What's Happening

Check out what our people and partners are researching, thinking, reading, writing, watching and doing! (Note: The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of ETR as an agency.)


Shafia Zaloom's New Book: Talking with Teens About Consent, Relationships and More
September 12, 2019

Shafia Zaloom's New Book: Talking with Teens About Consent, Relationships and More

By Pamela Anderson, PhD | September 12, 2019
Senior Research Associate, ETR

I literally love this book! I think everyone should read it. Shafia Zaloom is offering a unique new resource, and it’s fabulous.

I’m a developmental psychologist and researcher specializing in adolescent romantic relationships. That means I’ve seen plenty of books for parents and educators on how to have conversations with teens about sex and relationships. There are some great resources out there—and this is one of my new favorites for a number of reasons.

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Tags: Health education, Romantic relationships, Educators, Parents, Adolescents, Sex education
Developing Health Skills: Practicing Health-Enhancing Behaviors
September 5, 2019

Developing Health Skills: Practicing Health-Enhancing Behaviors

By Suzanne Schrag | September 5, 2019
Editor/Project Manager, ETR

An insight from a recent training: I’ve been writing a series of blog posts on the key skills for health literacy outlined in the National Health Education Standards (NHES). I’ve looked at how ETR’s HealthSmart program addresses six of these skills: Analyzing Influences, Accessing Resources, Interpersonal Communication, Decision Making, Goal Setting and Advocacy.

But, for some reason, a post around skill number seven—Practicing Health-Enhancing Behaviors—has been harder for me to conceptualize and write. A recent experience suddenly gave me a new perspective on how to think and talk about this important component of a comprehensive health education program.

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Tags: School health education, K-12, National Health Education Standards, Health education, HealthSmart
Changing the Narrative Around Suicide and Mental Illness: Youth United for Responsible Media Representation
September 3, 2019

Changing the Narrative Around Suicide and Mental Illness: Youth United for Responsible Media Representation

By Chloe Sorensen | September 3, 2019
Founder, Youth United for Responsible Media Representation

When I was a student at Gunn High School in Palo Alto, there was a youth suicide cluster in our community. By the time I graduated, I had lost five of my peers, including a close friend. Overwhelmed by grief and fear and unsure of how to move forward, I sought a way to channel my pain into action.

Halfway through my sophomore year, I found myself speaking at school board meetings and in other forums, advocating for the needs of students.

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Tags: Youth voice, Youth programs, Suicide prevention, Media, School mental health, Mental health
High School Youth Design Innovative Tech Solutions for Better Mental Health
June 4, 2019

High School Youth Design Innovative Tech Solutions for Better Mental Health

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. 

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Tags: YTH Initiative, STEM equity, Equity in Tech, High school, Youth, Youth centered health design, STEM education, YTH Live
Sexual Assault and Harassment in Schools: The Call to Action is Still Calling
April 30, 2019

Sexual Assault and Harassment in Schools: The Call to Action is Still Calling

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.

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Tags: Title IX, Gender-based harassment, Sexual harassment, Sexual violence prevention, Violence prevention, School health, K12T9
Empowered Literacy and Social Impact: Power Poetry for Teens
April 18, 2019

Empowered Literacy and Social Impact: Power Poetry for Teens

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.

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Tags: Writing, Youth voice, Youth programs, Youth empowerment
ETR and HealthSmart Head to SHAPE Tampa!
April 8, 2019

ETR and HealthSmart Head to SHAPE Tampa!

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.

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Tags: Health education, School health, HealthSmart
Best Practices of Sex Education in Get Real 2nd Edition
April 4, 2019

Best Practices of Sex Education in Get Real 2nd Edition

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!

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Tags: Evidence-based interventions, Young parents, LGBTQ youth, Inclusive education, Affirmative consent, Trauma informed schools, Sex education, Get Real
Building Health Skills: Interpersonal Communication
March 28, 2019

Building Health Skills: Interpersonal Communication

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. 

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Tags: K12, Comprehensive school health, School health education, Health education, National Health Education Standards, Communication, HealthSmart
Health Teachers + Professional Development Make a True Difference for Students
March 13, 2019

Health Teachers + Professional Development Make a True Difference for Students

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.

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Tags: School health education, School health, Physical education, Teachers, Professional development, HealthSmart, K12, Health education
How High School Sex Ed Can Help Prevent Rape In College
March 6, 2019

How High School Sex Ed Can Help Prevent Rape In College

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.

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Tags: High school, Refusal skills, Rape prevention, Sex education
Supporting Students, Teachers & Health Education through ESSA Funding
February 21, 2019

Supporting Students, Teachers & Health Education through ESSA Funding

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. 

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Tags: Physical education, HealthSmart, School health, School health education, ESSA
Three Ways to Supercharge Your HealthSmart Lessons
February 13, 2019

Three Ways to Supercharge Your HealthSmart Lessons

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).

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Tags: Teachers, School health education, Health education, HealthSmart
Building Health Skills: Analyzing Influences
February 7, 2019

Building Health Skills: Analyzing Influences

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.

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Tags: Health education, School health education, K12, HealthSmart
Professional Development for Teachers Makes Health Education Soar
January 29, 2019

Professional Development for Teachers Makes Health Education Soar

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.

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Tags: Training design, HealthSmart, Teachers, Professional development, School health education
My Alternate Reality: I'm a Student and I'm Not On Social Media
January 24, 2019

My Alternate Reality: I'm a Student and I'm Not On Social Media

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. 

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Tags: Technology, Texting, High school, Social media, Teens
Building Health Skills: Goal Setting
January 22, 2019

Building Health Skills: Goal Setting

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.

In fact, goal setting is one of the essential skills for health literacy defined in the National Health Education Standards (NHES), which means it’s also a skill focus in the HealthSmart program. 

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Tags: K12, School health education, Health education, HealthSmart
A Historic Year in Education and School Health
January 15, 2019

A Historic Year in Education and School Health

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. 

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Tags: HealthSmart, ESSA, School health education, Health education, K12, Comprehensive school health
Exemplary Professional Development: What Are the Critical Elements?
January 10, 2019

Exemplary Professional Development: What Are the Critical Elements?

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. 

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Tags: Teachers, Health education, HealthSmart, K12, Distributive learning process, Professional development
From the Ground into Our Schools: Parent/Guardian Awareness of Radon Levels
December 13, 2018

From the Ground into Our Schools: Parent/Guardian Awareness of Radon Levels

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.

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Tags: Research, School health

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