School Health in Central Vermont

children enjoying lunch


We work to improve the health and well-being of school-aged children across Washington County.  We support supervisory unions, school districts, independent schools, community organizations, students and their families by helping with high-impact strategies that make a difference in health.

Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child

We help schools develop wellness teams to build a culture of good health and wellness using the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model.

To support school health we:

  • Provide the most up-to-date information regarding vaccination regulations, school nutrition and physical activity policies, and healthy school environments.
  • Help schools obtain federal funding and grants to support proven wellness strategies, such as Farm-to-School (link is external)
  • Work with school nurses to ensure that every child has insurance and a medical and dental home where they can receive consistent, quality care.
  • Support families understanding recommended times for well-care visits, and what to expect at the visits following Bright Futures guidelines

Central Vermont Highlights

We are proud of the 28 schools in our wider community for the many programs they have started to improve the health of their students, including:

  • Tasty Testers, where students get to test and vote on the food that becomes part of their school menus.
  • Jr. Iron Chefs (link is external), a statewide culinary competition that challenges teams of middle and high school students to create healthy, local dishes that inspire school meal programs.
  • Safe Routes to School (link is external), a program that helps kids get to and from school safely. More than half of the schools in our district have Safe Routes to School! 
  • Running teams like Girls on the Run (link is external), which help girls in our community build confidence and form healthy habits that will stay with them throughout their lives.
  • Empowerment groups for students like Students on the Move, Getting to Y (link is external), and Students Against Destructive Decisions (link is external).
  • Mindfulness activities to teach students emotional regulation, compassion for others, and stress reduction techniques.
  • School gardens, where students can learn how to grow, prepare, select, and eat healthy foods, getting them ready for a lifetime of better food choices. Gardens can also be used by school social workers, counselors and occupational therapists concerned with helping children meet social developmental milestones of childhood.  According to an informal 2014 study, every school in Washington County has a school garden!

raised gardens beds and paths

School Nursing

We assist school nurses so they can better support student and family access to health services. Learn more about how we work with school nurses.

Today’s students come to school with more challenges related to health and learning than ever before. Essential School Health Services focuses on improving student outcomes, school attendance, the mitigation of challenges such as chronic health conditions, complex medical needs, and other barriers related to social determinants of health, such as poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, food and housing insecurity, and lack of health care.

Learn More

Standards of Practice: School Health Services Manual

Access to Care

We help schools support access to medical care and promote medical and dental homes for children and youth. We support the promotion of annual well-care visits following the Bright Futures guidelines.

Vermont’s Tooth Tutor program helps to ensure that every child has access to emergency, preventive, restorative and continuous care in a dental office.  Tooth Tutors provide screenings and present classroom-based oral health education, giving students the opportunity to accept more responsibility for their own wellness.

Learn More

Dental Health Care in Vermont
Health Care and Screening Guidelines
Health Care for Children & Youth in Vermont
Immunizations - K-12 School Nurses and Administrators
Vermont Health Connect

Youth Risk Behavior Survey

The Health Department and the Vermont Agency of Education sponsor the Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey. The YRBS was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  to monitor priority health risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death, disease, injury and social problems among middle and high school students. We share this public health data with schools and communities to promote response to decrease risk behaviors.

We encourage schools to use YRBS data to make decisions about how to support student health. One way to do this is the Getting to Y program, which is an opportunity for students to take a lead in bringing meaning to their own Youth Risk Behavior Survey data, and to take steps to strengthen their school and community.

We help schools use their YRBS data to plan and implement wellness policies, procedures, and practices. This ensures initiatives are data-informed and resources are focused on issues and populations with the greatest need.

Resources for Wellness

We support schools in implementing proven strategies such as Farm-to-SchoolSafe Routes to School, and Girls on the Run. Find out more about strategies to improve health of Vermont’s school-aged children.

We believe all students should have the opportunity to walk and bike safely to school.  Our School Health Specialist is a Safe Routes to School regional expert and can offer advice, guidance, and technical assistance to schools implementing Safe Routes to School programs and activities.

Medicaid Administrative Claiming

We help local education agencies to meet the objectives of the Medicaid Administrative Claiming agreement.