The Healthy Schools Toolkit

The toolkit will help school leaders thoroughly examine the existing people, systems, messages, and policies within their school communities to support the health and well-being of students, staff, and families.

Download the toolkit

 The Toolkit

Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Model

The toolkit is part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Together for Healthy and Successful Schools initiative. The toolkit can help leaders leverage assets to better design and implement healthy schools containing the 10 components of the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the ASCD: health education; physical education and physical activity; health services; nutrition environment and services; counseling, psychological, and social services; employee wellness; physical environment; social and emotional climate; family engagement; and community involvement.

The user-friendly process guides toolkit users through three proven social science evaluation tools: social network analysis, group model building, and message testing. Together the three tools can help district and school leaders:

  1. Identify and cultivate a network of people within their school communities who can be key influencers for healthier schools.
  2. Map out systems that help or hinder the mission for school health and then identify strategies to enhance pathways that work for healthier schools.
  3. Identify the most effective messages that inspire and accelerate members of the school community to advance school health.
  4. Integrate proven policies into the school culture that enhance health and well-being.

Toolkit Partners 

The toolkit was created through research conducted within the St. Louis Public Schools District, an urban district encompassing the City of St. Louis and the Normandy Schools Collaborative, a suburban school district encompassing 23 mostly high-need communities.

Health Equity Works  partnered with five academic research centers and 11 St. Louis-based school and community organizations to create and disseminate the toolkit to school district leaders in the St. Louis region.  Health Equity Works is also working with a National Advisory Committee to explore the possibility of disseminating the toolkit to school district leaders nationwide.

About the Together for Healthy and Successful Schools Project

The initiative has three partners: Health Equity Works, Child Trends, and America’s Promise Alliance. Working together, the three partners are building a better understanding of what it will take to merge health and education perspectives so that all schools can be places where good health goes hand-in-hand with success in school and life.

America’s Promise Alliance has partnered with five leading organizations to work with communities to identify and work with six “acceleration sites” across the U.S. to learn about successfully supporting health and well-being in schools. America’s Promise is also leveraging its expansive networks and communications assets, and amplifying youth voices to build demand to make healthy schools the norm in the United States.

Child Trends is creating policy tools to help educators, policymakers, and the public understand the policy landscape influencing school health and student well-being in their states, along with research-based model policies to advance healthy changes.

Health Equity Works is the research and translation partner in the project, working to develop a user-friendly and research-based toolkit to help school leaders build healthy communities that support the whole child.  

Research Partners

Virginia Commonwealth University:

Washington University’s Brown School:

Community & Education Partners

Alive and Well Communities

Beyond Housing

BJC HealthCare

Institute for School Partnership, Washington University

The Little Bit Foundation

Normandy Schools Collaborative

Ready by 21 St. Louis

St. Louis Public Schools

St. Louis Public Schools Foundation

Shut it Down


National Advisory Committee

Action for Healthy Kids

Alliance for a Healthier Generation

America’s Promise Alliance

American Public Health Association, Center for School, Health and Education

The Annie E. Casey Foundation

National Association of School Nurses

Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, School Health Program

Child Trends

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning

National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, School Health Project and School Health Council

National Association of State Boards of Education

National Collaborative for Health Equity

National Governors Association – Center for Best Practices Education Division

National Indian Education Association

National Rural Education Association

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (ex-officio)

Teachers College, Columbia University

The idea Partnership

Unidos US (National Council of La Raza)

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Healthy Kids

Health Equity Works and its Link to School Health

Formerly named For the Sake of All, Health Equity Works connects communities with data. We provide people with the resources, tools, and solutions to accelerate action on the many social conditions influencing health and well-being. The initiative is led by Dr. Jason Purnell, associate professor at the Brown School.

Investing in Coordinated School Health has been a defined action area of the organization since 2014. As part of the organization’s “Next Steps,” stakeholders from various community sectors concluded that the St. Louis region needed to build capacity in its school districts for better adoption of the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model. The toolkit was developed in response to that identified need.

Health Equity Works also continues to accelerate another action area for Coordinated School Health through the collaborative creation of sustainable school-based health centers in high-need high schools in the St. Louis region. A collaborative work group initiated by Health Equity Works in St. Louis has also merged with efforts led by the Missouri School Board Association and other partners to launch the Show Me School-Based Health Alliance of Missouri, an emerging Missouri affiliate of the National School-Based Health Alliance.

For More Information on the Toolkit

Health Equity Works invites all school district leaders in the St. Louis region and affiliated stakeholders to learn about the Healthy Schools Toolkit. Please contact Research Project Coordinator to be placed on an email list to receive updates about the toolkit and notices for future information events.