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Priority Area: School and Student Health

Recognizing that children spend much of their time in school, our school health initiatives aim to build a bridge between health and wellness and academic achievement. Our goal is to partner with educators, parents and schools to elevate the health of children in our region.

If you have questions about school health, email us at schoolhealth@valleychildrens.org.


Kids, COVID-19 and  Schools

As we navigate the reintroduction of students into schools during the coronavirus pandemic, it is important to weigh the risks of infection, transmission and illness with the physical, social, emotional and educational needs of students. Our goal is to help support schools to reopen safely. The Guilds Center for Community Health has partnered to develop resources that provide additional guidance to schools.

Resources and information can be found on our dedicated COVID-19 School Resources webpage.


Schools for Healthy & Thriving Students

In 2019, in partnership with the Center for Wellness and Nutrition, Valley Children’s and the Guilds Center for Community Health launched Schools for Healthy Thriving Students, a two-year initiative that aims to engage school based leaders such as superintendents, board members, and wellness champions from school districts in Fresno and Madera County in an effort to provide them with the knowledge, skills, technical assistance and resources needed to effectively develop and implement local school wellness policies.

Efforts are centered on Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention’s Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child framework (WSCC). The WSCC model is student-centered and emphasizes the role of the community in supporting the school, the connections between health and academic achievement and the importance of evidence-based school policies and practices.

This two-year initiative is funded by Valley Children's Healthcare and is supported by the Public Health Institute’s Center for Wellness and Nutrition, the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools and the Madera County Superintendent of Schools.


Clean Drinking Water in Schools

Access to clean and safe drinking water in schools in a key strategy to building healthy habits that children will use in life to maintain a healthy body weight and to support overall health. Communities that lack access to clean drinking water and healthy foods are more likely to experience chronic diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. One of the goals and evidence-based strategies identified by our Communities for Healthy Kids initiative is to increase access to and consumption of clean drinking water. Hydration stations, or water-filling stations, promote water hydration and children tend to drink more water with this method. This project aligns with our organization’s strategy around childhood obesity prevention.

In 2019, the Guilds Center for Community Health partnered with Kings Canyon Unified School District, HMC Farms, and Self-Help Enterprises to install hydration stations at Lincoln Elementary and McCord Elementary. The school district and schools were identified based on high rates of obesity, percentage of students receiving free and reduced lunches and the lack of available clean drinking water.