In 2012, Public Education Network (PEN) closed its doors after 21 years. PEN was a network of local education funds (LEFs) -- community based organizations in high poverty school districts across the United States -- that continue to work with their school districts and communities to improve public education for the nation's most disadvantaged children.

At the national level, PEN raised the importance of public engagement as an essential component of education reform. It brought the voice of LEFs and the communities they represent into the national education debate. Finally, PEN gave voice to the essential nature of the connection between quality public education and a healthy and thriving democracy.

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Getting Communities Involved in Improving Sexual Health Education

March 1, 2002

Since 1994, Public Education Network (PEN) has been working with local education funds (LEFs) to engage communities in developing comprehensive school health programs in public schools. The effort follows a research-supported eight-component model developed by CDC, the federal agency funding the initiative.According to CDC, a comprehensive school health program must have the following elements:Health EducationPhysical EducationHealth ServicesNutrition ServicesHealth Promotion for StaffCounseling and Psychological ServicesHealthy School EnvironmentParent/Community InvolvementUsing these criteria, PEN asked eight LEFs to survey and assess the level of school health programs in their communities and to create plans to either establish or enhance comprehensive school health programs. In 1995, six of these sites received three-year implementation grants.In the 1999-2000 school year, five of the six sites received funds for assessing the capacity of their communities to address and sustain commitments to their comprehensive school health initiatives beyond the life of the PEN grants. These LEFs are located in Buffalo, NY; Lancaster, PA; McKeesport (MonValley), PA; Paterson, NJ; and Atlanta, GA. This edition of Lessons from the Field summarizes the work of four of these LEFs so that others might learn from their experiences.

Creating Lasting Comprehensive School Health Programs: The Connection Between Health and Achievement

May 12, 1999

Student health has a profound effect upon student academic performance. In 1994, with a focus on increasing student achievement, the Public Education Network (PEN) began working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Adolescent and School Health (CDC/DASH) to integrate coordinated school health programs (CSHPs) into a larger, systemic school reform effort at the local and national levels. PEN provided funding and technical assistance to five local education funds (LEFs) to implement projects that would create, enhance, and/or institutionalize school health programs within their districts. This report -- the last of a four-part series -- looks at the process of institutionalization based on a model developed by PEN in collaboration with the five LEFs. A major component of this work involved engaging public support by clearly articulating the need for, and value of, comprehensive school health programs. Through the Comprehensive School Health Initiative (CSHI), PEN and LEFs are linking school health and school reform through the critical issue of school and adolescent health which includes HIV prevention as a major focus. This report looks at some of the indicators for institutionalization used by the LEFs in order to sustain their activities in establishing and enhancing comprehensive school health programs in their schools and communities.

Creating and Managing Change Through Comprehensive School Health Programs

May 12, 1999

In 1994, Public Education Network (PEN) entered into a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Adolescent and School Health (CDC/DASH) to integrate comprehensive school health programs (CSHP) into a larger, systemic school reform effort at the local and national levels. Under this agreement, PEN worked with and provided funds ($20,000 each year over a three-year period) to five local education funds (LEFs) to conduct local projects that would establish, enhance, and/or institutionalize school health programs within their districts -- and in the case of one LEF, throughout the state.This report documents the process by which the LEFs were able to create and manage changes in the community brought about by their local school health programs.

Meeting the Challenges of Health Education Curriculum Development

May 12, 1999

In 1994, the Public Education Network (PEN) entered into a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Adolescent and School Health (CDC/DASH) to integrate comprehensive school health programs (CSHP) into a larger, systemic school reform effort at the local and national levels. Under this agreement, PEN worked with and provided funds to six local education funds (LEFs) to implement local projects that would establish, enhance, and/or institutionalize school health programs within their districts -- and in the case of one LEF, throughout the state. This case study documents the experiences of these LEFs and their partners in the second year of the implementation of this project, which focused on activities reforming the health education curriculum reform.PEN was able to explore and delineate the issues surrounding comprehensive services through its first federal grant from the CDC. Through the Comprehensive School Health Initiative (CSHI), PEN, along with its partner LEFs, aims to link school health and school reform by approaching the issue of school and adolescent health, including HIV prevention, with public engagement as a major component. This report looks at the challenges LEFs faced as they engaged a wide array of entities in examining health education curriculum and reform efforts to make it more comprehensive, age-appropriate and developmental.

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