Sustainable, Healthy Learning Environments in Rural and Tribal Schools in Montana

The American Lung Association received funding from the Environmental Protection Agency to help build capacity for sustainable, healthy learning environments in rural and tribal schools in Montana. Children can be exposed to environmental health risks such as wildfire smoke, asthma triggers, tobacco/vaping, radon exposure, and COVID-19. The overall goal is to reduce childhood exposures to environmental contaminants by increasing the number of schools establishing lung-friendly policies and practices.

The work is:

  • Locally led, individualized, and sustainable
  • Conducted in partnership with rural communities and sovereign tribal nations.
  • Offered through the Lung Association’s Lung Friendly Schools program and features free training, tools, and support

To do this vital work, the Lung Association will identify and engage key partners to share and discuss goals, as well as identify and recruit schools to participate in assessment, education, and training opportunities that meet their needs. These partnerships will help create unique Lung Friendly plans for each school.

Who should get involved? Everyone! We are here for the residents of Montana! To help guide this if you know someone who:

  • Might be willing to serve as partners to guide the project
  • Communities that might be interested in participating in this free capacity building opportunity!
  • With a school looking for resources to improve student lung health.

Connect with us!

  1. Liz Hall, Health Promotions Director: [email protected]
  2. Valerie Steinmetz, Health Promotions Manager: [email protected]

Program & Certifications for Schools

The American Lung Association’s Montana-specific training and practical application, providing Early Childhood Educators and organizations serving low-income parents with trained and resources about the harms and common misconceptions of environmental aerosol and smoke from commercial tobacco products. No cost to participate. Training benefits include:

  • Gaining knowledge and tools to talk with parents about the effects of secondhand smoke, secondhand e-cigarette aerosol, and secondhand marijuana smoke
  • Understanding the importance of maintaining a home free of commercial tobacco and marijuana smoke, and aerosol from electronic smoking devices
  • Encouraging “no smoking/no vaping” approach and practices in air shared with children and adults
  • Learning about commercial tobacco cessation available in Montana

INDEPTH is a convenient alternative to suspension or citation program that helps schools and communities address the teen vaping problem in a more supportive way. Instead of solely focusing on punitive measures, the INDEPTH program is an interactive program that teaches students about nicotine dependence, establishing healthy alternatives and how to kick the unhealthy addiction that got them in trouble in the first place. Certification is fee. Learn more!

N-O-T is designed with teenagers in mind and addresses issues that are specifically important to them. The program takes a holistic approach with each session using different interactive learning strategies based on Social Cognitive Theory of behavior change that can then be applied and practices in everyday life and encourages a voluntary change for youth ages 14-19. Certification is free to organization staff serving rural and tribal communities in Montana for a limited time. Learn more!

Online resource Not for Me Online is a self-guided, mobile-friendly online program that leverages the N-O-T program to help teens break nicotine dependency from commercial tobacco use, whether they vape, smoke, or use other commercial tobacco products.

Kickin' Asthma is an asthma self-management education program for kids ages 11-16 (grades 6-10) that empowers them through a fun and interactive approach to asthma self-management. Kickin’ Asthma includes different learning techniques suitable for teen-aged kids and highlights self-management practices, such as recognizing triggers and proper medication use. Certification is free to organization staff serving rural and tribal communities in Montana for a limited time.

Open Airways for Schools is an asthma management education and empowerment program for kids ages 8 -11 to help them learn how to better manage their own asthma. This program engages participants through fun and interactive approaches to asthma self-management, the program teaches children with asthma how to detect the warning signs of asthma, avoid their triggers and make decisions about their health. This is the first step to helping students be proactive in maintaining asthma under control, so they can live and play like kids do. Certification is free to organization staff serving rural and tribal communities in Montana for a limited time.

The Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative provides a framework and tools that communities and schools can use to work together on a comprehensive approach to asthma management, including planning tools, policy recommendations, and education programs. This includes step-by-step guidance that has tools, templates, and resources to keep students healthy, in school and ready to learn!

The Four Steps for Creating an Asthma-Friendly School Training is a series of short interactive modules designed to help schools and school districts create a safe and healthy learning environment for students with asthma. These modules will teach participants to:

  • Create an asthma management plan using the Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative Toolkit
  • Maximize school health services to support policies and practices for students with asthma
  • Educate school personnel, students, and families in asthma
  • Provide a healthy school environment
  • Manage physical education and activity for students with asthma

Participation is free. Start your training now!

Page last updated: December 2, 2022

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