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Parents as Champions for Healthy Schools


The Parents as Champions for Healthy Schools Project provides regional family leadership development workshops to engage families in advocacy for healthier school environments. The Project is part of SchoolHealthNJ, an initiative of the NJ Department of Health, which incorporates the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) framework. 

The WSCC model, developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), emphasizes that each child, in each school, in each of our communities deserves to be healthy, safe, engaged, supported and challenged. Parents play an important role in promoting healthy schools.

Our parent development workshop encourages families and school staff to work together to support and improve the learning, development, and health of students, through the 10 components of the WSCC model:

  1. Health Education
  2. Nutrition Environment and Services
  3. Physical Education and Physical Activity
  4. Health Services
  5. Physical Environment
  6. Social and Emotional Climate
  7. Counseling, Psychological and Social Services
  8. Employee Wellness
  9. Parent Engagement
  10. Community Involvement 


About the Parents as Champions for Healthy Schools Workshop 

Our parent engagement workshop provides parent teams with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to partner with school staff to create healthier school environments.   In the workshop, parent teams from schools in the region learn about school health, develop advocacy skills,  determine an area of need in their school, and create an action plan to address that need. Parent teams that complete the workshop have an opportunity to apply for a grant in collaboration with their school administration to implement their action plans. 

This SPAN project is funded by the federal Maternal and Child Health Block Grant administered through the New Jersey Department of Health, Child and Adolescent Health Program.

Joanne Aidala Co-Project Director
Karen Straim, Co-Project Director
What families/professions are saying about this project: 

 Thank you so much for bringing this workshop to Jersey City, it was very inspiring, thought provoking and truly a learning experience.  

                                                                            - Jersey City parent ( Spring 2017)

Parent workshop participants share what they have learned: 

  • That we as parents can take action and become involved in our children’s schools; we can help in any way that they need us!
  • How to be relaxed when standing before people while putting a point across where you have people listening to you. 
  • I learned not to be afraid to start something that I feel compassionate in.
  • How working with the parents/community will make a better environment for our children and community.                                                                                                                            - Jersey City parents ( Fall 2016)​
Key Resources of Interest: 

 Online toolkits and resources designed to help parents partner with their schools to create a healthy school environment:

  • To access the website of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, please click on the following link:  Register with your school for access to free information and resources to promote healthy eating and physical activity at school.
  • To access Sustainable Jersey for Schools, with grant opportunities and best practices for health and wellness actions at schools, please click on the following link:​​
  • To access Healthy Schools Network, Inc., a clearinghouse with resources on children’s environmental health in schools (avoiding exposure to toxic materials), please click on the following link:

Articles by SPAN staff 

​​To access Parent Engagement in Healthy Schools, EP Magazine ( February 21, 2017), please click on the following link:  The article describes the importance of parent engagement in school health for children with special needs. 



Parents as Champions Staff conduct workshops throughout the state.