Category Archives: Student Health

Take Care of Your Heart From the Start

Teen Take Heart™ is an evidence-based cardiovascular health promotion and disease prevention program for high-school students. The program aims to promote wellness and mitigate risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) through a series of in-class instructional, and hands-on web- and kit-based lessons organized into four learning modules.

Teen Take Heart

The program incorporates the sciences of anatomy, physiology, and disease pathology, into engaging learning sessions to promote heart-healthy lifestyle choices, based on current best practice standards.

Students have opportunities to ask questions, plan and conduct an investigation, test a design, record and analyze data, apply scientific reasoning, develop, revise, and/or use a model to predict relationships, apply algebra, critically read scientific literature, and write explanatory narrations, throughout the integrative curriculum.

Students will discuss and implement lifestyle changes/personal behaviors that support heart health. Students learn to apply concepts with parents & community by creating and implementing culturally relevant community outreach.

Healthy Heart Ambassador

The program is targeted toward underserved/under resourced communities at high risk for cardiovascular disease. High school students are coached to serve as Healthy Heart Ambassadors to their community; organize and lead outreach events; and connect individuals, families, and communities to health-related resources.

Additionally, exposure to health career options are embedded in the program and discussed throughout the students’ interactions with Teen Take Heart.

Each of the four Teen Take Heart modules have a dedicated “kit” of materials for that module. The four modules can be paced according to the needs of the class and are intended to be delivered over a 4-6 week period. Each module and corresponding kit was designed using the latest evidence-based information. 

Click Here for Information on How to Order This Lesson & Kit for Your School

Source: Teen Take Heart

Immunizations Saves Lives

Immunizations are one of the greatest medical success stories in human history because they have saved millions of lives and prevented illness and lifelong disability in millions more.

We can prevent many serious childhood disease by using vaccines routinely recommended for children. Since the introduction of these vaccines, rates of diseases, such as menigits, polio, rubella, and diphtheria have declined by 95 to 100 percent.

Before we had vaccines, hundreds of thousands of children got infected and thousands died in the U.S. each year from these diseases. Without immunization or low rates of immunization, serious outbreaks can recur.

Vaccine Safety

All parents want to do what’s best for their kids and vaccine safety is a concern for many. Parents get a lot of conflicing information online, in the press, and in books and magazines. The Washington State Department of Health developed a guide, Plain Talk About Childhood Immunization, which gives you the facts and answers the most common questions parents have about vaccines.


Recommended Immunization Schedule

We know you want to protect yourself and your child from disease. But it’s hard to keep straight all the different diseases and the vaccines that can prevent them. Vaccines do such a great job of preventing dangerous diseases that it’s easy to forget what diseases look like, how easy they can spread, and the real-life effects of getting them. Learn more about diseases and the vaccines that can prevent them.

You can print off and follow this easy to read chart from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (also available in Spanish).

Adolescent Immunizations

Adolescence is the right time to check on immunization status.   Among the most important vaccines are those recommended for the first time at age 11-12—Tdap, which protects against whooping cough; meningococcal, which protects against meningitis; and HPV, which protects against a cancer-causing virus. It is also a great time to catch-up on other important vaccines like MMR, hepatitis B, and chickenpox.

The National Association of School Nurses has partnered with the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) and other leading organizations to improve immunization rates among adolescents.

SOURCE: Washington State Department of Health and National Association of School Nurses

Healthy Youth Need PREP

WA PREP Intervention Partners educate youth ages 11-18 on both abstinence and contraception for the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.


The 2014-2015 Intervention Partners received funding to implement evidenced based interventions (EBIs) in Washington State communities. This includes HIV/AIDS and three adulthood preparation subjects subjects (Healthy Relationships, Parent-Child Communication, and Healthy Life Skills). WA PREP staff have provided specialized technical assistance and training to all Intervention Partners to build their capacity to implement EBIs.

The Washington State Personal Responsibility Education Program (WA PREP) is in its fourth year!

Currently, WA PREP has trained dozens of facilitators in eight EBIs:

Washington State Department of Health (DOH)

On August 17, 2010, Governor Gregoire designated DOH as the lead agency to apply for and administer WA PREP. To implement this grant, the department has collaborated with Cardea, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Department of Social and Health Services.


Cardea’s role within PREP will include training local educators in one of the five evidenced-based interventions that the community has chosen. Cardea will also provide training in supplemental topics and ongoing technical assistance, as needed to ensure that local educators have the knowledge and skills needed to implement their communities chosen curriculum effectively.

Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS)

DSHS is an integrated organization providing a range of services including behavioral health care, financial assistance, food assistance, juvenile justice, child welfare, aging, and development disability services. Their mission is to improve the safety and health of individuals, families and communities by providing leadership and establishing and participating in partnerships. DSHS is a strong partner in WA PREP because they believe that all of the vulnerable youth served today can become healthy empowered adults.

Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)

OSPI‘s HIV and Sexual Health Education Program within the Teaching and Learning Division provides leadership, technical assistance, resources and support to schools by promoting best practices in HIV/STD/Unintended pregnancy prevention and comprehensive sexual health education. Collaborating to implement WA PREP aligns with the overall goal of the HIV and Sexual Health program to ensure that all students have the necessary knowledge and skills for a safe and healthy life now, and in the future.

Learn more at

Healthy Youth Survey Helps Educators Address Students’ Needs

Recently released results show a connection between a student’s commitment to school, risky behaviors and academic performance.

Results from the Healthy Youth Survey help school staff, community members, and parents understand how youth perceive their school experience, and how better to help students succeed in school and life.

Healthy Youth Survey

Results of the 2014 Healthy Youth Survey were released in March 2015. In addition to substance and alcohol use, the survey collects information related to school commitment, opportunities for involvement in school-related activities, and the presence of a helpful adult in the school and community.

State Superintendent Randy Dorn said that more state money is needed to help students who don’t feel connected to school. “All students need to understand how important school is,” he said. “Part of that understanding is to have someone they can rely on when they need help. That support system is critical so that students don’t fall through the cracks and drop out.”

The survey results connect a lack of commitment to school with increased risky behaviors and decreased academic performance in key areas:

School Commitment
A student’s commitment to school is determined by responses to a number of questions, such as whether he/she enjoys school, is interested in school work, if they find school work meaningful and important and tries his/her best in school.

Statewide, about 62 percent of 10th-grade students are classified as having a high commitment to school. Of the 10th graders that had a high commitment to school:

  • 81 percent reported high grades (mostly A’s or B’s), (compared to 62 percent of students who reported a low commitment to school);
  • 11 percent reported using marijuana, (compared to 29 percent who had a low commitment); and
  • 13 percent reported drinking alcohol, (compared to 30 percent of those who had a low commitment).

Positive Social Opportunities in School
Positive social opportunities at school include participating in classroom discussions, extracurricular activities, decision making, and one-on-one conversations with teachers.

Of the 10th graders who reported that they have more school social opportunities:

  • 72 percent have a high commitment to school (compared to 42 percent of students reporting fewer opportunities);
  • 31 percent reported depressive feelings (compared to 47 percent of students reporting fewer opportunities);
  • 18 percent reported being bullied (compared to 29 percent of students reporting fewer opportunities);
  • 15 percent report using marijuana (compared to 24 percent of students reporting fewer opportunities); and
  • 17 percent use alcohol (compared to 25 percent of students reporting fewer opportunities).

Trusted Adults
About 74 percent of 10th graders reported that they can talk to adults in their community about something important. Of those students:

  • 66 percent have a high commitment to school (compared to 48 percent of students that do not feel they can talk to adults in their communities);
  • 18 percent reported drinking alcohol (compared to 25 percent of students that do not feel they can talk to adults in their communities); and
  • 16 percent reported using marijuana (compared to 24 percent of students that do not feel they can talk to adults in their communities).

About 23 percent of students reported that they do not have an adult at school to help them (or they weren’t sure). Of those students:

  • 28 percent reported drinking alcohol (compared to 19 percent of students that have an adult at school to help them) and  
  • 25 percent reported using marijuana (compared to 16 percent of students that have an adult at school to help them).

Andra Kelley-Batstone, a high school counselor in Olympia, noted that data from the Healthy Youth Survey help address students’ needs. “While it is perception data, we value any information and insight regarding how our students feel at school,” she said. “We know from research that those feelings impact their daily ability to fully focus on and engage in learning.

“At Olympia High School, we’ve developed a new mentor program and increased support for new student transition and other activities in response to the survey. That’s created a more inclusive school environment.”

About the HYS and Where to Access More Results
The Healthy Youth Survey, which is anonymous and voluntary, is administered in even years to 6th, 8th, 10th and 12th graders. In 2014, 220,000 Washington students from 986 schools participated. Data are available at

The survey is given by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Department of Health, the Department of Social and Health Service’s Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery and the Washington State Liquor Control Board.

Source: OSPI

Oral Health Impacts Learning

Oral health is important to student achievement. We know cavities can cause pain and pain can affect a child’s ability to eat, sleep, play and learn.

Lynette Ondeck, school nurse for Nooksack Valley School District, shares with KING5’s Northwest Families how she helped a student get his teeth problems taken care of and what the impact was on his educational experience. 

Source: KING5 Northwest Families