Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAPs) detail the district’s goals for students, the actions it will undertake to achieve those goals, the funds it will use to perform those actions, and the metrics it will use to determine success.
LCAPs allow districts to demonstrate to stakeholders their commitment to health and wellness and provide opportunities for districts to demonstrate how funded wellness initiatives support the district’s students and achieve its goals. In addition, LCAPs make it easier to protect funding for these initiatives by embedding them within the budget for the following three years.
Available Resources for LCAPs
- CA Department of Education's LCAP Resource Page
- Healthy Schools Program Framework for Best Practices
- School Nutrition for Academic Success: An LCAP Guide
- SD County Office of Education's Equity Blueprint for Action
Investing in Wellness
Added investments in wellness can result in tangible improvements in attendance rates and overall student wellness. For example, students who receive adequate nutrition have better school attendance, academic achievement, and reduced aggressive behavior. Support for nutrition programs such as universal free meals, breakfast after the bell, afterschool supper, summer meals, and initiatives to increase participation in the National School Lunch Program all support LCAP goals.
The following infographic is from the San Diego County Office of Education’s Equity Blueprint for Action. SDCOE’s Equity Blueprint for Action document aims to provide educational leaders and stakeholders with community-informed and research-based guidance to improve equitable outcomes for historically marginalized students.
While many school health and wellness initiatives can be tracked through traditional metrics such as school attendance rates, suspension/expulsion rates, and standardized testing scores, more specific metrics may also be used. Metrics that may be used to measure progress in meeting physical activity, nutrition, and social-emotional goals include the following.
- Annual FitnessGram® scores, if collected
- Meal program participation rates
- California Healthy Kids Survey results
Since 2016, Live Well Schools has conducted an annual scan of all San Diego County school districts LCAPs for language related to health and wellness. Actions and their related expenditures are categorized into topics and subtopics to highlight the activities each district is prioritizing.
Categories include the following.
- Physical Health
This category includes health education, nutrition, physical activity, physical education, professional development related to the category, maintaining and/or creating a healthy environment (such as indoor air quality or campus cleanliness), and medical services.
- Social and Emotional Health
This category includes connectedness, material and curriculum related to the category, personnel required to support the social and emotional wellbeing of the student and/or family, professional development.
This category includes personnel that are focused on ensuring school safety measures, any physical safety measures being taken by a school as well as training/workshops aimed at physical and student safety measures.
Note: LCAPs are usually submitted in the Spring each year. However, due to COVID-19, requirements have changed. Therefore, updates for the 2020-2021 school year will be missing from future analyses.
Budgeting and Spending Trends
Key LCAP Trends
Live Well Schools analysis shows the following.
- More districts are itemizing specific wellness actions with specific funding amounts, rather than presenting lump sum totals, providing more transparency and clarity
- Investments in some components of student health and wellness in San Diego districts have increased notably.
- There was a significant increase in county-wide spending on Mental Health Counseling from 2016 to 2018
- There was a significant decrease in county-wide spending on Safety from 2016 to 2019
Live Well Schools’ 2019 Partnerships for Healthy Schools report cumulates the recent data and trends to start the discussion about how a strong wellness policy and effective budgeting investments in student physical and mental health and wellness can lead to better attendance.
To learn more about your district-specific data and trends please email Pam Smith for your school district's individual Healthy Schools report.