Former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders to Address Issue of Children's Health and Learning at 21st Century Schools Conference

“Children’s Health and Learning: What Educators Need to Know” will be the topic addressed by former Surgeon General of the United States, Joycelyn Elders and a group of teachers, principals, program directors and policy makers at a Yale University-sponsored conference on July 10 at noon.

Elders, who focuses on increasing childhood immunizations, reducing teen pregnancy, and stopping youth smoking, will share ideas on enhancing the physical and mental health of children.

Elder’s speech is part of the 12th annual conference of the School of the 21st Century (21C) initiative. The conference, titled “Partners for Success: Linking Communities, Families and Schools,” will be held July 9-11, at the Omni-New Haven Hotel.

The 21C program, also known as Family Resource Centers in some communities, transforms schools into multi-service centers offering guidance and support for parents; all day, year-round preschool; before and after school and vacation care for school-age children; health education and services; training for child care providers; and information and referral services for families.

Edward Zigler, one of the principal architects of the federal Head Start program, founder of the 21C initiative, and Sterling Professor of Psychology at Yale, said, “Recognizing the clear connection between health and learning, 21C schools are addressing the issue of student achievement holistically. 21C is truly making a difference for children and families across the country.”

At the conference, Zigler will discuss the growing trend toward providing universal pre-kindergarten in American school systems.

Other speakers include: Yale Psychology Professor, Kelly Brownell, an expert on eating disorders, obesity and body weight regulation, and director of the Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders, who will discuss the role schools can play in promoting nutrition; and Joyce Epstein, director of the Center on School, Family and Community Partnerships at Johns Hopkins University, who will discuss the importance of parent involvement in schools.

Since 1988, more than 1,300 schools in 20 states have implemented the School of the 21st Century program. The model has proven successful in urban, rural and suburban settings as well as in affluent, middle class and poor communities.

For more information about the conference, please call Jennifer Heath at 203-432-9944.

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Karen N. Peart:, 203-432-1326