A healthy school is vital to a healthy community. Creating and sustaining a healthy and safe school environment requires the continued commitment and involvement of the school and community to address the ever-changing needs and circumstances affecting our students’ health and safety.
Key to making this relationship effective is communication and dialogue among school personnel, parents, businesses, local health officials, and other community groups. The development of a close alliance among these groups can result in powerful coalitions that build strong support for school health programs that address the health-related needs of students. There are a number of ways that schools can actively engage communities and parents in their collaboration efforts to build support for quality health education and positive student development, including:
- Encouraging parents, families, students, and community members to participate in the decision-making process for the selection of health and safety programs/policies, including involvement in coordinated school health planning and oversight committees (i.e. school health councils).
- Requesting community members with special skills to teach certain health units (i.e. dieticians focusing on food choices).
- Opening school buildings and facilities to the public during non-school hours for physical activity and fitness sessions as well as family health seminars and social and recreational functions. (i.e. shared use agreements)
- Provide resources that help families on matters that are related to:
- Child development
- Communication with their child about relationships, safety, tobacco, alcohol and drugs, sexuality, violence, and diet.
- Family relationships
- Parenting skills