School Health Councils
Basic School Health Council Role and Function
A school health council (SHC), sometimes called a school health advisory council, is an group of individuals who represent both the school and the community. The group acts collectively to provide advice to the school system on aspects of the school health program. Most often SHCs advise an entire school system (district), but a SHC may also be useful for an individual school building (elementary, middle or high school).
As people become more aware of and concerned about the health problems of children and youth, they naturally turn to their schools for solutions. Schools often can improve the health of the children they serve. Schools can monitor immunization status, make referrals for health care, and teach and encourage healthful behaviors. However, the most troubling problems cannot be solved by schools alone. Experience has show that when schools involve parents and other partners from the community, the responsibility is shared and many difficult problems can be successfully addressed. One effective way to promote this partnership is to start a School Health Council. Ideally, SHC membership should consist of a broad cross-section of parents, business and community leaders, and school staff.
The American Cancer Society participated in the development of a helpful guide on the importance of SHC’s. Promoting Healthy Youth, Schools and Communities: A Guide to Community-School Health Councils is organized into five steps:
Step 1: Convening a School Health Council
Step 2: Creating a Vision and Building Ownership
Step 3: Developing an Action Plan
Step 4: Taking Action and Getting Results
Step 5: Maintaining Momentum
Click here to view the PDF, A Guide to Community School Health Councils.
For other resources and information on School Health Councils you can also visit these Web sites:
The Austin, Texas Intermediate School District has had an active school health council for over five years and has a place on their school district web site where parents and community members can find information about school health issues as well as ways they can be involved. Visit online at: Austin Independant School District (AISD)