A Toolkit for Supporting the Implementation of School Employee Wellness in Districts/ Schools

About Toolkit 


The COVID-19 pandemic ignited an ongoing problem within the U.S. educational system, which has included a declining labor force, increased stress and anxiety among school staff, and low morale among employees within K-12 public school settings. As a result, school districts are struggling to attract and retain employees, and many employees have health concerns that impact their work life. An evidence based employee wellness initiative can improve employee health, increase productivity and performance, reduce absences, increase employee retention, reduce turnover, enhance recruitment of prospective employees, lower health care costs, and benefit students. 

This quick-start toolkit is provided as a supplement to Healthy School, Healthy Staff, Healthy Students: A Guide to Improving School Employee Wellness, designed to increase the capacity of district and school staff in addressing school employee wellness, to improve the health of all school employees, and to improve student health and academic outcomes.

The toolkit comprises the following fact sheets: 

Why It Was Developed

The Society for Public Health Education aims to increase the capacity of districts and school staff to implement school employee wellness policies and programs to address health equity, emotional well-being, and risk factors that contribute to chronic disease. School employee wellness is an essential component of the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model and is a critical contributor to students’ health and academic success. Addressing the physical, mental, social, emotional, and professional health of all school employees (e.g., teachers, administrators, classified staff) can improve workforce retention, reduce stress, reduce absenteeism, and boost job satisfaction.

Employee wellness can be extremely valuable in underserved school districts, where opportunities for promoting healthy behaviors (e.g., safe, accessible bike and walking paths; access to healthy foods) for students and employees are often limited and health disparities are prevalent.1

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines employee wellness as “a coordinated set of programs, policies, benefits, and environmental supports designed to address multiple risk factors and health conditions to meet the health and safety needs of all employees.”2 A school employee wellness initiative can also address health equity, defined by the CDC as “when every person has the opportunity to attain his or her full health potential and no one is disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of social position or other socially determined circumstances.”(Learn more about health equity at Health Equity | CDC)

To download the full book of fact sheets, please click here.


1 UCLA Center to Eliminate Health Disparities and Samuels & Associates, Failing Fitness: Physical Activity and Physical Education in Schools (Los Angeles, CA: The California Endowment, January 2007).

2 “Workplace Health Model,” Workplace Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, May 13, 2016, https://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/model/index.html

3 “What Is Health Equity?,” Health Equity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, July 1, 2022, https://www.cdc.gov/healthequi...


This toolkit was developed with guidance from a 14-member School Employee Wellness (SEW) Advisory Committee (listed below), as well as with formative research conducted by consultants at Wayne State University with school employees and stakeholders from across the country. The Society for Public Health Education would like to thank the following individuals who provided valuable input for this toolkit.

Joy Anne Osterhout***
Health & Education Communication Consultants                         
Sara Bowie***
Health & Education Communication Consultants                  
Sheena Tallis-Tallman***
Equity Writing Consultant 
Rachael Dombrowski**
California State University San Marcos
James Mallare**
Wayne State University 
Chelsey Hughes
Society for Public Health Education
Clarissa Montes
Society for Public Health Education 
Jyotsna Blackwell  
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 
Melissa Fahrenbruch  
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 
Holly Hunt  
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 
Adrian Talley*
Indian Prairie School District 204 in Illinois
Shauvon Simmons-Wright*
Alliance for a Healthier Generation
Christine Rockwood*
Tennessee Department of Education 
Laura F. DeStigter*  
National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD)
Mara Galic* 
National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD)
Dawn Forkner* 
District Wellness Coordinator
Megan Blanco* 
National Association of School Boards of Education (NASBE)
Duncan Van Dusen*  
Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH)
Kayla Jackson*
The School Superintendents Association (AASA)
Jeanie Alter*  
American School Health Association (ASHA)
Brandon Stratford*
Child Trends
Nichole Bobo*
National Association of School Nurses (NASN)
Mariah S. Lafleur*  
Kaiser Permanente Thriving Schools
Inge Aldersebaes* 
OEA Choice Trust

***Denotes writing consultants

**Denotes research consultants

*Denotes members of SEW Advisory Committee