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.)

School Report: Let’s Be Advocates!
January 11, 2017
School Report: Let’s Be Advocates!

By John Henry Ledwith | January 11, 2017
Senior Sales Manager, ETR

We’ve had some seriously rainy weather in Northern California this past week. The storm outside was a good incentive for me to do a little clean-up and organizing inside.

As I opened file drawers and cabinet doors, I ploughed through several years’ worth of articles, notes, photos and papers. Some were still keepers. And others—ideas past their prime—went off to recycle.

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Tags: K-12, Advocacy, NHES
What’s Your District’s School Health Policy?
November 17, 2016
What’s Your District’s School Health Policy?

By John Henry Ledwith | November 17, 2016
Senior Sales Manager, ETR

I love school health advocates! Earlier this month I got to spend time with a whole bunch of them at the School Health Education and Services Section (SHES) of the APHA annual meetings. As usual, joining up with that crowd was an illuminating and inspiring process.

Here we all are, in one room. We’re from all over the country. We’re talking about the best ways to promote school health and health education. Making connections to strengthen our community. Talking about the best ways to train the school health educators of tomorrow.

Right there in the room, we probably had more wisdom about school policy, school boards, and health education than you could find anywhere else in the world.

Which is why I was surprised when almost no one could answer the following question.

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Tags: School health education, Policy, K-12
Letter from a Salty College Student: Our Editor Responds
October 13, 2016
Letter from a Salty College Student: Our Editor Responds

By ETR | October 13, 2016

We hear regularly from customers about our health education materials. Sometimes they share praise and compliments for a product they’ve found helpful. Sometimes they ask for a new title or resource they need. And sometimes they offer constructive feedback about something that doesn’t quite work in their situation.

We’ve also gotten some really vitriolic criticism from vapers, who tend to dislike our public health messages about e-cigarettes. In fact, when we posted a video a while back about our new vaping title, we actually had to turn off public comments because of all the offensive outbursts, expletives and threats.

That’s one of the reasons our Product Editor, Laura Perkins, was particularly touched by a critical but respectful email she received recently from a college student in New York. 

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Tags: New products, Vaping, Tobacco
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
“But Those Teens Don’t Look Like Us”: Adapting Video Content for Evidence-Based Programs
August 31, 2016
“But Those Teens Don’t Look Like Us”: Adapting Video Content for Evidence-Based Programs

By Joan Singson and Suzanne Schrag | August 31, 2016
Program Manager and Editor/Product Manager, ETR

Do you like stories? Most people do, and, like Peter Seller’s character in Being There, “We like to watch.” Many of the evidence-based programs (EBPs) being used across the country, including many that ETR distributes, incorporate DVDs. Videos can be a useful and engaging strategy to hold participants’ attention, encourage fruitful discussions and allow youth to personalize information by relating to the characters’ stories and situations.

One of the most frequent questions we get concerning program adaptations relates to videos—in particular, whether videos can be left out or replaced with other videos. Often the question arises when facilitators do not think the included videos are representative of the youth they serve.

Here are some options to consider (and to discuss with program officers) when thinking about adaptations around videos.

Free Webinar for OAH TPP Grantees and other youth-serving professionals using ETR’s evidence-based programs 

Sign up for our free webinar, ETR Evidence-Based Programs Revisions Booster. This one-hour event will review recent revisions to our EBPs and answer questions. Wednesday, September 21, 10:00–11:00 am Pacific Standard Time. Learn more and register here.

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Tags: Evidence-based interventions, Adaptation, Videos
Youth Who Puzzle Us: Recent Work in Neuroscience Explains Why
August 29, 2016
Youth Who Puzzle Us: Recent Work in Neuroscience Explains Why

By Vignetta Charles, PhD | August 29, 2016
Chief Science Officer, ETR

Do you work with adolescents? Have you ever faced situations like these?

Sofia is an excellent student, popular on campus and a delightful member of your peer health educator program. She knows everything about birth control, STI prevention and making smart choices. She loves educating her peers. She and her boyfriend come to see you one afternoon and tell you they are pregnant.

* * *

Ethan’s parents are shocked and baffled when their 16-year-old son, along with several of his friends, is arrested for underage drinking. One of the kids, highly inebriated, was driving the group around in his dad’s car. “Ethan is such a quiet boy,” they tell the police. “He’s never gotten into any kind of trouble.”

* * *

Milo is engaging, thoughtful, self-observant and easy-going—as long as he’s in a one-on-one situation with an adult. But as soon as he’s with his peers, he can’t stop acting out. He makes jokes, creates disruptions and sometimes teases classmates rather cruelly.

