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.)


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
Theater in Education: Engaging Students Through Intellect & Emotion
October 30, 2018

Theater in Education: Engaging Students Through Intellect & Emotion

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.

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Tags: Sexual and reproductive health, School health education, Health education
Kirby Summit IV: Scaffolding for Adolescent Relationships
October 23, 2018

Kirby Summit IV: Scaffolding for Adolescent Relationships

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.

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Tags: Romantic relationships, Developmental relationships, Adolescent health, Adolescent development, Sexual and reproductive health, Kirby summit
40 Years of Sexuality Education: What's Changed?
October 16, 2018

40 Years of Sexuality Education: What's Changed?

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. 

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Tags: K12, Sexual and reproductive health, Sex education
Atima, Honduras: Transformative Health Education
October 4, 2018

Atima, Honduras: Transformative Health Education

By Jody Gan, MPH, CHES | October 4, 2018
Instructor, Department of Health Studies, American University

Three years ago, I became the first health educator to join a volunteer brigade providing medical and public health services to Honduras. For two decades, the Organization for Community Health Outreach (OCHO), based in Baltimore, Maryland, has sent a 40-person medical team to Atima, in the province of Santa Barbara. This is a mountain community of about 16,000 people in one of the most underserved and remote areas of the country.

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Tags: Evidence-based interventions, International health, Adolescents, Volunteer, Pregnancy prevention, Sexual and reproductive health
#LetsTalkMonth: Join In for Impact
October 3, 2018

#LetsTalkMonth: Join In for Impact

By Jamie Barnett, MBA, CISSP | October 3, 2018
Parent Volunteer, Palo Alto Parents 4 Sex Ed

October is #LetsTalkMonth. This campaign is dedicated to frank conversations between young people and the adults they trust about sexual health. Thousands of parents, educators, administrators, social workers and students across the nation are joining in.

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Tags: Sexual and reproductive health, Parents, Teens, Sex education
#LetsTalkMonth Just Got a Whole Lot More Important
October 2, 2018

#LetsTalkMonth Just Got a Whole Lot More Important

By Jamie Barnett, MBA, CISSP | October 2, 2018
Parent Volunteer, Palo Alto Parents 4 Sex Ed

October is #LetsTalkMonth. I’ll be tackling some great topics with my kids—healthy relationships, equity, inclusion, ethics, domestic abuse, technology. We’ll also be talking about #MeToo. (Full disclosure: I have these talks with my kids pretty much all year long.)

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Tags: Sexual and reproductive health, Teens, Parents, Sex education
If It's September, This Must Be Teamwork
September 19, 2018

If It's September, This Must Be Teamwork

By John Henry Ledwith | September 19, 2018
National Sales Manager, ETR

Hello, September! Like many of you, I am part of a team that has been getting local classrooms ready for the new school year. The hum and clatter and movement of all of that effort has left me thinking a lot about teamwork this week.

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Tags: School health education, Health education, Teamwork, K12, HealthSmart
K12T9: Responding to the K12 #MeToo Crisis
September 17, 2018

K12T9: Responding to the K12 #MeToo Crisis

By John Shields, PhD, MSW | September 17, 2018
Senior Research Scientist and Director, K12T9 Initiative, ETR

We need the #MeToo movement. Widespread attention to sexual and gender-based harassment is long overdue. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been affected in some meaningful way by this national conversation.

Here at ETR, we celebrate this opportunity for education, enlightenment and change. 

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Tags: Sexual harassment, Sexual violence prevention, Violence prevention, School health, K12, Title IX, K12T9
ETR's Health Equity Framework in Practice: HealthSmart
August 31, 2018

ETR's Health Equity Framework in Practice: HealthSmart

By Suzanne Schrag | August 31, 2018
Editor/Product Manager, ETR

Jared is 11 years old and on his way to school. He usually stops at the bodega to buy a candy bar for a snack. But today is different. This week he is learning in school about increasing your heart rate through physical activity to stay healthy. Instead of stopping at the bodega, he runs around his block three times. He shows up to school a little sweaty but excited and energized.

By Suzanne Schrag
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Tags: School health education, Health education, Health Equity Framework, Health equity, K12, HealthSmart
Finding Stories for Inspiration: They Are In Our Lives
August 21, 2018

Finding Stories for Inspiration: They Are In Our Lives

By John Henry Ledwith | August 21, 2018
National Sales Manager, ETR

I heard a story last night that’s had me thinking about inspiration. I was at a performance of the John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band. The amazing Herb Pedersen told us about how he came to write one of the finest and most popular bluegrass songs ever, “Wait a Minute.”

By John Henry Ledwith
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Tags: Physical education, K12, Inspiration, School health education
Currently Reading: Youth Radio Reports on School Discipline in the Age of #MeToo
August 7, 2018

Currently Reading: Youth Radio Reports on School Discipline in the Age of #MeToo

By Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES | August 7, 2018
Senior Editor, ETR

Fifth grade. My girlfriends and I are on the climbing gym. We stay on the low bars and carefully tuck our skirts under us so the boys won’t look up our dresses. When we really want to bust free and climb up to the top, my friend Cyndi—one tough girl, I’ll tell you—runs foot patrol around the base. No boys allowed near the gym!

By Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES
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Tags: Sexual and reproductive health, Sexual assault prevention, Violence prevention, School mental health, School health, Sexual harassment, K12, Title IX, K12T9
Elementary Health Education: Observations from a Student
July 17, 2018

Elementary Health Education: Observations from a Student

By Jenna | July 13, 2018
Transitioning to 6th Grade

Editor’s note: I had an opportunity to talk with the daughter of a friend about some of her recent school health education experiences. Here are some of her comments.

I just graduated from 5th grade. I’m excited about what’s coming next—I’m going into middle school next year!

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Tags: Adolescents, School health education, Sex education

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