The Healthy Kids Learn Better Coalition is a statewide partnership of organizations and individuals working collectively to promote policies and programs that will reduce physical, social and emotional barriers to learning. Our goal is to build supportive funding, leadership and policies on the connections between health and education in order to keep kids safe, healthy, and ready to learn.

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For Every Kid Coalition Calls for Action

PORTLAND, OR— Today, Thursday, February 18th, families, youth, and groups in the Metro area joined cities and school districts demanding $15 million to fund safe routes to school for every kid in the metro-area. At the Metro Council office building, from 7:30-8:30 a.m., families and supporters of the For Every Kid Coalition showed support for Safe Routes to School by providing testimony and delivering thousands of postcards to committee members supporting dedicated funding for Safe Routes to School. Submission of Public Comment was completed through thousands of post cards delivered on document rings to each member of the Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT). These post cards show the thousands of supporters behind Safe Routes to School For Every Kid.

Supporters came from around the metro area to urge the Joint Policy Action Committee on Transportation to dedicate critical funding to fix the problems. Transit Safety Advocate Dr. Susan Kubota, Parent and Supporter Rachel Kimbrow, and Parkrose School District Board Member MaryLu Baetkey were all present to speak to the importance of a fully funded Safe Routes to School program.

Read more on the For Every Kid blog.


Speaker Tina Kotek still remembers HKLB!

In this December news clip about Oregon’s famous Farm to School and School Garden program, Oregon Speaker of the House Tina Kotek talks about how it all started because she used to be part of the Healthy Kids Learn Better Coalition, and she sees the value of investing in our kids for a healthier future.

Oregon leads the nation in farm to school programs


School lunches really about the future of Oregon

Oregon is making progress at ensuring all kids are getting the nutrition they need in K-12 public schools, but there is still much room for improvement.

That’s the conclusion reached in Oregon’s Healthy School Food Report Card, released in October, 2015 by Upstream Public Health, Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon and the American Heart Association. The report was designed to help parents, school administrators and legislators understand where Oregon makes the grade in feeding better food to kids, and where we are still falling behind.

Providing kids with healthy and delicious food in school is critical for their success. Hunger and poor nutrition have a direct and negative impact on children’s ability to learn, and hunger contributes to Oregon’s persistent achievement gap. More than half of all Oregon students qualify for the federal free and reduced-price meal programs. In many cases, school meals provide the majority of the calories and nutrition a child receives each day.

See KOIN TV media coverage here: School lunches really about the future of Oregon

And see the original report here:  Oregon’s Healthy School Food Report Card

Turning our culture of punishment into a culture of prevention

The culture of punishment — starting in schools — is an important factor affecting today’s youth and tomorrow’s state and national budgets.  The Executive Director of the American Public Health Association, Georges Benjamin, MD, shared this video to explain the role the criminal justice system plays in our health and how California is leading the way in turning the culture of punishment into a culture of prevention.   Can Oregon follow suit?

With Health and Justice for All

Physical Education helps kids learn!

You all knew this already, but here’s a great TedX  video:

Want Smarter, Healthier Kids?  Try Physical Education!   by Paul Zientarski

“I believe if we are going to resurrect daily physical education in schools it will be because the science continually shows that students who have been active and are fit do significantly better academically than their peers who have sat all day. Administrators and school boards are not concerned to a great deal about the health of students. Their concern revolves around students’ test scores for which they are held accountable. We have to show the value we bring to the educational system in terms of improving academic performance. Physical education enhances learning if moderate to vigorous movement is maintained in class.

With that in mind, my administration asked me to create a Zero Hour PE class, described in SPARK, which morphed into “Learning Readiness PE” or LRPE for short. Over the years of collecting data we discovered that students who had physical education 1 or 2 hours before a class they struggled in, such as reading and math, they did significantly better than students in the same academic class that had physical education afterward. Data can be looked at on our website http://www.learningreadinesspe.com”

HKLB Coalition to Update Recommendations from 2011

The HKLB coalition was excited to make legislative endorsements for the first time in several years, for the 2015 legislative session.  (See list of endorsements in prior post.)  But now the legislative session is winding down, and the coalition is working on a new project.  With a relatively new governor, and a brand new Deputy Superintendent of K-12 education, we have decided to review, update, and re-circulate a set of policy and program recommendations we worked on in 2011.  See the old version here:

Coalition Recommendations_Final_Corrected_2011

2015 HKLB Legislative Endorsements

Organizations listed are those that brought the request to HKLB; they are often working in partnership with other organizations to pass a bill, but can be used as a point of contact for further information.

  1. Transportation Funding Package  (Bicycle Transportation Alliance)  

Increase funding for non-highway transportation, including (but not limited to) transit, bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

  1. Safe Routes to School For Every Kid: Portland metro-area effort  (Bicycle Transportation Alliance)  

Secure funding from Metro Regional Government to implement Safe Routes to School programs at every school district in the Portland metro-area.

  1. Summer Learning Loss Prevention  (Oregon ASK)

Ensure that students have access to summer food, learning, and recreational activities to promote year-round nutrition and health, as well as to prevent summer learning loss.

  1. Toxic-Free Kids Act (Oregon Environmental Council)

Requires manufacturers or importers to report on the presence of certain high-priority toxic chemicals when they are used in products for children, and to phase them out.

  1. YouthPass Transportation Funding  (Oregon Environmental Council & Bicycle Transportation Alliance)  

Provides healthy and safe transportation to school and improves the healthfulness of learning environments.

  1. Health Care for All Children (Oregon Latino Health Coalition)

Ensures that all children in Oregon have access to the health care services they need to be successful in school and throughout their lives.  UPDATE:  now removes administrative barrier that prevents OHA from serving all kids, but does not affirmatively provide coverage.

