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How do we become a CPR Smart School?

You've asked...and we're answering!  Everyone is buzzing about how to receive AHA's CPR Smart School designation in New York.  It's easy...a district just needs to implement a written policy that calls for students to learn CPR (yup, that includes performing compressions) and about AEDs.  The policy must ensure all students learn this lifesaving skill prior to graduation.  School districts can decide the grade level and class that works best for them.  It's that simple.

Do you want to apply to become a CPR Smart School?  Simply email for more information and an application.

Here's to everyone becoming CPR Smart!

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A Great Week for CPR in Schools!

This week, the State Education Department (SED) issued the highly anticipated CPR in Schools Report to the Board of Regents.  Following the presentation, the Regents openly discussed including CPR and AED instruction in the curriculum.  And the support from the Board of Regents was overwhelming!  Members noted the costs are likely lower than presented in the SED report. Other comments included:

 “Yes, great thing to do..”

“…Wholeheartedly support”

“This is something that can save lives.”

“…who wouldn’t support this”

“To save one life warrants the expense.”

 Board members were clearly moved by the outreach from all of you!  This included the action alerts, letters and media advocacy!

Today, the report was on the agenda as a discussion item.  Following the recommendations from today’s meeting, the next step is to make it “official” thru regulations. 

  • SED staff has been directed to develop regulations to present to the Board of Regents for next month’s meeting.
  • The regulations will then be published for public comment (as required by law for regulations).
  • Following the public comment period, the Board of Regents can officially adopt the regulations on CPR/AEDs in Schools.

Thanks to everyone for staying with us thru this long journey!  We will continue to send letters to thank the Regents for their support and commitment until the regulations are formally adopted.  And we hope many of you will join us at the State Education Building for the final vote!

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Congratulations to Shenendehowa on becoming the Capital Region's first CPR Smart School District!

Nine out of 10 victims of sudden cardiac arrest die. If you live in the Shenendehowa Central School District, your chances of surviving sudden cardiac arrest might be higher than average, since students in that district all learn Hands-Only CPR before graduation. Teaching CPR is part of the district’s formal policy. The American Heart Association has recognized Shenendehowa as the first school district in the Capital Region as a CPR Smart School. Shen students clicked to the beat on Stayin' Alive to show just how easy it is to perform Hands-Only CPR. 

 “It’s our great pleasure to recognize Shenendehowa as a CPR Smart School,” said Bob Elling, paramedic and chair of the New York State Advocacy Committee of the American Heart Association. “We know that having CPR performed doubles or triples the chances of survival for victims of sudden cardiac arrest. On Monday, members of the New York State Board of Regents expressed support for CPR in Schools, and are now calling for regulations so that all New York students learn Hands-Only CPR before graduation. Shenendehowa has shown great foresight – and concern for its citizens – by creating an army of lifesavers in this district before law requires it.”

 To qualify for the American Heart Association’s CPR Smart program, school districts must implement a written policy whereby students learn CPR and AED use prior to graduation. 

Sudden cardiac arrest survivor Jeff Keene also shared his story of being saved by CPR.  And his wife also shared what it was like to watch.  “On Christmas day, 2007, while at church, my husband went into cardiac arrest.  Within minutes, he could have died,” said Julie Keene, who works for the Shenendehowa Central School District.  “Because one person, a complete stranger, had the courage and knowledge to begin CPR on him, he is alive and thriving today.”

 “As a district, we have a firm commitment to providing our students with a wide variety of experiences and skills,” said Dr. Oliver Robinson, superintendent of Shenendehowa Central School District. “The ability for them to save a life by learning CPR is of tremendous value. We applaud the efforts of the American Heart Association to make this a given component of the school curriculum.”

 "Clifton Park & Halfmoon Emergency Corps is proud to partner with the Shenendehowa School District in providing CPR and AED training to its staff, which will strengthen Shenendehowa's solid commitment to their student and staff safety,” said Eric Hanchett of Clifton Park Halfmoon EMS, who has worked with Shen staff on training students in Hands-Only CPR. “By translating our real life experience and expertise, we can offer simplified, Hands-Only CPR & AED training, creating empowered students who will be ready and confident to take life-saving action when needed. We are excited about this collaboration and the potential we have to build a safer community together."

 The student were led by their Health Education teacher, Pam Woloszyn. 

“As a health educator, we have a responsibility to not only teach students the skills to perform CPR, but first and foremost to make them feel empowered to step in and ACT!” said Pamela Woloszyn. “Hands-Only CPR truly gives everyone the opportunity to save a life and that’s what I try to inspire students to do.  Through empowerment and inspiration comes engagement and the students feel they truly can make a difference and help others in a time of crisis.”

 “The district has provided education in CPR and AED for over 15 years,” said Rebecca Carman, director of policy and community development for the Shenendehowa Central School District. “This is a program that has little cost to the district. CPR is a life skill that every student should be exposed to.”

Thanks to all the students, board members, teachers, school administrators and Dr. Robinson for supporting this lifesaving lesson!

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Carla Leonard Has a Second Chance...

