A report from America’s Health Rankings places Tennessee as 42nd among states for health. This is actually an improvement over previous years. The Tennessee General Assembly made a strategic move in 2006 to address the health of our children. When the legislature passed the Coordinated School Health (CSH) and Physical Activity Law the initiative expanded to all school systems in Tennessee. Tennessee is the first state in the nation to fund and implement CSH statewide.
The mission of Tennessee Coordinated School health is to improve students’ health and their capacity to learn through the support of families, communities and schools. Coordinated School Health (CSH) seeks to do the following:
- Work with partners to identify local priorities and implement local solutions for health improvement
- Implement a systematic approach to planning that aims to eliminate gaps and redundancies
- Utilizes a rigorous approach that builds on accurate data and sound science
- Focuses on instituting sustainable changes in school systems
Click Here for the State of Tennessee Coordinated School Health Flyer
As a participant in the Federal Wellness Policy, the district wellness policies for Oak Ridge Schools must address:
- goals for nutrition education
- goals for physical activity
- nutrition guidelines for all foods available at school
- goals for other school-based activities designed to promote student wellness
- assurances that school meals guidelines are not less restrictive than federal requirements
- plans for evaluating implementation of the policy
Why do schools need to address health issues?
The problems caused by a lack of wellness affects children’s attendance at school and contributes to their failing in school. Education and health are linked. Prevention initiatives that reduce health risks and improve the health status of children work. Health topics addressed by the School Health Index (SHI):
- physical activity and physical education
- tobacco use prevention
- unintentional injury and violence prevention (safety)
The School Health Index
The School Health Index is a self-assessment and planning guide for schools developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It has two activities that are to be completed by each school health team: the eight self-assessment modules and a planning guide for the improvement process. After the self-assessment is completed, each school will be asked to identify recommended actions the school can take to improve its performance in areas that received low scores. Recommendations are then prioritized and the school selects a manageable number of actions to implement for the year.
The Foundation of the School Health Index
The School Health Index (SHI) is structured around CDC’s model of a Coordinated School health Program (CSHP). The model highlights the importance of involving and coordinating the efforts of all eight interactive components to maintain the well-being of young people.
Why Use the School Health Index?
Promoting healthy and safe behaviors among students is an important part of the fundamental mission of schools, which is to provide young people with the knowledge and skills they need to become healthy and productive adults. Improving students’ health and safety can:
- increase students’ capacity to learn
- reduce absenteeism
- improve physical fitness and mental alertness