School Health Services Best Practices
School health services — whether led by a nurse or approached as a school-based health center — help students assess their health, manage chronic illness, administer medication and provide health counseling. The payoff can be huge in terms of academic achievement. Better management of chronic illness, for example, increases attendance. And improved attendance increases the chances of academic success.
How does your district measure up?
- Every school in our district provides health services by a licensed school nurse or a trained health services employee who is supervised by a school nurse. We maintain a school nurse-to-student ratio of one nurse per 750 students.
- Our students are routinely screened and referrals made for medical needs including vision, hearing, weight and dental problems as well as lack of health insurance.
- The health status of students with chronic illness (such as diabetes, asthma, allergies and seizures) is monitored routinely, and health care/emergency plans for these students are written by the school nurse.
- Student attendance records are monitored routinely to identify absences related to health concerns.
- Our schools have adequate health facilities including a sink with hot running water, a handicapped accessible restroom, a cot, a computer, a locked file cabinet and a secure medication cabinet.
- Our district has considered participating in the Medicaid School Health Services Program, and if we decide to participate, we will strategically spend reimbursed Medicaid dollars on sustaining long term school health efforts. View our webinar, Untapped Revenue Source – Is Your District Participating?.
- Our school ensures access to on site school social workers and psychologists who have adequate time in the building to meet the needs of individual students, but also to deliver school wide evidence-based programs that improve safety, social and emotional health and positive behaviors for all students.
- Ensure schools have a designated faculty member or administrative personnel responsible for coordinating school health and safety programs and activities.
- Collect confidential student and school health indicator data at least once every two years. Consider that data carefully when determining strategic plan objectives and activities.
- Start or get new ideas for how to improve school-based Medicaid and CHP+ outreach to students. The Covering Kids and Families School-Based Enrollment Toolkit includes a step-by-step guide to help schools get started, a frequently asked questions document, a sample memorandum of understanding between a school district and an eligibility site, and contact information for schools already doing this work.
- Consider using free and reduced-price meal data to conduct outreach and enrollment services to students who may be eligible but are not enrolled in public health insurance programs.
- Ensure all schools have a school health team that helps plan and implement school health programs, with suggested representation from the following stakeholders:
- School principal
- Health education teachers
- Physical education teachers
- Mental health or social services staff
- Nutrition or food service staff
- Health services staff (e.g., school nurse)
- Maintenance and transportation staff
- Student body
- Local health departments, agencies or organizations
- Faith-based organizations
- Local government
- Consider conducting a community readiness assessment to determine the need for physical, mental and dental health services that could be provided through a school-based health center. Access The Colorado Health Foundation’s community readiness assessment and information on their School-Based Health Center funding initiative by clicking here.
School Board Members
- Develop a board policy that underscores the importance of providing students with access to quality school health services.
- Build awareness among constituents about why quality school health services are relevant to student achievement.
- Help district leaders develop partnerships with community partners to provide additional health services to students.
- Write letters to experts in the community, including doctors, public health, health systems, etc., and ask them to speak to your school, join your wellness teams and inform your messages, posters, and information given to all students and school staff.
- Make resources in health, science or family and consumer sciences classes to display in hallways, such as good health and hygiene practices and techniques.
- Be an example to your peers of proper health actions and healthy behaviors.
- Create a student-led board of health. Give awards to students and staff who are “Caught in the Act” of exemplifying healthy behavior.
- Help ensure that the student body knows the school staff that is responsible for physical, mental and emotional health.
- Work with teachers and other school staff to create wellness days, once per week, involving activities during school and after school.
- Advocate for school-based clinics and access to nurses in all schools.
- Build partnerships between schools and community health organizations for additional resources and referrals.
- Teach your child how to stay healthy and the importance of simple, but effective measures like washing hands.
- Become a leader or a supporter of increasing access to school health services in your school district.
- Participate in conversations led by administrators and school board members about how to provide better school health services to students. Help identify community issues, priorities and values.
- Partner with districts and schools to identify and secure access to additional health services in the community.
There’s a wealth of resources available to get you started. Among the most relevant to school health services:
Campaign for Educational Equity
View Healthier Students are Better Learners: A Missing Link in School Reforms to Close the Achievement Gap to see how high-quality school health initiatives are part of the strategy to close achievement gaps.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Find research on the link between healthy students and positive academic outcomes.
Colorado Association for School-based Health Care
Learn more about what school-based health clinics do and see the resources page for more links.
National Association of School Nurses
Check out this website’s policy and advocacy section for information about why school nurses are critical to healthy schools.
“I truly believe school-based health clinics have improved our attendance rate. It’s critical that all school districts support school-based clinics. They improve the quality of students’ lives, the quality of their education and they have a huge, positive impact on the community.”
~ Jeannette Lewis, school board member, Adams County School District 14
SHARE THE SHORTLINK: http://colegacy.org/TNm2R
Click here - http://colegacy.org/teachersurvey/
This guide builds on the previous guide on Multiple Measures and explains ...
Three statewide programs support blended learning at the district level: Colorado Online ...
The Colorado Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Commission was created to advance a ...