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National Healthy Schools Award

Every child deserves to attend a healthy school. Be honored for your hard work in creating a healthier school by earning a National Healthy Schools Award. All award winners are recognized as America's Healthiest Schools.

Schools that receive the National Healthy Schools Award meet or exceed stringent standards established in Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program Assessment, a version of the 2017 School Health Index from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

Awarded schools receive Healthier Generation’s National Healthy Schools Award at the Bronze, Silver or Gold level, awarded annually based on the number of best-practices they have implemented relating to children’s health. Healthier Generation’s team of school health experts evaluate schools based on their ability to serve healthier meals and snacks, get students moving more, offer high-quality health and physical education, and support staff wellness.   

Healthier Generation annually publishes the list of “America’s Healthiest Schools” to recognize these award-winning school communities. Hundreds of local and national publications have featured previous award-winners including Woman’s Day, Parade Magazine, The Huffington Post, Cooking Light, USA Today, and more! 

View past award winners: 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015

Will your school make the list in 2020? Apply today!

Inside one of America's Healthiest Schools:


The Application


Who is Eligible for the National Healthy Schools Award? 

U.S.-based elementary, Middle, and High School wellness teams are eligible to apply for the National Healthy Schools Award. All practices and policies cited in a school’s award application must be fully in place across the entire school campus 30-days before the application submission deadline. This includes the district’s local wellness policies that must be approved by the school board 30-days before the application submission deadline.


Why Apply for a National Healthy Schools Award? 

Earning a National Healthy Schools Award indicates that your school is a leader in school health and wellness. The National Healthy Schools Award comes with a multitude of benefits, including: 

  • A spot on our annual list of America’s Healthiest Schools, seen by millions nationwide each year through local and national media, such as USA Today, The Huffington Post, Woman's Day, and more. 
  • A digital promotion package including web graphics, social media messages, newsletter, and email templates that help you share your accomplishment with your school, district, and larger community. 
  • Celebration materials – including a certificate, a large banner, and other materials to display at your school – so your staff, students and parents know about your hard work. 

The application process for the National Healthy Schools Award helped us to evaluate if we are who we say we are! The application helped hold our feet to the fire, allowed us to tweak a few things, and challenged us to maintain our commitment to making Franklin a healthier and more active school environment.

Terrie Gooch, Physical Education Teacher
Franklin Medical Science-Wellness Magnet School, MS
How to Apply for the National Healthy Schools Award 
  1. Print our Award Guide to help you navigate the online Assessment, and learn about the required evidence and documentation for the National Healthy Schools Award 
  2. Start your Healthy Schools Assessment in the Action Center, where you’ll find helpful guides to choose the appropriate award level and who to ask for support with evidence and documentation 
  3. To get started on your application, go to your Action Center Dashboard, click on the Healthy Schools Assessment link to the right of your school name, and click the “Apply for an Award” link from the menu at the top of the page

NOTE: 2019 Award Winners may choose to renew their award at the same level or apply for the next level up. All other past Award winners are welcome to apply! 

Application Timeline 
  • Application opens: November 2019
  • Final due dateEXTENDED TO APRIL 10, 2020
  • Award notifications: May 2020 
  • America’s Healthiest Schools announcement: September 2020 

Apply Early! All applications are due no later than April 10, 2020. Applications must be completed in order to be submitted for consideration. Schools will be notified of their award status in May 2020. 

What Is Asked in the Application? 

The Healthy Schools Award application addresses the implementation of specific best practices and policies in six topic areas: Policy & Environment, Nutrition Services, Smart Snacks, Health & Physical Education, Physical Activity, and Employee Wellness. These include serving healthier meals and snacks, getting students moving more, offering high-quality health and physical education, and supporting staff wellness. A comprehensive list of best practices by topic area is available in the Award Guide and Eligibility Worksheet

Within each topic area, schools must identify which practices and policies are currently implemented at their schools. Healthier Generation’s digital Assessment makes it easy to track progress across all six topic areas and more than 50 different best practices. 

Schools choose to apply for Bronze, Silver, or Gold award levels based on the programs and policies in place at their school. All practices and policies must be fully in place across the entire school campus 30-days before the application submission deadline. This includes the district’s local wellness policies that must be approved by the school board 30-days before the application submission deadline.    

Documentation and evidence of success is required as part of the National Healthy Schools Award Application. For example: 

  • School wellness policy 
  • School wellness committee members, roles, and meeting schedule 
  • Schedules for school nurses, counselors, and other wellness staff  
  • Communications regarding parenting strategies and family involvement in decision-making for school health and safety policies 
  • School breakfast and lunch menus and administrative review letters of approval 
  • USDA’s Smart Snack in School nutrition standards compliance directives 
  • Physical Education schedules and requirements 
  • Communications regarding health assessments, physical activity, healthy eating, and/or stress management programs for staff 
  • Photos, videos, and success stories that highlight innovative programs and community engagement 


Help & Support 

The Healthy Schools Program website is full of resources and tools that make it easy to accomplish the school goals. While working on our school award, the leaders of the Healthy School Program were available and ready to help.

Randy Baez, Wellness Coordinator
Desoto Trail Elementary, FL

If you have questions about how to answer the questions on our online Assessment or evidence for the application, please contact our National Advisors

If you have technical questions about using our online Assessment tool or completing the Award Application, please contact our Member Engagement & Support Team. For a walk-through of the application process or training topic areas, or check out our recorded sessions in our Training Center

Email to ask questions anytime, and be sure to consult with a Healthier Generation staff member or your Healthy Schools Program Manager to ensure your application is complete before submission.  


Important Information about the Application Review Process: 
  • Schools can work on the application at any time and save and return at any time before submitting the application. 
  • Before submitting your application, please contact us for a quick consultation to ensure all fields are completed correctly. 
  • Schools will be notified of their Award status in May 2020