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Budlong and Palmer Elementary Schools Receive All-Star Distinction and America’s Healthiest Schools Award

26 October 2023

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation Recognizes Budlong and Palmer for Excellence in All Nine Student Health Topic Areas

CPS Office of Communications

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CHICAGO – Lyman A. Budlong and John Palmer Elementary Schools recently earned awards from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation (Healthier Generation) for outstanding efforts in the prioritization of student, staff, and family health in 2023. Across the nation, 781 schools received such recognition, while Budlong and Palmer were among only 14 to receive distinction for outstanding performance in all nine student health topic areas: social-emotional health, staff well-being, staff and community engagement, nutrition and food access, local school wellness policy, physical education and activity, health education, promoting tobacco-free schools, and supporting school health services.

“We commend these two schools for making such significant strides in providing a healthy, welcoming and supportive school climate and culture,” said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez. “We know that when families, staff, and students feel safe and supported, their potential is unlimited.”

Budlong Elementary School places an emphasis on social-emotional learning (SEL) to promote strong relationships and developmental growth among students. From kindergarten through fifth grade, Budlong uses the SEL curriculum Caring School Community, which supports students’ sense of belonging and investment in their own communities. Parents and staff are also encouraged to engage in Budlong’s SEL programming through partnerships with organizations, such as the neighboring Swedish Hospital, which works with Budlong to ensure that all families have access to food and other nutritional resources. In addition, Budlong’s Culture and Climate Team supports the implementation of SEL for both students and staff by supporting kinesthetic wellness classes with units, such as bowling or roller skating, facilitating Calm Classroom practices for staff meetings, or collecting feedback from families regarding SEL wellness and development.

Palmer Elementary has long-standing partnerships with several organizations to help promote wellness among their school community. One such partnership is Pilot Light, a local nonprofit organization that collaborates with teachers to promote food education and foster informed food choices. Teachers at Palmer also regularly participate in “walking classrooms,” which allow students to stay active during the school day, supporting both physical and social-emotional wellness. The school’s focus on health and wellness is not limited to its students, Palmer also emphasizes staff support through wellness programs such as yoga classes, health-centered development programming, and more.

Staff from Budlong Elementary and Palmer Elementary traveled to Washington, D.C. earlier in October for the America’s Healthiest Schools Leaders Summit to represent the school and the District in receiving this honor and to collaborate with other staff and administrators to share best practices for prioritizing whole health needs for school communities.


About Chicago Public Schools (CPS)
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is dedicated to providing a high-quality education to all students, beginning with the District’s free full-day preschool programming for four-year-old scholars and continuing through neighborhood, magnet and selective-enrollment elementary schools that provide a rigorous K-8 education with schools that specialize in the fine arts, world language and culture, dual language, STEM, International Baccalaureate (IB), classical programs, and more. The rising District-wide freshmen-on-track and high school graduation rates reflect the hard work of the CPS community, including families, staff, and students across 635 schools. CPS celebrates the diversity of its more than 322,000 students who cite 182 home languages. Learn more about CPS at and connect with CPS on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.