Schools play a critical role in promoting the health and safety of students and helping them establish lifelong healthy behaviors. Research shows that school health programs can reduce the prevalence of health risk behaviors among young people and have a positive effect on academic performance. Tennessee leads the nation by providing a state-funded Coordinated School Health initiative in every school district. CSH is an effective approach designed to connect physical, emotional, and social health with learning; thus, improving children’s health and their capacity to learn through the support of families, communities and schools working together.
Eight components make up the CSH approach. These include: health education, health services, counseling, psychological and social services, nutrition, physical education and physical activity, school staff wellness, healthy school environment, and student, parent, and community involvement. The composite of all eight components allows Coordinated School Health to have a significant impact.
A Coordinated School Health Coordinator develops and sustains community/parent/students partnerships, strengthens school health policies, provides program evaluation, and engages in media relations and grant writing. In addition, the coordinator provides professional staff development based on the eight components of CSH.
Coordinated School Health encourages healthy lifestyles, provides needed support to at-risk students, and helps reduce the prevalence of health related problems that impair academic success. After all, research is clear; healthy students are better learners, better learners are more likely to graduate and graduates are more likely to become productive citizens.