Healthier Generation, Harmony SEL at National University, and Kaiser Permanente Spotlight Schools that Focus on Student and Staff Well-Being Among 2023 America’s Healthiest Schools

Over half of 2023 America’s Healthiest Schools prioritized social-emotional health as well as staff well-being

San Diego, CA – September 26, 2023 – Alliance for a Healthier Generation, with support from Harmony SEL at National University and Kaiser Permanente, today announced that 450of America’s Healthiest Schools have been recognized for implementing best practices around social-emotional health and staff well-being. Every year, Healthier Generation, one of the nation’s preeminent children’s health organizations, recognizes schools for achievements in up to nine topic areas related to advancing the physical, mental, and social-emotional health of students, staff, and families.

  1. Strengthening Social-Emotional Health and Learning, presented in collaboration with Harmony SEL at National University and Kaiser Permanente
  2. Cultivating Staff Well-Being, presented in collaboration with Harmony SEL at National University and Kaiser Permanente
  3. Increasing Family and Community Engagement, presented in collaboration with Kohl’s
  4. Improving Nutrition and Food Access
  5. Implementing Local School Wellness Policy
  6. Bolstering Physical Education and Activity
  7. Enriching Health Education
  8. Promoting Tobacco-Free Schools
  9. Supporting School Health Services

Fourteen schools among this year’s awardees earned the All-Star distinction by achieving recognition in all nine topic areas: Bridgeport Elementary School (Calif.), Budlong Elementary School (Ill.), Cedarcreek Elementary School (Calif.), Crestwood Steam Magnet School (Calif.), Emblem Academy (Calif.), James Foster Elementary School (Calif.), Lynch Elementary School (Fla.), Mountainview Elementary School (Calif.), Palmer Elementary School (Ill.), Plum Canyon Elementary School (Calif.), Ponce De Leon Elem School (Fla.), Rosedell Elementary School (Calif.), Santa Clarita Elem School (Calif.), and West Creek Academy (Calif.).

The 450 schools announced today in the “Strengthening Social-Emotional Health & Learning” and “Cultivating Staff Well-Being” topic areas are among 781awardees recognized across 36 states, the largest total in the history of America’s Healthiest Schools.

“National University is proud to present America’s Healthiest Schools’ ‘Strengthening Social-Emotional Health & Learning’ and ‘Cultivating Staff Well-Being’ topic areas,” said National University President and CEO Dr. Mark D. Milliron. “We offer our sincerest congratulations to all of the winners and applaud their dedication to fostering healthy learning environments for students and educators.”

Awardees in the topic areas demonstrated excellence in supporting students and staff in several ways including using positive motivation for student learning, implementing supportive disciplinary practices focused on reflection and restoration, promoting positive relationship-building among staff, and providing accessible spaces in schools for staff breaks and relaxation.

“It is a known reality that student and staff health and well-being has been adversely affected by traumatic events of the past few years,” said Kathy Higgins, chief executive officer at Healthier Generation. “Schools awarded in ‘Strengthening Social-Emotional Health & Learning’ and ‘Cultivating Staff Well-Being’ topic areas serve as a beacon of what health outcomes are possible when students and staff work together to build trusting relationships, foundational to school-wide resiliency and well-being for years to come.”   

“Healthy schools support better attendance and improved learning for children and higher job satisfaction among teachers and staff,” said Annie Reed, DrPH, MPP, executive director for Kaiser Permanente Thriving Schools, an initiative that works to strengthen the health and well-being of school communities across the country. “We’re thrilled to support and honor schools that are doing the work to help lead the way and ensure a better tomorrow for students across the country.”

Healthier Generation’s signature recognition program honors schools’ extraordinary efforts to advance the cycle of achievement in whole child health equity for especially Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color (BIPOC) youth and staff from under-resourced communities while grappling with historic and ongoing systemic inequities, a youth mental health crisis, high rates of staff turnover, pandemic-related learning loss, and other challenges. Among this year’s America’s Healthiest Schools, more than 75% of the awardees are Title I schools, and more than half serve a majority BIPOC students. As honorees of the recognition program, schools reinforce their central role as powerful agents of impact and change for their community at-large.

On Oct. 13 and 14, Healthier Generation will gather school representatives in Washington, DC for the America’s Healthiest Schools Leaders Summit to honor awardees and this year’s Corporate Hero, Kohl’s, for prioritizing the whole health needs of staff and students. More than 450 teachers, administrators, and thought leaders in health will come together to network, share best practices, and recognize the achievements of these distinguished schools.

America’s Healthiest Schools is one of the country’s longest-running nationwide recognition programs honoring schools for achievements in supporting the whole health needs of students and school staff.

Visit to view the schools recognized for “Strengthening Social-Emotional Health & Learning.”

Visit to view the schools recognized for “Cultivating Staff Well-Being.”

Visit to view all of 2023’s America’s Healthiest Schools.   

About Alliance for a Healthier Generation

Alliance for a Healthier Generation is a leading children’s health organization that advances equitable whole child health. Driven by our passion to ensure that every mind, every body, and every young person is healthy and ready to succeed, our work has reached over 31 million young people and 54,000 schools across the country. To learn more and help make a difference, visit

About Harmony SEL at National University

Harmony SEL at National University offers a no-cost program that strives to ensure that every student feels part of a safe, supportive learning community and that every teacher and provider is equipped to create inclusive and engaging learning opportunities. By offering SEL skill development experiences across contexts through relationship-driven activities, Harmony helps young people build and sustain relationships, giving them tools to grow into compassionate and caring adults. Harmony has been recognized as a CASELect program by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). Learn more about Harmony SEL at National University at

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.6 million members in 8 states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists, and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education, and the support of community health.

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