A (Brief) Primer on Effective Planning for Student Wellness

We talk a lot about the virtues of good planning here at EverFi. Indeed, it is a hallmark of doing effective work—of any kind. This month, you’re likely writing up your end-of-year reports and starting to consider the year ahead. It seems timely for a reminder of the importance of planning and the availability of tools and resources to support this important aspect of your efforts. The first part of any good planning process will be a situational assessment. What are the needs and strengths of your students, and how can they be better supported? These answers may come from your most recent NCHA II or Core survey data, or perhaps AlcoholEdu and/or Haven. You might also look to service utilization reports in order to determine where and how students are accessing your services, and how and whether you are meeting their needs. This phase of planning should also consider what resources and assets are available in order to establish goals that are realistic.

This formative analysis should also consider the broader campus environment and your surrounding community. What are the threats or challenges posed to students making safe and healthy choices? How might you influence the environment so that healthy and safe choices are easier? The research base must inform this part of the thought process. If there is no research base, then the thought process should be informed, at the very least, by behavioral change theory. Environmental changes may include reducing low-priced drink specials in your community, providing more alcohol-free opportunities on campus, expanding access to recreational facilities, or promoting healthy norms regarding sexual activity, consent, or bystander intervention.

Goal setting is best supported using a logic model, where you can map out the impact of your proposed activities into short-term outputs, medium-term outcomes, and eventually long-term impact. A logic model will force you to check assumptions and can help identify gaps in your thinking or efforts that might lead to failure. It also helps identify evaluation measures, which, once collected, will enable you to determine where you were successful, and where along the process things may have fallen short. As you set about articulating objectives in order to reach your goals, a useful tool to follow is the SMART method, which supports creating reasonable, concrete goals and objectives that are amenable to evaluation and improvement. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely or Time-bound. There are several web-based SMART goal-planning tools and guides you might call upon; here and here are just two examples.

Once you have identified what must be done to reach your mission or overarching goal, you can begin to lay out an action plan of what will be done, when, and by whom. It will also help clarify the partners you will likely need to engage, and resources you will need to call upon in order to effect the change you are seeking. While this is an oversimplification of the planning process, thinking through these steps will greatly enhance the success of your campus health and safety efforts. One fantastic compendium of resources to call upon for planning and building healthy communities is the Community Tool Box. This resource contains a host of toolkits, information, and guidance to drive social change in support of healthy communities. The Healthy Campus 2020 MAP-IT model may also prove useful as you engage in this process. Congrats on wrapping up another academic year, and best of luck as you engage this process in planning for the year to come!

April Student of the Month Winners

April is an especially busy time of year for teachers and students as they work to earn their certifications during Financial Literacy Month. To recognize the achievement of students across North America, we selected four winners for our Student of the Month contest.  These students shared inspiring stories about the impact EverFi’s financial literacy courses have had on them.

Damien C.
Hoover High School, AL
Mrs. Moncus’ class

The EverFi Financial Literacy course has helped me understand how to pay bills and has given me confidence that I can handle stressful and tedious decisions now and as an adult. Along with providing valuable information, it it inspired me to pull things from the lesson and put them into reality. Topics such as paying bills, savings, and credit are all important financial lessons. EverFi has really played a big role in my spending habits and how I live my life, as well as help me understand the reasons why I want to invest in college or a house at some point. EverFi lessons are a great way to teach students such as myself how to prepare for the real world, and I thank this course for giving me the confidence to succeed.From now on I will not be avoiding finance classes, I will be signing up for more classes that will prepare me for real life, thanks to the knowledge I gained from going through EverFi. Thanks to EverFi I do not need to rely on my parents to make financial choices for me, I have the skills to make my own financial decisions. It is a great thing to be able to understand how to save up for college and plan for the future.

Nolan G.
SCAPA Bluegrass, KY
Mr. Onkst’s class

This program has helped me understand money, it impacts, risks, how to save it and much more. I recently had a birthday and many friends and family gave me money, and because of the Vault – Understanding Money program, I know to spend some and save some and how to make wise financial decisions. It has really helped me understand how important money is to my daily life.

I hope to go to a good college so I can pursue a career in teaching. I learned from Vault that I can start saving money for college now! I can open a savings account or a bank account to keep my money safe and to make sure I don’t spend it. I really would like to talk to a trusted adult about opening a savings account with good interest rates, so that my money will increase in value.

In the past, I made the mistake of spending all of my money at one store on stuff I wanted. I was going shopping and ended up going to another store and found some things I really needed, but I didn’t have any more money to spend. If I could change my actions I would have spent a little money at the first store, a little at the second and I would have saved some of the money.

I am so happy that I learned all about understanding money so I can make wise decisions with my money.

Thank you Vault!

Natalie G
Staunton High School, IL
Mr. Moore’s class

EverFi has helped me learn how to start saving money early in life. Only buying things that you need can help you achieve many of your financial goals. I learned about the differences between wants and needs, and not to spend an excessive amount of money on wants, and to save for what you need. My behavior has changed because I realized that at a younger age, I don’t need all the best things in life, but to save my money for later in life when I need it.

I also learned about the differences between credit and debit cards. If I want to save more money, debit cards are the way to go because you can only spend the amount of money that you have on the card at that time. Even though having a credit history is good to have, so you are able to get loans and show your ability to pay bills, you have to be careful not to overspend with credit cards.

My future goals are to graduate high school, go to college to study and hope to pursue my dream job of being an architect. The EverFi course has helped me realize when to rent an apartment, like in college, and when to look into buying a house, like when I am starting a family and have a good steady job.

I have also learned from EverFi that some people in my life have made mistakes with some of their financial decisions.  People don’t always have to have the nicest cars and the best houses if they can’t afford it. Saving your money and just buying a car or house to get the job done could save you hundreds of thousands of dollars throughout the years. That is a lesson learned for me because going through life I will make sure that I don’t buy something nice or expensive just to show off, but make sure that I have all the money to pay for it.

Jamey T
Plymouth High, NC
Ms. Harris’ class

As a 17-year-old high school student who is about to graduate and step into the “real world”, I have deeply enjoyed the educational benefits of this financial literacy course. Growing up, whenever I received any money, I spent it. This is a mistake I have made that I wish I could go back and fix. Now, I have no money saved up at all, which is going to make it that much more difficult for me to pay for things like college, a car, and an apartment. Had I known then what I know now from taking this course, I would have taken the money I received on holidays and birthdays and put it in the bank so that I can gain interest and have a good amount saved up by the time I needed it. Sadly, the past cannot be changed, however, this course has given me the guidance I need to start saving my money and use it in a smart way. Thank you so much for making this course available for the use of people like me.