Re:  OTPC Support for School Health Programs

February 1, 2017
 
Dear Senator/Representative:
 
On behalf of the Oklahoma Turning Point Council and our partners across the state, we encourage you to support evidence based school health programs, policies and bills such as HB1538 and SB246 (providing additional HIV and AIDS education in schools) and HB1674 and SB465 (requiring school districts to complete self-assessments on physical education programs and best practices).

The Oklahoma Turning Point Council (OTPC) formed in 1997 to help transform public health in Oklahoma by working directly with community partnerships on health improvement initiatives. Rather than a top down approach to public health, Turning Point seeks input from communities to help identify community priorities and implement local solutions.  For over 15 years, Turning Point has partnered with communities across Oklahoma to work on local innovations such as community health centers, extensive walking trails, community gardens, improved school health activities and advocacy for health improvement policies.  OTPC also serves as an independent statewide consortium focused on policy issues aimed at improving Oklahoma’s health, and supporting evidence-based school health programs is a core public health priority.

There is a critical relationship between learning and health, and The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) Model provides a framework to nurture this interaction.[1] The WSCC Model emphasizes a school-wide approach and acknowledges learning, health, and the school as being an essential part and reflection of the local community.[2] The WSCC Model contains 10 distinct components: health education, physical education and physical activity, nutrition environment and services, health services, employee wellness, physical environment, social and emotional climate, family engagement, community involvement, and counseling and psychological/social services.[1]

Through implementing the WSCC model, schools can reduce absenteeism, improve staff morale, increase graduation rates, and improve the school experience for both teachers and students.[3] We believe that these improvements would be immensely impactful for Oklahoma families, and that the utilization of WSCC models would improve the quality of Oklahoma schools dramatically.

The Oklahoma Turning Point Council along with the organizations listed, are grateful for your service and commitment to Oklahoma and look forward to working with you to ensure that our schools are meeting the complex needs of students and teachers by integrating evidence based school health programs.

Thank you,

Sandy Foster
Chair, Oklahoma Turning Point Council


 
[1] Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. (2014). Whole school, whole community, whole child: A collaborative approach to learning and health. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/ASCD/pdf/siteASCD/publications/wholechild/wscc-a-collaborative-approach.pdf
[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Whole school, whole community, whole child: A collaborative approach to learning and health. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/wscc/index.htm
[3] Vermont Department of Health. Summary of selected evidence-based research from healthy kids learn better and making the connection: Health and student achievement. Retrieved from http://www.healthvermont.gov/local/school/documents/HealthAchievement.pdf         

* 1. By submitting, I acknowledge that I have authorization to sign my organization/coalition on to this letter.

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