About the Healthy School Action Tools
The Healthy School Action Tools (HSAT) are a set of online tools
to help Michigan schools create healthier environments. Schools that support
healthy choices help students achieve their academic potential.
This page describes the HSAT process, provides information about
the available tools and gives background information about how the HSAT was
developed. All Michigan schools are encouraged to register and
use the Health School Action Tools.
The HSAT Process - The Big Picture
The diagram below depicts the overall HSAT process. The various
online tools are designed assist schools in accomplishing each phase of the
The first part of the process is to take a look at your
school - to identify your strengths as well as your areas of need. The
HSAT Assessment is an online tool that provides information and feedback
on where your school is now. You can select one or more topics to assess.
The HSAT Assessment section below provides more
With a comprehensive understanding of your strengths
and need areas, your school will be poised to set meaningful goals and
plan and implement actions that support those goals to make a positive
difference in your school's health environment. The HSAT Action
Plan is an online tool to assist your school in taking action - it walks
you through effective planning steps and provides a convenient way to
document your progress. The HSAT Action Plan section provides
more details about this tool.
Acknowledging your achievements is motivating and can
energize your school to continue to take actions that make a difference.
Just as important, sharing your successes and getting recognized for
your accomplishments inspires other schools. Two online tools are provided
for recognition and sharing: the Healthy
School Environment Recognition Program and School
The HSAT Assessment is designed to allow you to take it again
and again (as many times as you like) while still retaining the information
from the initial assessment and each completed subsequent assessment. Assessing
the same topic areas is a good way to check your progress. Or you may wish
to assess new topic areas that you did not assess on previous HSAT Assessments
to get a more comprehensive picture of your school's environment.
How to Get Started
Don't go it alone. Before you begin using the various HSAT
tools, form a team of interested individuals who represent the various aspects
of your schools - including teachers, administrators, food service directors,
school health care providers, parents, community members, and (for middle and
high school) student representatives.
Completing the assessment will be much easier if you have a supportive
and motivated team. Similarly, the improvements you make will be more meaningful,
more widely accepted and much easier to implement if you work with a representative
team of school staff, administrators, and others in the school community.
Once you have your team, register
your school. It takes less than five minutes and provides immediate access
to the Healthy School Action Tools.
"Is It Worth It?" - The Benefits
Research indicates that healthy school environments
help students achieve their full academic potential. Using the Healthy School
Action Tools is a major step toward creating healthy school environments.
Nearly 500 Michigan schools have used the original online HSAT Assessment
and about 200 of these schools have use the online Action Plan tools. In
addition to providing a useful and convenient way to assess the school environment,
plan effective changes and monitor progress, many HSAT schools have reported
the additional benefits associated with collaboration that is intrinsic to
establishing a coordinated school health team.
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The HSAT Assessment - Assess Your School
first five steps in the HSAT process involve assessing the current status of
your school's health environment. Identify your existing strengths and
needs using the HSAT Assessment.
Step 1 - Select Topics to Assess: The HSAT Assessment
consists of cross-cutting questions which
apply to all topic areas plus questions pertaining to six other topics: Asthma
Management, Healthy Eating & Nutrition, Physical Education & Physical
Activity, Social & Emotional Health, Tobacco-Free Lifestyles, and Violence and Injury Prevention. Your
school's assessment will automatically include the cross-cutting questions.
During the registration process,
you will be asked to select at least one other topic area to assess. Your school
may wish to begin by assessing only one or two topics or you may wish to take
the time to assess all topics to get a more comprehensive view. You can change
your topics anytime prior to submitting your HSAT.
Step 2 - Read Instructions: The assessment instructions
will be available immediately after you register. To be most efficient at completing
the HSAT Assessment, we recommend that you read the instructions prior to beginning
the assessment. The instructions will remain available to you as a menu item
and provide answers to most of the commonly asked questions.
Step 3 - Complete Assessment:
The HSAT Assessment consists of 8 modules (regardless of the topic you select).
Completing the modules involves clicking the answer to each questions and periodically
clicking the Save buttons to save your work (the saved buttons are located
at the end of each assessment subsection).
You can complete the assessment over as many sessions as you
like. Simply save your work before you exit and you can come back and resume
where you left off. Each time you save your work, your score will be calculated
and displayed on the online scorecard (available after you register). The score
provides feedback on how your school is doing related to creating a healthy
The assessment instructions (available after you register) provide
more detailed information to assist you in the process.
Step 4 - Complete Summary:
Although the Summary section of the assessment is not scored, it is required.
The Summary section reviews the ideas for change entered in the 8 modules and
asks additional questions that to help gauge where you are now and that can
be useful in monitoring your progress.
Step 5- Submit Assessment:
Once you are done with the 8 modules and the Summary section, you are ready
to officially submit your assessment. When you click the submit button on the
Submit Assessment page, the software checks your work to make sure that there
are no incomplete or inconsistent answers. Problems are flagged to make it
easy for you to go back and correct them. The submit process and the automated
edits associated with it ensure that your final score is as accurate as possible.
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The HSAT Action Plan - Take Action
to Make It Better
The HSAT Action Plan includes Steps 6 through 9 of the HSAT Process.
