Got Health? the Hawaii Partnership for Standards-Based School Health Education

Article excerpt

Got Health? The Hawaii Department of Education is supporting the health of school-age youth with new Hawaii Health Content Standards. In anticipation of the release of the standards, the American Cancer Society (ACS), Hawaii Pacific, Inc., initiated the Hawaii Partnership for Standards-Based School Health Education in July 1999. The goal of the partnership is to implement standards-based school health education to promote child and adolescent health through collaboration among the state's health, education, and business communities. This article describes development of the standards, history of the partnership, activities to date, concurrent supporting efforts, future plans, and lessons learned during the first year.

HAWAII HEALTH CONTENT AND PERFORMANCE STANDARDS

The Hawaii Department of Education (DOE) published the first Hawaii Content and Performance Standards (HCPS) in 1994. However, the 1994 HCPS did not include standards for health education. The Health and Fitness Standards focused almost entirely on expectations for physical education.

DOE updated state education standards in 1999. The Hawaii Content and Performance Standards II (HCPS II)[1] provided refined standards for students in kindergarten through grade twelve. In prioritizing for HCPS II, the Hawaii Standards Board held hearings on all content areas. Supporters of health education testified at the hearings, and the board voted to include health as one of 10 content areas in HCPS II: Career and Life Skills, Fine Arts, Health Education, Language Arts, Mathematics, Physical Education, Science, Social Studies, Technology, and World Languages.

Writing teams in all content areas met to develop and refine standards. The Health Education Writing Team included teachers and other representatives from DOE, the University of Hawaii (UH) College of Education, and the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH). The new Health Content Standards (Figure 1) were based on the National Health Education Standards[2] and the Council for Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) State Collaborative of Assessment and Student Standards (SCASS) Framework for Assessing Health Literacy.[3] Associated performance standards for all content areas are slated for completion in June 2001.

Figure 1

Hawaii Health Content Standards

1. Core Concepts -- Students comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention. Standards are taught in these risk/content areas:

* Injury and Violence Prevention

* Tobacco Use

* Alcohol and Other Drug Use

* Sexual Health

* Nutrition

* Physical Activity

* Mental and Emotional Health

* Personal and Consumer Health

* Community and Environmental Health

2. Accessing Information -- Students access valid health information and health-promoting products and services.

3. Self-Management -- Students practice health-enhancing behaviors and reduce health risks.

4. Analyzing Influences -- Students analyze the influences of media, culture, technology, and other factors to enhance health.

5. Interpersonal Communication -- Students use interpersonal communication skills to enhance health.

6. Decision Making and Goal Setting -- Students use decision making and goal-setting skills to enhance health.

7. Advocacy -- Students advocate for personal, family, and community health.

HAWAII PARTNERSHIP FOR STANDARDS-BASED SCHOOL HEALTH EDUCATION

In summer 1999, the Cancer Control Director of ACS, Hawaii Pacific, Inc., initiated meetings with the DOE State Specialist for Health Education and Physical Education to learn how ACS could support the upcoming standards. ACS invited participation from the UH College of Education, the Hawaii Department of Health, and past partners and private sponsors on single issue promotional activities. The presence of state departments, non-profit staff and volunteers, and corporate business representatives invigorated those who had worked tenaciously to ensure health education was included as a content area in HCPS II. …