How it Works


SWITCH empowers school leaders to integrate school wellness programming and engages children and their families in the process. Training is provided to an appointed SWITCH implementation team in the school. The "core team" is made up of a minimum of three leaders, who then work to promote the adoption and utilization of the program in their school. Schools are guided to assess their school needs and create a plan to implement SWITCH based on their schools' needs and readiness.

Curricular modules and resources are available for classroom, physical education and lunchroom settings to help facilitate wellness changes in schools. These modules are evidence-based and designed to be easy to implement and fun for students, but schools have the freedom to incorporate other resources and campaigns into their own SWITCH model. Schools are also provided with a content management system that helps them coordinate the programming and network with other schools implementing the program. Schools also have access to an interactive website that students use to track their efforts at changing their “do”, “view” and “chew” behaviors each week. The website allows kids (and parents) to track progress and efforts are reinforced by school leaders using their own creative ideas and strategies.

Schools interested in participating can contact the program team at Recruitment for the 2019-2020 school year will begin this spring. Contact Ann Torbert (ISU Extension and Outreach Youth Program Specialist) for information about getting connected to this pilot, or your local county Extension Office.

2019-2020 General Timeline for Implementation

August/ September 2019:

  • Core Teams meet with school administrators and wellness team to initiate plans for the school.
  • Core Team members set regular meetings to think about assets and needs with regard to school wellness.
    (Regular meeting times are important since it creates structure and facilitates regular interactions)
  • 4-H Partners provide support when needed to enrolled schools.

October 2019:

  • SWITCH Introductory Webinar – 1 hour
  • SWITCH School Wellness Conference – Oct 31 (Full day in Ames - details to follow.)

November 2019:

  • Core Teams receive guidance on initial steps and support from 4-H leaders (e.g. plan for kickoff / needs / roles)
  • Core Teams complete the School Wellness Environment Profile (SWEP) to assist in evaluating needs. 
  • 4-H Partners confirm presentation dates / kick-off event planning.

December 2019:

  • SWITCH Kickoff Webinar – 1 hour
  • Core Teams enroll students into the SWITCH software.
  • Core Teams guide students to complete online Youth Activity Profile (YAP) to assess behaviors (Do, View, Chew). 
  • Core Teams plan promotional strategies and inform students / parents about SWITCH (generate buzz).

January 2020 (Implementation begins mid-January)

  • Schools hold SWITCH ‘Kick Off’ Week and get parents and students excited about SWITCH.
  • 4-H Partners provide support and assistance to Core Teams.   

February / March / April 2020 (Implementation continues)

  • Core Teams run SWITCH programming
    • Promote school-wide engagement (use of posters / modules / website)
    • Facilitate students use of web-based tracking for logging of Do, View, Chew behaviors
    • Repeat SWEP assessment and Students repeat YAP assessment in final week
  • 4-H Partners provide support and assistance to Core Teams.   

May 2020 (Evaluation)

  • 4-H Partners summarize with evaluation and future plans.
  • Core Team members share success and complete program evaluation survey / call with SWITCH team.

Questions? Contact