Healthy School Environment

Understanding that physical and mental health, emotional well-being, and positive development are critical to academic success, Boston Public Schools (BPS) Superintendent Dr. Carol R. Johnson has begun to transform the district’s capacity to meet the health needs of Boston children.  A key to student health and wellness is creating an environment that fosters healthy living—a school where the healthy choice is the easy choice.

One strategy to create a healthy school environment is through policy change. Policies affect everyone in the school environment, and therefore have the potential to improve behaviors across all individuals in the school building. For example, a policy that prohibits the use of tobacco on school grounds creates a healthy school environment where the school community is not exposed to harmful substances like tobacco. Check out the Policies to Support a Healthy School Environment section to find out more about health-related BPS policies.

Another strategy in creating a school environment is a creating systems change. Systems that support healthy living in the school make the healthy choices the default choice. For instance, a school with an established wellness council, who has representatives from the school community who meet regularly to manage school wellness goals, has created a system for policy creation and a system implementing wellness-related initiatives. See the “School Wellness Councils” section to find out more about a systems approach to wellness.

Promoting wellenss is another strategy that establishes a healthy school environment. When students receive positive messages about health throughout the school day, they are more likely to make healthy choices. Click on the “Implementation Guides” and “Smart Choices Toolkit” sections to find out more about promoting healthy messages.