Students across the Commonwealth will benefit from a $2 million federal grant to implement the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model. Funding will be awarded to the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PDH) and Erie’s Public Schools through 2028 to create a template that other schools can adopt.
Establishing healthy behaviors during childhood is easier and more effective than trying to change unhealthy behaviors during adulthood. Schools play a critical role in promoting the health and safety of young people and helping them establish lifelong healthy behaviors. The WSCC model focuses on ten components that schools can emphasize as they see fit:
-Physical education and physical activity
-Nutrition environment and services
-Social and emotional climate
-Counseling, psychological and social services
In collaboration with several partners, PDH will offer statewide training, convene a statewide school health coalition, and support the implementation of WSCC in Erie’s Public Schools from 2023-2028. Erie was selected based on its size, demographics, and readiness to implement the program. Other districts will be able to take advantage of the free trainings and professional development opportunities that the grant will help develop and support.
Erie’s Public Schools will begin implementing the WSCC model in the 2023-2024 school year with the hiring of the district’s first wellness coordinator. Over the course of the next five school years, the district will revive its district wellness council, strengthen community partnerships, and annually assess and improve health policies, programs, practices, and curriculum in the areas of physical activity, school nutrition, school health services, and emotional well-being. PDH will collaborate with Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), Division of Food and Nutrition Programs and Division of Instructional Quality; Slippery Rock University, School Wellness Education Program; Pennsylvania Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE PA); Pennsylvania Intermediate Units (IU); University of Pittsburgh, Office of Child Development; Erie City School District; and, Deanna Philpott, School Wellness Consultant from PA School Wellness to implement the required grant strategies.