We all know that teens sometimes behave in these ways. But why? New developments in neuroscience actually give us some answers on this—and suggest several promising remedies.

Webinar: Survive or Thrive? Re-Envisioning Adolescent Success

We recently collaborated with the California School Based Health Alliance on a webinar describing and applying the new insights in developmental neuroscience. Our goal is to re-think and re-envision how we educate, raise and care for young people on their path to lifelong health and wellbeing. You can find links to the webinar recording and slides ("Survive or Thrive? Using Neuroscience to Re-Envision Adolescent Success") and information about other upcoming CSBHA webinars here.

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Tags: Neurodevelopment, Neuroscience, Teens, Risk reduction
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
Looking to the Future: Educational Research and AERA16
May 25, 2016
Looking to the Future: Educational Research and AERA16

By Julie Adams | May 25, 2016
Research Assistant, ETR

The 2016 American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting was held in Washington, DC last month. It marked the 100th anniversary of education researchers meeting to talk about current issues in education, research and policy. As a first-time attendee, I was inspired to see so many people gather in one place, all dedicated to improving the future of education.

I’ve been reflecting on the information shared by some of the most notable researchers in the field over the course of those five exciting days. Here are three ideas I believe are essential to keep in mind as I continue my career in research.

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Tags: Research, Education research, Diversity in technology, Computer science education
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
Real-World Health Education: Putting the 15 Characteristics to Work
April 11, 2016
Real-World Health Education: Putting the 15 Characteristics to Work

By Susan Telljohann, HSD, CHES | April 11, 2016
Professor Emeritus, Department of Health Education, The University of Toledo

I want to talk to you about power—the power you have to influence students and support them in choosing healthy behaviors. I also want to tell you about one of the most effective tools you can use to put that power to work in the real world of your classrooms and schools.

This is a concrete, research-proven resource that educators can put to work simply, right now, to build greater success with students. And yes, as you may have guessed from the title of this post, that tool is the 15 Characteristics of An Effective Health Education Curriculum.

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Tags: K-12, School health education, Health education, 15 Characteristics of Effective Health Education
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
Sex Ed in America—the Good News
August 13, 2015
Sex Ed in America—the Good News

Suzanne Schrag | August 13, 2015
Editor/Product Manager, ETR

John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight segment on Sex Education has certainly been getting some air play around the country, as well as here at the ETR offices. If you haven’t yet seen it, it’s well worth watching. (Note: Language may not be suitable for work—use your headphones just in case.)

Oliver points out the glaring inconsistencies in what young people in the United States are being—and not being—taught about sex. He offers up a very funny video at the end of the segment that would truly be a huge improvement to many of those that have been shown in sex ed classrooms across the U.S.

There’s plenty of bite, of course, in pointing out what’s not working, or what’s just plain wrong, about sexuality education in this country. But what is the best way to give kids the straight-up facts in a manner that will actually shape their choices and influence their behaviors?

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Tags: Sex education, Sexual and reproductive health, Pregnancy prevention, STD prevention
How Great Partners Are Moving Student Health Forward
May 11, 2015
How Great Partners Are Moving Student Health Forward

By John Shields, PhD, MSW | May 11, 2015
Senior Research Associate, ETR

I’ve been thinking quite a lot about my professional partnerships lately. Over the past 14 years, ETR has provided me with opportunities to partner with many community-based organizations and institutions. Now, I can’t honestly say they’ve all been easy. “Stuff” happens. But I can say each one has given me a chance to create fascinating relationships and do meaningful work that has a genuine impact.

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Tags: School health, Research, K-12, Partnerships
Do Something Extraordinary! A Roadmap to Program Sustainability in School Health Education
March 9, 2015
Do Something Extraordinary! A Roadmap to Program Sustainability in School Health Education

By Jessica Lawrence, MS | March 9, 2015
Director, Cairn Guidance

“Young lady, let me tell you something. There are people who take life by the reins and forge full speed ahead, and people who sit back and wait for things to happen to them. I think I know which category you fit into.”
—Citizen in Dayville, OR, June 2013

Two years ago this month I prepared for a goal I had daydreamed about since I was a teen. I completed a bicycle ride across the United States, cycling 4,197 miles solo from the Oregon coast to the Rhode Island shore.

My goal wasn’t only to make it safely to the east coast. I was raising funds for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and I intended to enjoy the ride. I also wanted to model that balance of work and play we all strive for on a daily basis. I scrambled to leave town while sustaining school health contracts, hoping to maintain communication with my clients while on the journey.

And did it work? Yes! This was the most amazing adventure of my life so far.

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Tags: School health, Health education, Sustaining programs, Inspiration

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