Comprehensive health education initiative will improve instruction for students, increase supports for teachers, and enhance community partnerships
NEW YORK — Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza today announced the launch of Health Ed Works, a four-year, $24 million initiative that will increase resources for schools to ensure more students receive comprehensive, high-quality, medically-accurate, and age-appropriate health education. The multi-year program provides additional professional development opportunities for teachers, increases family and community engagement around health education, and offers individualized support to 500 target schools. Through this initiative, all New York City middle and high schools will meet City and State requirements by June 2022.
“Comprehensive health education must be a foundational component of every student’s education so they have the skills and knowledge they need to make healthy decisions throughout their lives,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. “Health Ed Works affirms our commitment to educating the whole child by giving schools, families, and communities additional resources to make health education a reality for all of our students.”
“This new investment demonstrates the City’s commitment to educating our young people to care for their bodies, minds, and engage in healthy relationships,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “Strong, accurate, and comprehensive health education puts young New Yorkers on the right track to achieve mental, physical, and social wellness throughout their lives.”
“Through comprehensive health education students learn the skills and knowledge they need to live healthier lives, including accessing the diverse health services available to them in NYC,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “I thank the Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza for this significant health investment for school-aged children.”
The $24 million investment over four years will:
- Improve classroom instruction in K-12 schools, including investments in new and expanded curriculum materials and trainings for teachers. As part of this work, the DOE will also rollout a new K-12 Scope and Sequence to help guide health instruction at all schools.
- Expand professional learning opportunities Citywide in order to improve the preparedness of health education teachers, including new instructional coaching sessions and Professional Learning Communities for health education instructors.
- Provide targeted support to 500 schools to: develop an action plan to prioritize and improve health education instruction; ensure health education teachers in middle and high schools are more consistently assigned; and support teachers to provide high-quality, inclusive health instruction. These schools will serve as model health education schools by meeting all City and State requirements and will develop school wellness councils to support and sustain a health community.
Community engagement is essential and Health Ed Works will leverage connections with families and local organizations to create a learning environment that fits the needs of each school. Through Health Ed Works, schools will increase collaboration with community-based organizations and existing City initiatives in order to support teacher training, increase family engagement, provide supplemental resources that reinforces health instruction, and strengthen culturally responsive learning.
Comprehensive health education is key to the health and well-being of every student in New York City. In September 2017, the Mayor appointed approximately 30 members to the City’s first-ever Sexual Health Education Task Force. The Task Force is composed of a diverse set of individuals and includes students; educators; a principal; a school psychologist; parents; sexual health education experts; experts in the field of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and gender non-conforming health education; and representatives from the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The proposals in Health Ed Works are a reflection of the ongoing work by the Task Force, which will continue to collaborate with DOE throughout the implementation of this initiative.
Health Ed works builds upon the City’s efforts to revitalize physical education and wellness in every school and for every student. In 2016, the City launched PE Works, a $100 million investment that envisions physical education as a foundational component of every student’s school experience. The PE Works team has developed multi-year action plans in collaboration with school staff to implement the instructional, operational, and family engagement steps so that schools can improve and sustain conditions for PE to thrive. In 2017, the City announced a Universal Physical Education initiative to ensure every school has a designated PE space by 2021.
The DOE’s Office of School Wellness Programs provides support to all K-12 public schools for physical education and health education instruction that is essential to student wellbeing and success. The office helps schools establish the conditions necessary for physical and health education to thrive through school-based wellness programs, professional learning for teachers, and support for administrators and opportunities to engage students, families, and their communities.
“More educators trained and certified in health education in our city’s schools means investing in future generations of health-conscious New Yorkers and a New York City with better public health outcomes. I commend Chancellor Carranza and the Department of Education for recognizing the need to prioritize holistic approaches toward educating our city’s students,” said NYC Council Education Chair Mark Treyger.
“This investment in health education will have a life-long positive impact on NYC students,” said NYC Council Finance Chair Daniel Dromm. “A robust health education can help students make informed choices on sexual behavior, reproductive health and much more. For too long, health concerns particular to LGBTQ students were largely unaddressed, so I am pleased by this comprehensive approach to health education. I thank Chancellor Carranza for prioritizing this important effort.”“I commend Chancellor Carranza for his critical $24 million investment in comprehensive health education. I was proud to launch the Sexual Health Education Task Force last year and look forward to working with Chancellor Carranza and his team to ensure the success of this initiative. Early, consistent, and accurate health education plays a significant part in the real life health and well-being of young New Yorkers. We must be a role model for our students and take comprehensive sexual and health education as seriously as we do other areas of study,” said New York City Council Majority Leader, Laurie A. Cumbo.