By Laiah Idelson, MSPH | June 4, 2019
Strategic Partnerships & Innovation Lead, YTH Initiative, ETR
What happens when a motivated, creative group of high school juniors and seniors is asked, “How might we use technology to create an innovative solution to improve the mental health of young people?”
To answer this question, our team conducted nine workshops from January through April this year. Seventy-seven juniors and seniors at De Anza High School in Richmond, CA, joined in.
By John Shields, PhD, MSW | April 30, 2019
Senior Research Scientist, ETR
Journalist Tyler Kingkade’s recent story for The 74 is such a disturbing read that it appropriately includes this warning: This article contains graphic descriptions of sexual assault involving children. Still, it’s critical that you do read and understand it. You will see that there’s an immense amount of uphill work we must do to protect K-12 students from sexual and gender-based assault and harassment.
By George Weiner | April 18, 2019
Co-Founder and CTO, Power Poetry
A single poem—a simple combination of well-chosen words—can liberate a young person's soul. "A great poem is no finish to a man or woman, but rather a beginning," wrote Walt Whitman.
It is in this spirit of new beginnings that the To Be Heard Foundation (TBH) carries forth its mission: to educate youth through heightened literacy. We seek to empower youth as individuals, within their communities, and as social activists through a mastery of reading, writing and expression of poetry. The foundation sponsors the work of two core programs, Power Writers and Power Poetry.
By Jamie Sparks, MA | April 8, 2019
School Health Program Manager, ETR
This week, health and physical education leaders and teachers from across the country are descending on Tampa, Florida. They’re heading in for the the annual SHAPE America National Convention and Expo.
I am excited and humbled that my first official convention as a part of the ETR team will also be the moment I step into my role as president of SHAPE America. Receiving the news last year in Nashville that my peers had selected me as president-elect was the highest honor in my professional career.
By Teagan Drawbridge-Quealy, MEd & MSW | April 4, 2019
Get Real Trainer, Planned Parenthood League of MA
Here in the Northeast, it feels like winter might just be fading. Spring is coming, and with spring, the end of the school year is just around the corner. For many educators the start of spring also means the start of sex education in their health classes, coinciding with the changing of seasons. Maybe there is something to the “birds and the bees” after all!
By Suzanne Schrag | March 27, 2019
Editor/Project Manager, ETR
If you’re an educator, you know that children and youth communicate all the time. Most classrooms and school grounds present an absolute flurry of communication. It’s no wonder the National Health Education Standards expressly include interpersonal communication as an essential element of effective health education.
This is because communicating about health, and knowing how to communicate in ways that build relationships, are distinctive skills that take practice to master.
By Chris Moore, MS and Rachel Erisman | March 13, 2019
Health Educator/Assistant Soccer Coach (CM) and Health & Physical Education Instructor (RE), Fort Worth Independent School District
You could call us lucky health teachers. We are lucky enough to work within the Fort Worth Independent School District. For the last several years, FWISD has put a big emphasis on professional development (PD) for its health teachers.
This has helped us become stronger and better educators. It’s helped all our colleagues—both the seasoned vets and the newbies. Most importantly, it’s creating a more engaged and energetic health education environment for our students. We have some suggestions for educators who’d like to introduce more effective PD in their setting.
By Christopher Pepper | March 6, 2019
Health Education Content Specialist, San Francisco Unified School District
Comprehensive sexuality education helps young people make informed decisions, prevent unwanted pregnancies, and reduce their risks for sexually transmitted infections. But can it actually help prevent rape? A groundbreaking new study says it can.
By Daniel Hill, NBCT and Debbie Boian | February 21, 2019
Physical Education Instructor (DH) and Health Services Coordinator (DB), Fayette County Public Schools
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is transforming opportunities in health and physical education. We are moving away from federal mandates and into an era where local communities can step forward and create powerful, locally relevant programs in health and PE.
Finally! We have greater local control and an act that identifies health and PE as essential subjects in a well-rounded education. That means new funding is available to support exemplary health and PE programs.
