Top of Page

CPS Office of Student Health and Wellness Wins National Award for Leadership in Providing Comprehensive Student Services

12 July 2022

OSHW “Healthy CPS” program recognized by American School Health Association for advancing student health and wellness

CPS Office of Communications

Phone: 773-553-1620
Twitter: @chipubschools
Facebook: chicagopublicschools

CHICAGO - Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is honored to announce that the District’s Office of Student Health and Wellness (OSHW) will receive the American School Health Association’s (ASHA) Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) Award, which recognizes organizations that have implemented a collaborative model that supports each child’s physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development.

This award is being presented to CPS for its leadership in establishing the Healthy CPS program, which aligns with the District's core value to serve the whole child so students are healthy, safe, engaged and academically challenged. As the nation’s third-largest school district, serving more than 330,000 students in 600-plus schools, the District aims to be a national leader in the field of school health and in providing comprehensive services as outlined in this video. 

“I’m proud of the dedicated team that makes up our Office of Student Health and Wellness, and this well-deserved award honors the work they do every single day to serve our students,” said CEO Pedro Martinez. “Our OSHW colleagues work extraordinarily hard on any given day, but particularly over the past two-plus years. Their efforts to address COVID-19 while also serving our students physically, emotionally, and mentally have been vital to helping students heal from the impact of the pandemic, learn, and thrive.”

Healthy CPS

In addition to being the primary CPS entity responsible for providing health services to students, OSHW has established the Healthy CPS program, a mechanism for communicating, supporting the implementation of, and monitoring compliance with roughly 50 federal, state, and local health and wellness policies. This work aligns with the CDC’s  Whole School, Whole Community, and Whole Child model.

The award recognizes a variety of tools and resources that support the health of CPS students. This includes more than 400 learning gardens across the District and a state-of-the-art agriculture lab that provides a training space to equip teachers and school garden teams in various agriculture processes that can be used in classrooms and gardens. Over 200 schools have Gender and Sexuality Alliances (GSA) to enhance safe and supportive school environments, and 130 schools participate in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, bringing hands-on nutrition education to thousands of students each year.  In addition, OSHW experts provide programming and technical assistance to schools around mental health, sexual health education, LGBTQ+ support, physical activity, school gardens, direct health services, and enrollment in and utilization of public health benefits such as Medicaid and SNAP. 

Schools achieve Healthy CPS status by meeting at least 90 percent of criteria ranging from weekly physical education minutes and daily recess to staff training and healthy celebrations. As of SY18-19, the last year of reporting before the pandemic, 90 schools had achieved Healthy CPS certification, and 72 percent of the total criteria were met across the District. 

In 2019 OSHW expanded on the Healthy CPS programs by establishing the Whole Child Advisory Council, which regularly convenes departments, including the Office of Social Emotional Learning, the Office of Diverse Learner Supports and Services, the Office of School Safety and Security, the Office of School Counseling and Postsecondary Support, and Nutrition Support Services,  to share initiative updates and priorities, review policies and programs through a whole child lens, and discuss opportunities for cross-departmental partnerships. In 2022, OSHW launched the Whole Child Partner Network, composed of over 50 organizations that provide direct programming to CPS students. The network strives to increase collaboration across WSCC components and better support schools. The groups converge at an annual Whole Child Partner Summit, allowing CPS departments to provide high-level overviews of their priorities and partner needs and fostering community and networking, strengthening internal and external partnerships. 

This past year, OSHW added a second partner-led summit to provide organizations the opportunity to share their own best practices and learn from others whose work touches on multiple WSCC components. OSHW set a goal to create a consistent, unified message to help school leaders understand how these pieces all fit together.

Specific to the COVID-19 pandemic, OSHW has worked to support the whole child by leading the District’s effort to provide access to vaccines, free COVID-19 testing, personal protective equipment, and contact tracing to keep school communities safe. As of June 1, OSHW has:

  • Administered over 1.5 million COVID-19 tests since September 1, 2021,

  • Hosted over 1,500 COVID-19 vaccination events serving more than 23,000 patient encounters between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022.

  • Distributed more than $13 million of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to students and staff.

Thanks in part to CPS’ effort to promote COVID-19 vaccination and increase access to vaccines, CPS students at District-managed schools are outpacing the national average for vaccinations. As of June 1, 2022:

  • 64.05 percent of CPS students aged 12-17 at District-managed schools are fully vaccinated, compared to 59.5 percent nationwide

  • 43.72 percent of CPS students aged 5-11 at District-managed schools are fully vaccinated, compared to 29.1 percent nationwide

“Healthy students are more prepared to learn, and more prepared to succeed in college, career, and civic life,” said Tashunda Green-Shelton, Deputy Chief Health Officer of the Office of Student Health and Wellness. “OSHW is helping schools prioritize health and wellness to ensure that every student, in every school, in every community, is healthy, safe, supported, challenged, and engaged.”

OSHW will be presented with the award at the American School Health Association’s annual conference on July 25, 2022. The award will be presented virtually, with a panel discussion to follow. The award comes as the District celebrates the 10th anniversary of the formation of the Office of Student Health and Wellness.