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Healthy School Environments

Implementing Coordinated School Health

How States Can Implement a Coordinated School Health Strategy

Monitor and assess the effectiveness of school health policies and programs in promoting healthy behaviors and reducing risky ones (e.g., CDC's School Health Profiles survey).

Build an infrastructure within the lead agency that supports personnel and organizational involvement, authorization and funding, technical assistance and resources, and communication.

Build partnerships among state level government agencies and NGOs to coordinate efforts and maximize resources (e.g., establish a state school health coordinating council).

Establish policies to help schools implement and coordinate their school health efforts (e.g., provide model policies to local school districts and develop curriculum standards to guide instruction and content).

Establish a technical assistance and resource plan to support school districts in their Coordinated School Health efforts (e.g., establish criteria to help school districts develop, assess, and select health curricula; identify resources for developing school health policies and for assessing and planning school health programs; and identify national standards and guidelines for Coordinated School Health components and disseminate to school districts).

Communicate the roles and benefits of a Coordinated School Health strategy to key audiences.

Develop a professional development plan for school officials and others responsible for implementing a Coordinated School Health strategy and school health initiatives.

Establish a system for evaluation to improve state and local school health policies and programs (e.g., develop procedures for measuring program goals, objectives, and implementation plans to assess the development and implementation of health-related education policies).

For more information, visit CDC's website on Coordinated School Health.

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How Schools and School Districts Can Implement a Coordinated School Health Strategy

Secure and maintain administrative support and commitment. School administrators can provide support by incorporating health in the school's or school district's vision and mission statements; appointing someone to oversee school health; allocating resources; and communicating the importance of wellness to students, school staff, and parents.

Establish a school health council or team. District school health councils include at least one representative from each Coordinated School Health component, and school administrators, parents, students, and community representatives involved in the health and well-being of students. School health teams include a site administrator, an identified school health leader, teachers and other staff representing the Coordinated School Health components, parents, students, and community representatives (when appropriate).

Identify a school health coordinator. The school health coordinator helps maintain active school health councils; facilitates health programming; organizes activities addressing the Coordinated School Health components; and facilitates actions to achieve a successful, coordinated school health system (e.g., policies, programs, activities, and resources).

Develop a plan. The plan should present a strategy for achieving health promotion goals and fit into a school's overall improvement plan to link health with learning outcomes.

Implement multiple strategies through multiple components. Each Coordinated School Health component employs a unique set of strategies, including classroom instruction, policies and procedures, environmental change, health, counseling and nutrition services, parent and community involvement, and social support. No single strategy or single component, however, will achieve all the desired health outcomes for all students. Implementing all components is necessary so every strategy can be used to address health behaviors and improve student learning.

Focus on students. The focus of a Coordinated School Health strategy should be on meeting the education and health needs of students, and providing opportunities for students to be meaningfully involved in the school and the community.

Address priority health-enhancing and health-risk behaviors. Schools can implement policies and programs to help students avoid or reduce health-risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death and disability among young people as well as among adults.

Provide professional development for staff. Professional development provides opportunities for school employees to identify areas for improvement, learn about and use proven practices, solve problems, develop skills, and reflect on and practice new strategies.

For more information, visit CDC's website on Coordinated School Health.

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