School Wellness Education-Creating a Culture of Health in Schools

We created a Culture of Health in Schools led by School Wellness Educators who create healthy behaviors.

Photo of Marly Nichols
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Founding Story: Share a story about a key experience or spark that helps the network understand why this project got started or a story about how you became inspired about the potential for this project to succeed.

We as a faculty decided the conventional PE programs haven't worked, even through our countless hours of preparing great teacher who deliver quality PE we still have an epidemic of chronic disease and an unhealthy society. We decided we needed to lead something new in schools. What better place to rebuild the health and wellness of our society? We read the book Start with Why by Simon Sinek and started out building a curriculum and program led by "Why", students who are career and life read

Which categories describe you? (the answer will not be public)

  • White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French, Caucasian)

If you chose to self-identify your race, ethnicity, or origin, please share here: (the answer will not be public)



We don't have one....yet!

Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [State]

  • Pennsylvania

Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [City]

Slippery Rock

Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [State]

  • Pennsylvania

Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [City]

Western Pennsylvania but the reach beyond that is actually national.

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

We have a chronically ill non active society and spend billions of dollars trying to change adult behaviors. What if we worked with a consistent, united vision to Create a Culture of Health in Schools where we created health behaviors instead of trying to change them as adults? We plan to create future school wellness educators and development current health and PE teachers to lead and facilitate the Whole School, Whole Child, Whole Comm. model

The most promising aspect is that this could create a culture of health in schools, where you feel, see and experience health and wellness throughout the school building and the school day.  We rebuild our societies health and wellness by creating healthy behaviors instead of trying to change them. Schools become the epicenter for a healthier society.

Is your model focused on any of the following traditionally underserved communities?

  • Communities of color
  • Children who are differently abled
  • LGBTQ or non-binary individuals
  • Religious minorities (non-Christian)
  • Low-income communities
  • Other

Does your model work within any of the following sectors?

  • Education

Year Founded


Project Stage

  • Start-Up (a pilot that has just started operating)

Example: Walk the network through a specific example of what happens when a person or group engages with your solution.

A teacher (current HPE teachers who have been retrained by us or new School Welles Educators) first and foremost deliver quality wellness education lessons along with the Living Well curriculum. This teacher then also facilitates and leads a school building with the help of a wellness committee. The committee lead by the teacher implements the Whole School, Whole Child, Whole Community Model creating a culture of health and wellness in schools.

Impact: What was the impact of your work last year? Please also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

We have just begun implementing the curriculum so we have no data for it yet. The only real data we have is the fact that since we announced our new program with its new vision for schools to be the epicenter of a healthier more well society we have been contacted by 12 Local School Districts (LEA's) requesting professional development in this model, we have been asked to speak nationally about it, have consulted with four different universities thinking of creating something like it and most recently worked with the University of Texas to assist them in reinventing their PE Teacher education program. The eventual impact is hard to consider if you think about the opportunity we have in schools to create a healthy society if someone in every school saw that as their job and vision.

Organization Type

  • nonprofit/NGO/citizen sector

Annual Budget

  • $50k - $100k

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is your solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We plan to ask local healthcare providers and health insurers as this truly is preventative medicine.

Unique Value Proposition: How else is this problem being addressed? Are there other organizations working in the same field, and how does your project differ from these other approaches?

We are truly the first to in vision this as an academic subject area and as an area of professional development for current teachers. Schools could be the epicenter of a healthier society someone just needs to be trained to do it.

Reflect on the Field and its Future: Stepping outside of your project, what do you see as the most important or promising shifts that can advance children’s wellbeing?

Actually all of these excites us because these are what we plan to deliver in schools. If you look at our flyer we plan to address social and emotional wellness in schools, we plan to develop a culture of mental awareness, we plan to help schools become safe and healthy environments, it just is going to take someone or a few to be trained with the vision to do so,

Source: How did you hear about the Children’s Wellbeing Challenge? (the answer will not be public)

  • Twitter


Join the conversation:

Photo of Antonio McMillan

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Photo of Charlie

Hi Marly - Thank you for sharing your work with the Children's Wellbeing Initiative. Your work is really getting at the problem. Making a change in the culture of wellness rather than just a class is very important.

A couple of questions you can expound on is how will you implement getting healthcare providers and insurance companies to support this endeavor. Also, more information on the data you will collect and how you will collect it and knowing how you will measure success will be very valuable to know.