Key Issues

smiling boy in cap and gownPreventing School Dropout

In 2018, an estimated 5.3% of American high school students left school before completion. As many policymakers have indicated, the dropout crisis is a moral and economic imperative for the nation, and many of the social obstacles to high school completion — including drug use, teen pregnancy, violence, hunger and poverty — are also obstacles to health. 


smiling girlsHealth and Well-Being in Schools

Research shows that school-based health care increases educational success by providing necessary physical and mental health supports that allow students to stay in school and do better academically. School-based health centers are a proven strategy for eliminating or reducing barriers to graduation and preventing school dropout.


boy eating apple Hunger and Obesity

The seeming opposites of hunger and obesity are actually closely linked. To avoid hunger and sustain energy, people who experience food insecurity consume a good deal of inexpensive, high calorie, low quality food. Not only does food insecurity include the risk of poor nutrition, obesity and complications from chronic diseases, but also poor school performance.


boarded up building with trash in front Chronic Stress

Chronic stress is a response to persistent social, physical and emotional pressures over an extended period of time, such as the daily stressors (inadequate housing, food insecurity) faced by students living in poverty. Chronic stress can impact brain development and result in difficulties maintaining attention and concentration in school, as well as increases in fear, anxiety, depression and impulsive and risk-taking behavior (and, particularly in boys, hostility, aggression and violence). Chronic stress contributes to high school dropout.

three girls smiling School Climate

School climate has a major impact on students, shaping their experiences within the school walls and their chances at educational success. School climate can either reinforce negative influences or help students grow, learn and graduate.



boy with black eye School Violence

One third of all high school students say that violence is a big problem at their school, and one in four say they do not feel very safe at school, showing the potentially widespread impact that school violence could have on students' physical and emotional well-being, and ultimately their educational success.