|What Is a Coordinated School Health Program (CSHP)?
Why Do Schools and Communities Need CSHPs?
What Key Strategies Should Guide Your
Frequently Asked Questions About
||This section provides an
introduction to the basics of coordinated school health programs (CSHPs), including a
summary of their components, a rationale
for their importance, and an overview of the steps required to
establish these programs in your schools and communities.
Health is not just the absence of disease it is
complete physical, mental, and social well-being. A school health program that effectively
addresses students health, and thus improves their ability to learn, consists of
many different components. Each component makes a unique contribution while also
complementing the others, ultimately creating a whole that is more than just the sum of
its parts. CSHPs traditionally include eight components:
- Family and community involvement in school health: Partnerships among schools,
families, community groups, and individuals. Designed to maximize resources and expertise
in addressing the healthy development of children, youth, and their families.
- Comprehensive school health education: Classroom instruction that addresses the
physical, mental, emotional, and social dimensions of health; promotes knowledge,
attitudes, and skills; and is tailored to each age/developmental level. Designed to
motivate and assist students in maintaining and improving their health and to reduce their
- Physical education: Planned, sequential instruction that promotes lifelong
physical activity. Designed to develop basic movement skills, sports skills, and physical
fitness as well as to enhance mental, social, and emotional abilities.
- School health services: Preventive services, education, emergency care, referral,
and management of acute and chronic health conditions. Designed to promote the health of
students, identify and prevent health problems and injuries, and ensure appropriate care
- School nutrition services: Integration of nutritious, affordable, and appealing
meals; nutrition education; and an environment that promotes healthy eating habits for all
children. Designed to maximize each childs education and health potential for a
- Counseling, psychological, and social services: Activities that focus on
cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and social needs of individuals, groups, and families.
Designed to prevent and address problems, facilitate positive learning and healthy
behavior, and enhance healthy development.
- Healthy school environment: The physical, emotional, and social climate of the
school. Designed to provide both a safe physical plant and a healthy and supportive
environment that fosters learning.
- Health promotion for school personnel: Assessment, education, and fitness
activities for school faculty and staff. Designed to maintain and improve the health and
well-being of school staff who serve as role models for the students.
These components encompass a
school's instruction, services, and physical and social environments. Leadership,
partnerships, and coordination serve as the "glue" that holds the different
pieces together to form a coherent whole. Because individuals, institutions, needs, and
resources differ from community to community, no two CSHPs are expected to look exactly
alike. Each new setting will bring together a unique group of people and agencies to
determine the specific needs facing young people in their schools and build on the many
resources that are already in place to support positive youth development.
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Six behaviors account for most of the serious illnesses and
premature deaths in the United States:
- Tobacco use
- Abuse of alcohol and other drugs
- Poor eating habits
- Physical inactivity
- Behaviors that result in intentional
and unintentional injury
- Sexual behaviors that result in HIV
infection, other sexually transmitted diseases, or unintended pregnancy
All of these are preventable, as are
a vast array of associated social, emotional, and physical ailments. When schools,
families, and the broader community work together to support positive youth development,
risk behaviors are reduced and students health and academic achievement are
promoted. CSHPs provide a framework for creating essential linkages among diverse
individuals and activities, within and beyond school walls, to improve youth outcomes.
Read on to learn
more about the consequences and outcomes associated with the following:
compromise emotional well-being, physical health, peer and familial relationships, and
performance in school:
Health and learning are
School-based efforts to
promote student health have demonstrated success:
partnerships improve outcomes for all involved:
Young people today confront numerous challenges to their
social, emotional, and physical well-being. Together with families and the overall
community, schools are responsible for reducing obstacles to health and learning and for
promoting positive development and achievement among students. Schools are, in fact, very
well situated to serve as a hub for risk prevention and health promotion activities.
Approximately 95 percent of the 50 million young people in the United States attend
elementary, middle, or secondary schools, which represent the largest recipient of public
spending for children and adolescents (Hawkins, Catalano, & Associates, 1992; Perry,
Most schools have some programs and services in place to
address student health, but few have integrated or coordinated these typically discrete
elements into an intentionally cohesive and coherent whole. More often, their efforts look
something like this:
A coordinated approach to school
health makes order from energy-draining disorder. It provides the "glue"
necessary to organize diverse components in the areas of curriculum, services, and the
environment so that they work together in a systematic way to improve health and academic
outcomes for students.
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Strategies Should Guide Your Approach?
In the previous section, you saw an image of an
uncoordinated system in which fragmented programs and services branched off from the
school. Each is intended to support and assist young people; however, in the absence of
institutional coherence and collaboration, these health promotion efforts are likely to be
more time-consuming and less effective than they would be in a more coordinated
This section expresses the value of coordination,
partnerships, and leadership as broad and ongoing strategies that are essential to the
development and functioning of a CSHP. It also provides an overview of more specific
action steps associated with each of the eight components.
Read on to learn more about:
Coordination involves the organization of multiple elements
such as the educational program, education-related services, and the school
environment into an integrated and harmonious operation. It is the "glue"
that connects diverse initiatives designed to reduce risk and promote health and
achievement, and it will facilitate the creation of a school-community system that truly
supports students and their families.
One way to promote coordination among health promotion
activities, health and education programs, and community initiatives is to appoint a
professional at the school or district level who is responsible for accomplishing these
objectives (American Cancer Society, Inc., 1999a). This coordinator
should provide leadership for the school health team in a variety of areas:
- Fiscal management
- Resource identification
An additional strategy for improving coordination is
through the creation of a school or district health council. This is advisory group,
comprised of individuals who represent key segments of the school and community, supports
the coordinator in executing the activities listed above (American Cancer
Partnerships are relationships between two or more people
or groups in which members contribute their distinctive assets to the resolution of
problems and the advancement of shared interests. The best partnerships are mutually
beneficial and often lead to outcomes that members could not have achieved alone. They are
structured to connect individuals not just their groups or institutions and
built to last. School-community partnerships involve relationships between elementary,
middle, or secondary schools and the range of community initiatives and systems that
promote the well-being of youth. These include families, social services, government
agencies, law enforcement, religious groups, universities, colleges, media, and local
businesses. School-community partnerships build on the strengths of both the school and
community, foster the exchange of expertise and resources, promote shared accountability
for results, and ensure that progress is made toward the goal of creating an effective
The aforementioned advisory group is one school-community
partnership that is essential for CSHP development and implementation. This type of
partnership has an inclusive and broad-based membership, a strong core of committed
partners with concrete roles and responsibilities, a clear vision, and a mission to advise
the school on how to improve school health. Another type of school-community partnership
is the coalition. Similar to an advisory group in membership, it may take on multiple
specific projects to stimulate change both inside and outside the school.
To create an effective CSHP, or to even get schools and
communities to consider the idea, it is essential that stakeholders in key positions
provide public and consistent support. Such leaders are persons with stature in the
executive branch of state government, in the legislature or judiciary, in prominent
statewide and community-based organizations, in the business and civic communities, and in
school systems. These individuals are capable of commanding attention, making decisions,
recruiting others, and providing access to valuable resources. Effective leadership
increases the likelihood that a CSHP initiative will gain broad-based support and
successfully navigate the challenging path toward implementation.
for All and Action Steps
A successful CSHP requires the
commitment and participation of diverse individuals, groups, and institutions, each taking
on multiple, yet specific, roles and responsibilities. For ideas about roles that each
participant can carry,
There are also specific action steps associated with each
of the eight CSHP components:
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