Key Issues

handwashing, facemask and 6 feet of distance icons

COVID-19 Resources

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted — and exacerbated — existing inequities in schools. Whether instruction is offered in-person or online, schools continue to play a key role in ensuring the emotional and behavioral needs of their students are met, especially with an eye toward equity. We're sharing some resources available to leaders and educators to help keep student well-being centered in both distance learning and school return plans.


four students studying

Opportunity Youth

In 2018, approximately 4.35 million youth ages 16-24 were disconnected from both school and the workforce. Both education and employment are well-established indicators of health and overall well-being, so a disconnect from either poses short- and long-term health risks. As a result, these youth — representing more than 11% of their age group — are more likely to experience poor life outcomes and die prematurely from preventable conditions.


smiling boy in cap and gownPreventing School Dropout

In 2018, an estimated 5.3% of American high school students left school before completion. As many policymakers have indicated, the dropout crisis is a moral and economic imperative for the nation, and many of the social obstacles to high school completion — including drug use, teen pregnancy, violence, hunger and poverty — are also obstacles to health. 


smiling girlsHealth and Well-Being in Schools

Research shows that school-based health care increases educational success by providing necessary physical and mental health supports that allow students to stay in school and do better academically. School-based health centers are a proven strategy for eliminating or reducing barriers to graduation and preventing school dropout.


boy eating apple Hunger and Obesity

The seeming opposites of hunger and obesity are actually closely linked. To avoid hunger and sustain energy, people who experience food insecurity often rely on inexpensive, high-calorie, low-quality food. As a result, food insecurity puts students at risk of poor nutrition, obesity and complications from chronic diseases, as well as poor school performance.


boarded up building with trash in front Chronic Stress

Chronic stress is a response to persistent social, physical and emotional pressures over an extended period of time, such as the daily stressors  — including inadequate housing and food insecurity — faced by students living in poverty. Chronic stress can impact brain development, increasing the risk of chronic mental health concerns such as impulsivity, hostility, aggression and violence; and ultimately contributing to high school dropout.


three girls smiling School Climate

School climate has a major impact on students, shaping their experiences within the school walls and their chances at educational success. School climate can either reinforce negative influences or help students grow, learn and graduate.



boy with black eye School Violence

One third of all high school students say that violence is a big problem at their school, and one in four say they do not feel very safe at school. School violence has a widespread impact on students' physical and emotional well-being, and ultimately their educational success.