Online Program

LearnWELL, an initiative of Healthy CPS (Chicago Public Schools): Early lessons learned from implementation of wellness policies across a large urban district

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 2:50 p.m. - 3:10 p.m.

Rachael Dombrowski, MPH, Office of Student Health and Wellness, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago, IL
Jamie Tully, MPH, MS, Office of Student Health and Wellness, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago, IL
Annie Lionberger, MPP, Office of Student Health and Wellness, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago, IL
Stephanie Whyte, MD, MBA, Office of Student Health and Wellness, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago, IL
Background: Chicago Public Schools (CPS) engaged various stakeholders in a comprehensive process to create and pass two strengthened wellness policies in Fall 2012. Simultaneously, CPS' Office of Student Health and Wellness (OSHW) received a Community Transformation Grant in part to develop and launch LearnWELL, an initiative to engage and support over 600 schools and their stakeholders in striving to meet the 11 criteria of the new wellness policies.

Socioeconomic disparities are abundant among the nearly 400,000 CPS student population, as 87% are from low-income families and nearly 50% are overweight or obese.

Our goal is to implement LearnWELL - to create healthier school environments for academic success and support a culture shift towards school wellness within a single school year. LearnWELL implementation is timely, as educators will have tools and resources to impact their students' health and wellness in a time of shrinking budgets and competing priorities.

Methods: CPS OSHW, with our 50 “Food and Fitness” partners, is providing support to build capacity and raise awareness for LearnWELL among key school stakeholders. Supports include: in-person and online training and technical assistance, an online, interactive toolkit and website, financial resources, and on-site programming.

Results: Baseline data and preliminary outcomes on LearnWELL are currently being assessed and will be presented. Early lessons learned on the implementation process will also be shared.

Conclusions: Conclusions will articulate successes and barriers in developing and initiating LearnWELL. Best practices gleaned from this project can serve as a model for other school districts across the country.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Chronic disease management and prevention
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe the LearnWELL initiative, including challenges and successes. Discuss LearnWELL early implementation status and lessons learned across the district. Explain the need for similar projects in school districts across the country.

Keyword(s): School Health, Public Health Policy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the lead staff member of the LearnWELL and Healthy CPS initiatives and have over seven years experience in public health that address policy and environmental change on the national and local levels.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.