Schools are a critical setting for health promotion and disease prevention efforts because the vast majority of children attend school.

We’ve assembled a collection of tools and resources to support pediatricians, educators, other professionals and community members interested in improving the health and wellness of children.

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School Health Overview

In the United States, schools have direct contact with more than 50 million students for at least 6 hours a day during 13 key years of their social, physical, and intellectual development. After the family home, schools are one of the primary entities responsible for the development of young people. Because of this, schools are a critical setting for health promotion and disease prevention efforts because most youth attend school.

Establishing healthy behaviors during childhood and adolescence is easier and more effective than changing unhealthy behaviors during adulthood. Schools can influence students’ likelihood of risk of various conditions through a range of approaches, including health education, provision of or referral to physical and mental health services, and establishing a safe and supportive environment that provides social and emotional support to young people.

AAP Recommendations

The Council on School Health develops policy statements, clinical reports and technical guidelines to improve the health of all children.

Professional Tools & Resources

School Health Policy & Practice, 7th Edition
This publication includes the latest guidelines for developing health programs, including nutrition services, medication administration, physical activity and sports, and the school environment.
AAP TEAMS Enhancing Health Services for Schools
The Enhancing School Health Services through Training, Education, Assistance, Mentorship, and Support (TEAMS) project helps school districts to overcome these barriers by engaging in a systematic, planned process to improve their health services.
AAP Health Services Assessment Tool for Schools (HATS)
The Health services Assessment Tool for Schools, or “HATS” for short, assesses the quality and comprehensiveness of school health services, the level of infrastructure to support those services, and the strength and implementation of school health services policies and protocols. The tool sets a "gold standard" for comprehensive school health services that districts can work toward. 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC)
The WSCC model is CDC’s framework for addressing health in schools.
Supporting Mental Health in Schools
This report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, in collaboration with the National Center for School Mental Health, indicates the findings from Supporting Mental Health in Schools Project, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Adolescent and School Health. The Supporting Mental Health in Schools Project began with a goal to gather formative, in-depth information from a small number of school districts with recognized high-functioning comprehensive school mental health system.
National Healthy Schools Collaborative 10-Year Roadmap
A collective impact group of over 25 health and education organizations - including the Americans Academy of Pediatrics - have collaborated to craft a bold, comprehensive, and popular blueprint to create more healthy schools.
Recommended Data Elements for School Health Forms
Review Council on School Health (COSH) recommendations on what components and data elements should be considered as part of a school health form.

Podcasts and Voices Blogs

Learn what others are saying. Listen to our podcasts and read our blog posts.

School Reopening - Episode 12

In this episode, hosts David Hill, MD, FAAP, and Joanna Parga-Belinkie, MD, FAAP, talk about returning to school during the pandemic. Nathaniel Beers, MD, MPA, FAAP, co-author of the AAP guidance for school re-entry, explains what needs to happen for schools to be safe and why returning to in-person learning is about more than education.

Pediatrics on Call


September 15, 2020

Assessing School Readiness - Episode 70

In the debut of Season Two, Marc Lerner, MD, FAAP, past chair of the executive committee of the AAP’s Council on School Health, offers advice on assessing children for school readiness.

Pediatrics on Call


July 20, 2021

Last Updated



American Academy of Pediatrics