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Sun Smart Schools

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The earlier we teach healthy sun habits, the healthier our kids will be.

The goal of Sun Smart Schools is to establish healthy sun safety habits in children and teens from a young age to prevent skin cancer during adolescence and adulthood. Just one blistering sunburn during childhood can double a person’s risk of developing skin cancer later in life, so it’s important to establish sun smart habits during childhood and adolescence. Nevada Senate Bill 159, which became law July 1, 2019, requires all public and private schools to implement sun safety policy and to allow students to possess and self-administer sunscreen in schools settings. SB 159 specifies that sunscreen must not be considered an over-the-counter medication. The majority of sun exposure in a person’s lifetime happens before age 20, and as children spend most of their time at school, this is an ideal setting for practicing sun smart behaviors.

Sun Smart Schools Annual Report



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Sun Smart Schools launched its pilot program during the 2015-2016 school year in seven schools across Nevada. In the 2016-2017 the program grew to include the entire Douglas County school district. By the end of the 2018-2019 school year the program grew to include 64 schools reaching more than 23,000 students! Sun Smart Schools has been recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a success story, and has been spotlighted four times on the national stage.

Current Sun Smart Schools
  • Clark County
    • 4 schools, including a private pre-K - 12, and public and charter schools 
  • Douglas County
    • 13 pre-K/elementary, middle, and high schools
  • Elko County
    • ​9 elementary, middle and high schools
  • Humboldt County
    • 11 pre-K/elementary, middle, and high schools
  • Lander County
    • ​​​4 schools -  1 elementary, 1 middle, 1 high school, 1 rural​
  • Lincoln County 
    • 8 schools – 4 elementary, 2 middle, 2 high schools
  • Lyon County
    • 7 pre-K/elementary, middle, and high schools
  • Storey County
    • ​4 pre-K/elementary, middle, and high schools
  • Washoe County
    • 15 pre-K/elementary, middle, and high schools


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Sun Smart Schools Curriculum

  • Free
  • Evidence-Based
  • Easy to Use and Teach
  • Meets Common Core Requirements

Ray and the Sunbeatables ® : A Sun Safety Curriculum for Preschoolers and K-1

Developed by The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and distributed by CATCH Global Foundation, the Sunbeatables program features five superhero characters to teach and engage children about sun safety. The preschool program includes 5 units with 20 activities. Preschool curriculum activities are aligned with the content learning areas of creative arts, language development/literacy, science, mathematics and social studies adapted from The Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework. The K-1 curriculum includes 10 lessons. Lessons align with the standards set by the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

Access the Sunbeatables Program here.

Be Sunbeatable™, Grades 2 - 5

Teaching children about sun safety can have a long-term and positive impact on their health. This sun safety program from Scholastic and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center will help encourage students and families to be sun safe every day and everywhere.

Access Be Sunbeatable here.

SunAWARE For Life Program, Grades K - 12

Trained foundation educators provide a fun, informative and interactive program customized to the individual needs of the school, organization, or venue. The five easy action steps incorporated into the SunAWARE acronym are interwoven into all lessons. 

Access SunAWARE Program Here

SunWise, Grades K - 8

Launched in 2000 by the EPA, SunWise is currently used at 40,000 schools and educational organizations nationwide. It's the most widely-used health and environmental education program for sun safety with demonstrated success in raising awareness and changing behaviors. Materials facilitate cross-curricular learning about sun safety, UV radiation, and ozone science.

Register for K-8 SunWise Resources

Sun Smart U, Grades 7-12

Developed by the Skin Cancer Foundation, Sun Smart U is consistent with the CDC’s National Health Education Standards for middle and high school students. The interactive lesson plan features true stories from young skin cancer survivors, medically reviewed Prevention Guidelines, handouts and activities, and can be taught in one or two class periods.

Register for 7-12 Sun Smart U Resources

Melanoma Education Foundation, Grades 7-12

Lessons and tools from Melanoma Education Foundation are great for health educators to inform students about the dangers and realities of melanoma and the importance of early detection. Materials include lesson plans, videos, and classroom tools, all available for free. 

Register for Melanoma Education Foundation Resources

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Sun Smart Schools Policy

Nevada Senate Bill 159 requires all schools to adopt written policy concerning safe exposure to the sun. Policy must provide that 1) Sunscreen is not to be considered an over-the-couner medication; 2) pupils engaging in school-sponsored outdoor activities may wear protective clothing, such as a hat (that complies with a school dress code); 3) pupils may possess and self-administer sunscreen; and 4) authories policy that includes teaching practices for safe sun exposure to reduce the risk of skin cancer. 

Download a sample policy.

Download an implementation checklist to help you prepare, Updated August 2019

Effective school sun safety policies include:

  • Promotion of sunscreen use
  • Approval of sun protective clothing on campus
  • Access to shade
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Interested in Becoming a Sun Smart School?

We invite pre-k, elementary, middle, and high schools throughout Nevada to participate in Sun Smart Schools. We are happy to work at the school or district level, and with private or charter schools. Contact program manager Christine Thompson for more information.

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School and Educator Resources

Principal & Teacher Toolkit

Resource Toolkitupdated August 2019
Sample School Sun Safety Policyupdated August 2019
Implementation Checklist, updated August 2019
Introduction Power Pointupdated February 2020
Cover Letter for Parents, updated August 2019
Hybrid Sunscreen Ingredient Label
How to Clear Sunscreen Dispenser Lines

School Nurses
NEW!! - Project ECHO

Skin Cancer: Prevention, Screening, and Follow-Up

Additional Materials:
Sample School Sun Safety Policy
EPA SunWise UV Index: Mobile app or website widget
Sun Smart Nevada 5's of Sun Safety Poster
Sun Smart Nevada Sun Safety Infographic
Sun Smart School Overhead Announcements

Sun Smart Schools High School Presentation by NCC Intern Bria Hosier, a melanoma survivor
Sun Smart Schools Elementary / Middle School Presentation by NCC Intern Bria Hosier, a melanoma survivor

Automatic Sunscreen Dispenser - Turning it On
Automatic Sunscreen Dispenser - Replacing the Sunscreen Bag

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Order a Sunscreen Dispenser or Refill Pouches

Automatic sunscreen dispensers and sunscreen refill pouches are available for purchase from BrightGuard through NCC, and a portion of each sale benefits NCC and the Sun Smart Schools program.

All billing and shipping is direct to you from BrightGuard, however by ordering here NCC will benefit from your purchase. Pricing is as follows:

  • Automatic sunscreen dispenser (mounts to wall or portable stand, inlcudes 4 D batteries): $70
  • Portable stand: $100
  • 1 case hybrid sunscreen for Nevada schools: $180
  • *Dispenser releases 1 ml of sunscreen per dose. Each case of sunscreen includes 4-1,000 ml pouches.

For information on sunscreen and ingredients, please visit the BrightGuard website.

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Request a Speaker or Presentation

Sun Smart Schools can coordinate a speaker or presentation for your classroom or school assembly. Our 5 S’s assemblies are ideal for pre-K and elementary school students, and can be scaled for classroom or all-school assemblies. Additional guest speakers include meteorologists and scientists, melanoma survivors, and more. Let us know what type of opportunity you’re looking for and we’ll tailor a presentation to meet your needs.

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Replacing the Sunscreen Pouch