level.

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Tags: School health, Health education, K-12
School Report - August 2014
August 12, 2014
School Report - August 2014

By John Henry Ledwith

Physical activity and good nutrition benefit student learning and academic success. The start of the school year is an ideal time to think about how your school supports healthy nutrition and physical activity. A number of programs are helping schools build healthier kids and more successful students.

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Tags: HealthSmart, K-12, Nutrition, Fitness
School Report - June 2014
June 13, 2014
School Report - June 2014

By John Henry Ledwith

For those who work in a school setting, summer brings a number of specialized tasks designed to prepare teachers, schools and students for the year ahead. If you’ve received or are applying for grants that require HECAT-aligned health education programs, ETR can help you sift through the possibilities and make effective choices.

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Tags: HealthSmart, K-12, HECAT