The Whole Child


by Nebraska Loves Public Schools (funded by the Sherwood Foundation)


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Research shows that health and wellness directly relate to academic performance: healthier students are better equipped for learning. As a result, schools across Nebraska have incorporated a healthy balance of the mind and body into their educational curriculum to help close the achievement gap. From proper nutrition to physical fitness to socio-emotional growth of students to the wellbeing of teachers, school-based health and wellness programs empower our schools for academic achievement and enhance our students' ability to learn.

This program explores what school programs around the state do to incorporate health and wellness into an academic environment in which students flourish. Discover how schools prepare our students to be focused and fit for the classroom and for life.

"Children come to us with more than just their math book or their science book in their backpacks. And we know that it doesn't matter how great a curriculum you have, how great a teacher there is, or how great a mentor that you have. You can pour all the tutoring hours you want into this child, but if it's a child that’s facing violence, or is depressed, or is hungry, there's nothing that can address that issue other than taking care of that basic need first, because they are just not going to be ready to learn."
          — Julane Hill, Director of School Health, Nebraska Department of Education




Challenging Students
O'Neill Public Schools' Kevin and Katie Morrow
challenged one class of 5th graders
to improve their families' health habits.

Standing Up to Poverty
Explore the issues facing low-income students
across our state and the impact they have
on an entire school and community.




Gena Cullinan
Jefferson Elementary Para-educator
Dan Desmond
Thayer Central Elementary Teacher
Jane Hansmeyer
Norris High School Teacher & Coordinated School Health Coordinator
Julane Hill
NDE School Health Director
Stephanie Hornung
Loveland Elementary Principal
Natalie Kingston 
Public Health Solutions District Health Department Community Development Coordinator
Monica Kramer 
Jefferson Elementary Counselor
Mary Morris 
Westgate Elementary Teacher
Ali Pontious 
Westgate Elementary Teacher

Ryan Ruhl
Norris High School Principal

George Schere
Jefferson Elementary Principal
Ann Schroeder 
Norris High School Teacher
Dr. John Skretta
Norris High School Superintendent
Deb Vorderstrasse
Thayer Central Elementary Teacher
Jeanee Weiss
Building Healthy Futures Chief Executive Officer
Kurk Wiedel
Thayer Central Elementary Principal



NET Learning Services
Nebraska Children and Families Foundation
Nebraska Loves Public Schools
First Five Nebraska
America’s Promise Alliance Grad Nation
Avenue Scholars Foundation
Beyond School Bells
Buffett Early Childhood Fund

Center on Children, Families, and the Law
Coalition for Community Schools
Lincoln Community Foundation
Nebraska Department of Education
Nebraska Trucking Association
Urban League of Nebraska
United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County

United Way Readers, Tutors, and Mentors

© 2014

American Graduate is funded in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in partnership with America's Promise Alliance, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.