October is Health Literacy Month: Together, Let’s Enhance Students’ Health and Learning


By Sinu Patel, Communications Manager for SHAPE America

Kids spend most of their time at school, so health and learning are a natural fit. When schools support students’ health, children and adolescents are better equipped to reach their fullest potential. During Health Literacy Month, SHAPE America encourages school professionals to work together to ensure that students are both healthy and successful academically.

SHAPE America Supports the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Model

The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model is a holistic approach to educating the whole child developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and ASCD, formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. The WSCC Model expands the components of a coordinated school health approach and integrates the tenets of a whole-child approach to education as the school draws on resources from the community. It establishes a safe, protective, and challenging environment for students to thrive. Through this collaborative approach, schools can strengthen students’ health and learning.


WSCC Model
Image courtesy of CDC and ASCD.


The WSCC model includes 10 components:

  • Health Education
  • Physical Education & Physical Activity
  • Nutrition Environment & Services
  • Health Services
  • Counseling, Psychological, & Social     Services
  • Social & Emotional Climate
  • Physical Environment
  • Employee Wellness
  • Family Engagement
  • Community Involvement


SHAPE America’s new position statement supporting schools’ use of the WSCC model outlines best practices for each of the 10 components and encourages health and physical educators to use the model to advocate for the alignment of health and education goals in an effort to meet the needs of all students.

Best Practices in Health Education

Health education, for example, plays a vital role in promoting students’ health and well-being. SHAPE America recommends these best practices for health education:

  • Implementing a skills-based approach to delivering health education;
  • Linking the six risk behaviors that the CDC identified as important tenets of instruction; and
  • Aligning the school curriculum with the National Health Education Standards.

Health educators can access free skills-based activities from SHAPE America during Health Literacy Month!

Best Practices in Physical Education & Physical Activity

Physical education and physical activity are another component of the WSCC model. SHAPE America recommends these best practices for high quality physical education and physical activity:

  • Establishing a positive learning environment in the gym and classroom;
  • Promoting options for pursuing lifelong physical activity; and
  • Adopting the comprehensive school physical activity program to provide students with opportunities for daily physical activity before, during, and after school.

The WSCC model has the potential to help prepare students to be lifelong learners while solidifying the link between students’ health and academic achievements. Access our new position paper to help incorporate best practices based on each of the 10 components and find other resources on SHAPE America’s special health literacy month webpage!

In the spirit of the month, SHAPE America invites all health and physical activity school champions to get involved in empowering students to lead active, healthy lives. Find more information on our national commitment, 50 Million Strong by 2029.

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