Fifteen California schools have been named winners of the inaugural Achievements in Respiratory (AIR) Health Awards for implementing strategies that make their school environments healthier for students and staff with asthma, Dr. Mark Horton, director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), announced today.
“Every student deserves a healthy environment in which to learn,” Horton said. “These schools have distinguished themselves by making an extra effort to improve air quality for their students.”
Asthma is the most common chronic disease of childhood and a leading cause of school absences. Asthma triggers include mold, pesticides, high-pollen landscaping, cleaning agents or air fresheners, animal dander and droppings, and exposure to outdoor air contaminants.
To be eligible for the award, schools must have instituted air quality improvement plans that address asthma-causing cleaning supplies, pesticide use, classroom pets, and maintenance problems. Additionally, schools must have demonstrated enforcement of state regulations reducing bus idling near schools and banning smoking on school property.
Rolling Hills Elementary School in the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District, and City Terrace Elementary School in the Los Angeles Unified School District received the highest ratings. The schools distinguished themselves by exceeding the award criteria and involving the entire school, from the principal to the school staff and students, in identifying and reducing asthma triggers on school grounds, often in innovative ways, and serving as role models for other schools in their districts.
The complete list of awardees is as follows:
Award of Achievement
Ben Franklin Intermediate, San Mateo County
Heber Elementary School, Imperial County
Pollicita Middle School, San Mateo
Vacaville High School, Solano County
Award of Excellence
Berendo Middle School, Los Angeles County
Brookfield Elementary School, Alameda County
Crescent School, Solano County
Lazear Elementary School, Alameda County
Life Academy High School, Alameda County
Rio Vista High School, Solano County
Riverview Middle School, Solano County
E. Ruth Sheldon Elementary School, Solano County
D.H. White Elementary School, Solano County
Distinguished Achievement Award
City Terrace Elementary School, Los Angeles County
Rolling Hills Elementary School, Solano County
Schools that participated in the competition were nominated by asthma coalitions and other asthma-related organizations statewide. By acknowledging the efforts of outstanding schools, CDPH seeks to encourage other schools to do likewise and reduce asthma, asthma attacks and triggers at their schools.