Leadership Message

In his study, Healthier Students Are Better Learners: A Missing Link in Efforts to Close the Achievement Gap, Charles Basch, Professor of Health Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, argues that ”Despite compelling evidence linking health and academic achievement, there is no U.S. Department of Education initiative to reduce educationally relevant health disparities as part of a national strategy to close the achievement gap.” Now more than ever, this statement has the potential to be reversed.


Healthier children make better students, many experts agree. However, there are several barriers that prevent children from being the healthiest they can be, especially in underserved communities.

Achievement Plus schools seek to improve student academic performance while developing and strengthening the surrounding community. The Achievement Plus Schools follow a standards-based curriculum, provide extended learning opportunities after school, and offer learning supports both at the schools and in the community.

For over a decade, community schools, or “extended schools” as they are called in England, have proliferated in the United Kingdom. In England and Scotland the strategy has been implemented more systemically than in Wales and Northern Ireland; however, since the UK has Universal Health Care, the health strategy at most schools is geared toward the concept of the Health-Promoting School (HPS), which embodies a school-wide approach to health education and promotion, and which often includes courses in Personal, Social and Health Education as part of the curriculum.