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The Nebraska Whole Child Project

The Nebraska Whole Child Project

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Posted By: Jenn Hatcher

Recent data shows a direct correlation between student health and student achievement. By focusing on the whole child, their heart, mind AND body, you are creating a balanced, more successful child.

With that, The Nebraska Whole Child Project (NWCP) was formed. NWCP is an effort led by NASB to bring together accurately collected health and wellness data in a central location, with the goal of studying that data to determine what is relevant to the academic success of Nebraska school children.

The NWCP was organized as a consortium, which will bring together member school districts, educational service units (ESUs), universities, and state colleges, to jointly: (1) recognize the alarming increase in the trend of student obesity and lack of student physical activity; (2) share best practices in student fitness, health and wellness; (3) research, collect, report, and share data regarding student fitness, and health and wellness from the consortium; and (4) effectuate a change in the culture at school districts and ESUs across Nebraska to improve student fitness, health and wellness.

Prior student success models have narrowly looked at standardized tests in core academic subjects such as reading, math, and science to evaluate a student’s success. The NWCP will increase that data from standardized tests to include student health data (weight, aerobic fitness), demographic data (ethnicity, socio-economic), and eventually expanding into other measures, such as the Gallup Hope Index. Aerobic fitness has been shown to strongly correlate with performance on standardized academic tests, as well as having extensive health benefits for students.

By acquiring all aspects of data indicated above, the Project hopes to supply an analysis to schools of what a child needs, as a whole, to be a successful student. Ultimately this will allow schools to expand their offerings to students to help support their academic success.

The eventual goal of the NWCP is to provide to its members the following services:

• Training and technical assistance to assess weight status and aerobic fitness.

• A central database to house the health and wellness data collected by the members.

• Experts to study the resulting data and report back to the school districts.

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