The online Action Plan is intended to assist schools in moving their ideas
for improvement from concept to reality. The HSAT Action Plan aims to serve
the following purposes:
- Provide a process and structure to help schools determine meaningful goals
and then to identify actions that support those goals.
- Provide a simple method for assessing feasibility and prioritizing actions.
- Offer a way to keep track of progress of actions that are selected to be
implemented along with progress toward the overarching goals. By noting milestones
online, the team members involved can access updates and view progress anytime
and anywhere there is an internet connection.
Schools have access to the HSAT Action Plan as soon as they successfully
submit their first HSAT Assessment.
6 - Read Instructions: The HSAT Action Plan Instructions become
available online as soon as your school successfully submits their first
HSAT Assessment. As with the assessment, we recommend that you read the instructions
prior to beginning the Action Plan. The Action Plan Instructions remain available
for reference throughout Action Planning process and answer most commonly
Step 7 - Set "SMART" Goals: The need
areas discovered by completing your HSAT Assessment will help your school set
overall goals for improvement. To be most effective, goals should be SMART-
Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. The Resource
Guide includes a more complete explanation of SMART goals and
examples of SMART goals for each topic area.
Step 8 - List and Prioritize Recommended
Actions: To accomplish your goals, your school will need to take
one or more actions. The online HSAT Action Plan provides space for you to
list as many recommended actions as you like. To assist you in setting priorities
for implementation, you are asked to rank each recommended action on four
dimensions to determine how important they are and how feasible they will
be to implement. Based on this information and other factors your team considers,
your school will choose the high priority actions to be implemented.
Step 9 - Plan and Complete Actions:
For the actions selected to be implemented, the HSAT Action Plan provides additional
planning tools (such as defining dates for initiation and completion, assigning
responsibility) and a convenient way to monitor progress.
The online Action Plan also helps schools document their accomplishments
(completed actions) in a way that can be shared with other team members or
printed out and shared with school administrators and others in the school
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Recognition & Sharing Tools
important to acknowledge and share your achievements. Congratulating yourself
on your successes motivates you to continue. Sharing achievements publicly
also helps other schools - it provides ideas, demonstrates that it can be done,
and inspires others.
Although not housed on this website, the Michigan Department
of Community Health and their Healthy Schools partner organizations have made
available two additional online recognition and sharing tools:
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- Healthy School Environment
Recognition Program (HSERP) - All Michigan schools can complete
and submit an online application form. Schools that achieve one of five
levels of recognition based on the answers they provide are formally recognized
each year. To find out more about the program, visit the HSERP
- School Success Stories - Michigan schools are also encouraged
to share their success stories using the School
Success Story website. The story submission process is easy
and you can submit as many stories as you like. All stories are reviewed
and most are published online to enable other schools to learn from others' successes.
As of Fall 2007, more than 200 success stories have been published spanning
many different topic areas.
Assess Again - Checking Progress or Assessing
are two good reasons to complete the HSAT Assessment again:
- Your school has taken action to improve and you'd like to measure
your progress. How much has your HSAT Assessment score changed due to the
changes you have made? In this case, schools may want to select the same
topics as they did previously so the scores will be comparable.
- Your school may wish to assess new topic areas that you did not assess
the first (or even the second time) you completed an HSAT Assessment. For
a variety of reasons, including time and resource limitations, schools may
prefer to assess only one or two topics initially. Later (even as early as
a few months later) schools may be ready to take on more and assess new topics.
The HSAT Assessment can be completed as many times as your school
likes. Comparative score cards are provided and all the answers to your previous
HSATs are saved and are available for your review any time you log in to this
Your Action Plan remains active and available to your schools
during the reassessment process so that you can continue implement actions
to improve your school's environment and to monitor your progress.
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HSAT History & Acknowledgements
The Healthy School Action Tools (HSAT) were adapted from the School
Health Index (SHI): Self-Assessment & Planning Guide from Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention and the Changing the Scene - Improving
the School Nutrition Environment from U.S. Department of Agriculture,
Food and Nutrition Service, Team Nutrition.
The development of the original HSAT Assessment (nutrition, physical
activity and tobacco-free lifestyles) was a collaborative effort of the Michigan
Department of Community Health, the Michigan Department of Education, Michigan
State University Extension, Michigan Team Nutrition, and United Dairy Industry
of Michigan. The original online HSAT was launched in 2004 and since then nearly
800 Michigan schools have registered and completed the HSAT Assessment.
In 2007, the American Cancer Society and Michigan Public Health
Institute joined with the original partners to expand and improve the assessment.
The second version of the Healthy School Action Tools allows schools to assess
more topic areas and provides an expanded Action Plan Tool.
We gratefully acknowledge the expertise, support and extensive
effort provided by all the HSAT partners in creating these online tools. We
also thank the Centers for Disease Control and Team Nutrition for establishing
the foundation on which the assessment is based.
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Where to Find Answers & Additional
For more information about the HSAT, also visit the Frequently
Asked Questions page. To learn more about actions you can
take to create a healthier school environment, please visit the About
Healthy School Environments section of this website. For an
online training module about the HSAT and how to use it to improve the
health of your school environment, visit the HSAT
Overview Training presentation in Preview
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