By ETR | February 13, 2019
Here at ETR, we’re very proud of HealthSmart. This signature health education curriculum is a dynamic, exciting program for educators and students alike. HealthSmart supports the National Health Education Standards, National Sexuality Education Standards and Common Core State Standards. The lesson objectives and assessments are based on knowledge and skill expectations outlined in the Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT).
By Suzanne Schrag | February 7, 2019
Editor/Project Manager, ETR
What makes young people do the things they do? And how does this affect their choices about health and risk?
Young people’s health behaviors can be influenced by a number of different factors, including family, friends, entertainment and social media, fads and trends, and their own internal attitudes and beliefs. One particularly powerful area of influence is the family, peer and social norms they see reflected in the actions and values of those around them. The things they see—and, sometimes even more important, the things they think they see (the perceived norms)—can either support or discourage healthy behaviors.
By Georgi Roberts and Brooke Sharples | January 29, 2019
Director of Health & Physical Education (GR) and Health Education Coordinator Fort Worth Independent School District (BS)
We are passionate about health education. We believe in educating youth to give them the skills to make good health decisions. If we don’t take these steps, it’s hardly fair for us to expect young people to make the right choices about their health.
By Jessica Hilger | January 22, 2019
Second year undergraduate, Santa Clara University
As a high school senior, I wrote a college admission essay about why I chose not to be on social media. Today, halfway through my second year in college, I have some additional thoughts about social media in my life. But let’s start with where I was as a high school senior.
I was able to survive all of my teenage years without being on any form of social media at all.
By Suzanne Schrag | January 22, 2019
Editor/Project Manager, ETR
“In 2019, I’m finally going to…eat better…meditate daily…get fit…stop smoking…”
Ah, the New Year. A time for making plans and setting goals—often ones that are health related. But moving those aspirations from wishful thinking into action steps isn’t always easy, and it definitely takes skill.
By Jamie Sparks | January 15, 2019
School Health Program Manager, ETR
The current school year is historic. Every state has shifted away from the federal education accountability mandates of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and towards state-created measures aligned to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
For those of us who have worked diligently for decades to promote and prioritize school health, this offers a “giant step” opportunity.
By Tracy Wright, MAED | January 10, 2019
Project Director, ETR
At ETR, we value research and science. We apply those values throughout all of our work and across the entire agency. We encourage other organizations to do the same.
A few years back, ETR conducted a synthesis of current research on professional development (PD) programs. Our goal? To determine the critical elements needed to provide PD that leads to change in learners' practice—that is, PD that has a true impact.
By Kirsten Martin | December 13, 2018
Third Year Medical Student, Larner College of Medicine at The University of Vermont
Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. In spite of this, 38 states have no legislation requiring that radon levels be monitored in schools. Vermont, where I currently reside, is one of these states.
By Narda Skov, MPH | October 30, 2018
Project Coordinator, ETR
Theater has captured people’s interest for thousands of years. It takes on many forms—traditional African storytelling and drumming, shadow puppets in Indonesia, Chinese opera, simple local children’s theaters and high-production Broadway musicals. In every form, across every culture, theater has the potential to create magical moments and memorable experiences.
By Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES | October 23, 2018
Senior Editor, ETR
ETR has now hosted four Kirby Summits. These convenings bring together a small group of brilliant people with a shared commitment to promoting adolescent health and well being.
The key to the Summit’s uniqueness? While each one of the invited participants brings impressive expertise, as a group they come from different disciplines and perspectives.
By Clint Bruess, EdD, CHES, and Elizabeth Schroeder, EdD, MSW | October 16, 2018
Dean Emeritus, University of Alabama at Birmingham (CB) and Sexuality Educator, Trainer and Consultant, Elizabeth Schroeder Consulting (ES)
We’ve just finished writing a new edition of our book on sexuality education, which has been in print for almost 40 years. That’s a long time! A lot of people ask us, “What’s changed in sex ed over so many years?” The easy answer is, a lot has changed—and yet an astonishing amount has stayed the same.