Thanks to Louis' Law, Carla Leonard is alive and can watch her daughter grow.

As a school crisis intervention aid, Carla  had grown to hate one part of her morning routine: bumping her head on the AED situated right near her desk.   Ironically, CPR and that AED saved her life.  She was 43 when she went into sudden cardiac arrest during the morning pledge.  The school nurse quickly started CPR and used the AED.  This gave Carla  a fighting chance at survival until EMTs arrived.

Carla knows she is one of the lucky ones.   About 90% of sudden cardiac arrest victims do NOT survive.  As a survivor, Carla is now doing everything she can to help change this grim statistic.  New York put safety put by requiring schools to have AEDs.    Now, Carla has personally contacted each member of the Board of Regents to urge them to take the next step -  to require CPR and AED instruction for students.

We're getting closer...will you join Carla by contacting the Board of Regents today? 

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Countdown to CPR in Schools Report

The countdown has begun...The NYS Department of Education is required to issue a report to the NYS Board of Regents by April 19th.  Many of you have taken actions to help get us where we are - we've reached out to lawmakers, the Governor; we've tweeted and posted on Facebook; we've shared our stories with friends, family and the media; we've called, emailed and written letters...and we're in the final stretch.  We know CPR in Schools will save lives and that is why we keep sending messages to the Board of Regents.  One person that has bravely shared her story is Katarina Weigel. 

On July 15th, 2010, Katarina was at her high school volleyball practice.  She doesn't know what happened next but the people around her remember.  She went into sudden cardiac arrest.  Her coaches performed CPR and used the automatic external defibrillator. She doesn't  look like the face of sudden cardiac arrest.  She was just 15.  Since that time she has learned that sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, anytime. The faces of sudden cardiac arrest will surprise you.  

Now she has educated her high school about the importance of CPR, shared her story with elementary school children and adults, used social media to push for CPR in schools an attended numerous events explaining how easy CPR can be learned and preformed. 

And this week...she reached out to each and every member of the Board of Regents to tell them to say YES to CPR in Schools.

If you want to help NYS become the 22nd state to have CPR training in our schools, please email Julianne Hart at


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New York City Leaders Support Healthy Food & Healthy Communities Fund

On a cold, drizzly spring afternoon, city leaders joined advocates on the steps of City Hall to rally for the state to replenish the fund that helps to address food deserts in New York.  The weather wasn't going to stop us!  Thanks to Council Members Crowley and Levin, and advocates from The Food Trust, Make the Road New York, City Harvest and of course the American Heart Association, the elected leaders in Albany heard us loud and clear!  The state must invest wisely and support healthy food access.

The Healthy Food & Healthy Communities Fund was established 3 years ago with a $10 million investment by the state.  Those dollars were immediately leveraged to create an approximately $30 million pot of funding for prospective business owners to build new markets in the neighborhoods that need it most.  Thanks to this fund, more than 15 projects have been approved, bringing healthier food to all New Yorkers.  To learn more about our rally in NYC in support of the Healthy Food & Healthy Communities Fund, click here:

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Roosevelt Island Supports Community CPR Training!

Thanks to advocates Lynne Strong-Shinozaki, Sharon Williams and a great group of volunteers, Roosevelt Island is quickly becoming the safest place to be if you suffer a cardiac arrest!  Lynne and Sharon have helped implement a community training program that prepares New Yorkers to use hands-only CPR and an automated external defibrillator (AED) in the case that someone's heart stops beating.  More than 300 people have been trained in these life-saving skills as a result of their efforts! 

To learn more information, or to find out about future training dates, visit this link:

We hope that the high school on Roosevelt Island soon starts to train students as well so they can be designated CPR Smart like Port Richmond High School was last week.  If Lynne and Sharon have their way, everyone in this vibrant slice of Manhattan will soon be prepared to help save a life! 

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Thank you, Council Member Crowley!

Following up on the recent introduction of our PE Reporting bill in New York City, Council Member Crowley took to the TV to help advocate for her proposal.  Check out the link here:

Thank you, Council Member Crowley, for sharing our message and promoting the need for improved physical education in NYC!

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Kids can't eat healthy foods if they don't have a healthy choice…

Did you know low-income neighborhoods have 50 percent fewer supermarkets than the wealthiest neighborhoods? 

For millions of people around the country—many of them kids—the fast choice is the only choice when it comes to food.  But things don’t have to be this way.  Healthy food financing initiatives can help...and everyone should have easy access to the fresh, healthy food our bodies need to stay well. 

In New York State, six out of ten adults are considered overweight or obese.  That’s 8.5 million New Yorkers that are struggling!  The state's Healthy Food and Healthy Communities Fund can help communities across New York by providing the funding needed to create supermarkets and mobile markets. 

Providing healthy food, creating jobs and revitalizing the that sounds like a win for kids and families!

You can help bring healthy food to communities across New York, create jobs and revitalize NY’s economy too—by speaking out in support of  the state's Healthy Food and Healthy Communities Fund. 

Let's help give kids and families a healthy choice.


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