  1. Improving School Nursing (Oregon Nurses Association)

This proposal aims to improve health and education outcomes for Oregon students by including school nursing in the coordinated school health and health transformation framework.

  1. Lottery Bonding for SBHC Construction Grants  (Oregon School-Based Health Alliance)

Secure capital grants for school-based health center construction so more kids have access to health care in school. School-based health care keeps kids healthy, learning, and thriving.

  1. Funding Formula Parity (Oregon School-Based Health Alliance)

Equalize funding across school-based health centers so they can provide comprehensive health care services to children and teens in school, keeping them healthy, learning and thriving.

  1. Funding for SBHC Expansion (Oregon School-Based Health Alliance)

Secure funding to support school-based health center expansion in eleven actively planning communities. School-based health care keeps kids healthy, learning, and thriving.

  1. Require CCOs to Collaborate with Educational Entities (Oregon School-Based Health Alliance)

Require CCOs to work with health and educational entities to integrate services for children and youth, ensuring they have the resources they need to be healthy, learning and thriving.

  1. Free Lunch for All Income-Qualified Kids (Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon)

Ensure all children at risk for hunger have access to free school lunch by eliminating the reduced-price lunch family co-pay for 30,000 students.

  1. Junk Food Marketing in Schools (Upstream Public Health)

Close a loophole that allows companies to market unhealthy foods and beverages at Oregon schools, so that kids will get consistently healthy food and food information while at school.

Official / Updated HKLB Endorsement Policy/Procedures:

  1. Steering Committee collects submissions (from member groups) in two stages:
  2. Rough proposals, e.g. “provide health coverage to all kids,” and
  3. Actual legislative language, when available.
  4. Steering committee reviews and makes recommendations to the full HKLB about endorsements.
  5. Full HKLB Coalition is invited to VOTE on proposals through a combined in-person or online process, with at least a month to consider/discuss with organization leaders/vote.
  6. Anything voted on by 85% of voting member groups can be considered HKLB endorsed
  7. Member organizations that do not participate in legislative activity or endorsements can request to be identified explicitly on HKLB website as opting out (all government partners are listed as Ex Officio, and therefore opted out.)
  8. Paper handouts and “advocacy issue” pages on the website should say

“Endorsed by the Healthy Kids Learn Better Coalition. For a list of all members, and those that have opted out of endorsing this or any legislation, please see link.

Intern Morgan Joyner testifies on behalf of Healthy Kids

On November 10, Upstream Public Health intern and Portland State student Morgan Joyner gave public testimony at an Oregon Education Investment Board meeting, speaking to the need for increased attention to the whole school, whole community, and whole child when attempting to rectify issues like the achievement gap, low graduation rates, and chronic absenteeism in Oregon schools.

Click here to read the full text of her testimony.

Listening to Youth-Driven Solutions on Universal Children’s Day

Sponsored by the American Society for the Positive Care of Children (American SPCC)

Date: Thursday, November 20, 2014

Time: 5PM – 7PM

Location: Mercy Corps Building
45 SW Ankeny St.
Portland, OR 97204

If you would like to attend, please RSVP on Facebook and invite your friends!

Refreshments will be served.

Come celebrate Universal Children’s Day on this 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

This event was designed as a platform for youth to share the advocacy and policy work they are doing in our community.  We are hoping this will inspire other youth to capitalize on the energy of the event by starting their own activities back at their individual schools and communities.

Learn from youth-led presentations, speak from an open mic, participate in a dialogue with elected officials and youth advocates, as we work together to put the CRC and “The Bill of Rights for the Children and Youth of the City of Portland and Multnomah County” into practice.

Youth presenters from the Multnomah Youth Commission, Oregon Foster Youth Connection, Momentum Alliance, Youth Ending Slavery, and Leadership and Entrepreneurship Public (LEP) Charter High School, among other organizations will be discussing issues of:

  • Foster Youth Priorities
  • Bullying
  • Teen Depression & Suicide
  • Public Transit Fairness & Safety
  • Human Trafficking
  • Mentoring Youth Leaders
  • Restorative Justice: Repairing relationships in schools and communities

Climate Risk: What it Means for Oregon’s Health Care Sectors

Hosted by the Oregon Environmental Council

Date: Friday, November 21, 2014

Time: 8 AM to 11:30 AM

Location: World Trade Center, Conference Center
121 SW Salmon St. #2
Portland, OR 97204

To register, visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/climate-risk-what-it-means-for-oregons-health-care-sectors-tickets-13768153919

Registration is open until November 21, but space is limited, so buy your tickets now!

This forum for professionals in all reaches of health care will cover a question essential to the future of the industry: How can we understand, reduce and mitigate the risks that a changing climate poses to health and health care delivery in Oregon?

Jon Utech, Environmental Sustainability Director at Cleveland Clinic

Lillian Shirley, Oregon Public Health Division Director

  • Oregon Climate and Health Profile Report, 2014


  • Industry leaders from Oregon’s public and private health care sectors will discuss forward-thinking strategies to address climate change impacts.

The recently released National Climate Assessment details how unmitigated climate change will create increasing burdens on the health care sector. Exacerbated chronic health conditions, extreme weather disasters and new disease will increase service demand, even as providers face supply chain interruptions, infrastructure challenges and demands to contain costs.

National experts and local leaders will convene to discuss:

  • Impact: What changes can we anticipate in patient health, community status and industry infrastructure?
  • Preparedness: How prepared is the industry to adapts to change, and what investments are necessary to mitigate impacts?
  • Leadership: How can health care leaders ensure that elected officials and decision-makers account for the health care industry in crafting climate change policy?

HKLB Coalition Meetings

Date: 1st Tuesday of every month

Time: 2-4pm

Location: 240 NE Broadway St