Family / Community Involvement

Overview

Family/Community Involvement: An integrated school, parent, and community approach for enhancing the health and well-being of students. School health advisory councils, coalitions, and broadly based constituencies for school health can build support for school health program efforts. Schools actively solicit parent involvement and engage community resources and services to respond more effectively to the health-related needs of students.
 



Ways to Get Involved

  • Providing time, experience, and resources
  • Supporting student involvement in activities that support health
  • Ensuring that students and their families receive needed health services
  • Planning jointly to develop relevant and appropriate messages and services
  • Delivering clear, consistent messages that support health, include high but attainable expectations, and offer appropriate role modeling

School Local Wellness Policy
The U.S. Congress recognizes that schools play a critical role in creating a healthy environment for the prevention of childhood obesity and for combating problems associated with poor nutrition and physical inactivity.

To help combat childhood obesity and improve children’s health, Congress passed the Child Nutrition and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Reauthorization Act of 2004. Section 204 of the Public Law 108-265 requires every Local Educational Agency (LEA) participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP) or Special Milk Program develop a local wellness policy by the start of the 2006-2007 school year.

The law places the responsibility of developing a wellness policy at the local level, so the individual needs of each school can be addressed.

At a minimum, the requirement for a Local Wellness Policy must include the following:

  • Goals for nutrition education, physical activity, and other school-based activities that are designed to promote student wellness in a manner that the school determines is appropriate;
  • Nutrition guidelines selected by the school for all foods available on each school campus under the school during the school day with the objective of promoting student health and reducing childhood obesity;
  • Assurance that guidelines for reimbursable school meals are not less restrictive than the regulations and guidance issued by the USDA;
  • A plan for measuring implementation of the local wellness policy, including designation of one or more persons within the school or at each school charged with operational responsibility for ensuring that the school is meeting the local wellness policy; and
  • Involvement of parents, representatives of the school food authority, the school board and school administrators, and the public, in the development of the local wellness policy.

Resources

School Health Advisory Councils
A School Health Advisory Council (SHAC), sometimes called a School Health Team, is a group of individuals who represent both the school and the community. This group acts collectively to provide advice to the school system on aspects of the school health policies and programs. SHACs can advise either a local education agency (district), or an individual school site (elementary, middle, or high school).

Schools alone cannot be responsible for the health and well-being of children and youth in their communities, but they play an important role. By creating a School Health Advisory Council, schools can find partners in their communities to help garner support and resources for healthy school policies and programs. SHACs can advise: district wellness policies, program planning, fiscal planning, evaluation, accountability and advocacy for coordinated school health, fiscal planning, education, and evaluation, accountability and quality control.

For More information please visit: www.azdhs.gov/phs/bnp/nupao/SchoolWellness.html

Arizona Parent Teacher Association
History
For more than a 100 years, Parent Teacher Association (PTA) has provided support, information and resources to families focused on the health and education of children. The organization was founded in 1897 in Washington DC as the National Congress of Mothers by Alice McLellan Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst. If not for these women and their vision and determination, there would not be a PTA—an organization that has been woven into the very fabric of American life.

By whatever name it has been known, PTA was created to meet a profound challenge: to better the lives of children. And today, it continues to flourish because PTA has never lost sight of its goal: to change the lives of children across our great nation for the better.

PTA Purposes

  • To promote the welfare of the children and youth in home, school, community, and place of worship
  • To raise the standards of home life
  • To bring into closer relation the home and the school, that parents and teachers may cooperate intelligently in the education of children and youth.
  • To develop between educators and the general public such united efforts as will secure for all children and youth the highest advantages in physical, mental, social, and spiritual education

For more information please visit: http://www.azpta.org/

Other Resources

Help Your Child Manage Diabetes at School
Make a plan to help your child manage diabetes at school. Start by meeting with school staff and by making sure your child has the necessary supplies for routine care and blood sugar emergencies. Visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website for further information.

empowerME is a by youth, with youth movement that’s inspiring all kids to make healthy behavior changes and to become leaders and  advocates for healthy eating and physical activity. To date, more than 2.5 million young people across the country have joined the empowerME Movement and committed to eat better and move more. This movement is part of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and encourages young people to use their own voices to motivate each other, get educated and get activated. 

 
Action for Healthy Kids partners with families, community members, professionals and business to support schools in addressing childhood undernourishment, obesity and prevention by working with schools to help kids learn to eat right and be active every day.
 
Arizona Nutrition Network (AzNN) is a state-wide program that promotes health and nutrition.   AzNN has many resources to encourage parents, family and community members to be Champions for Change to improve the health of Arizona students.

National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education (NCPIE)
has the mission to advocate the involvement of parents and families in their children's education, and to foster relationships between home, school, and community to enhance the education of all our nation's young people.

Action Steps for Implementing a Healthy School Environment
A safe, clean, and well-maintained school with a positive psychosocial climate and culture can foster school connectedness, which in turn boosts student and staff health as well as students’ educational achievement. Learn about what actions you can take as a school staff professional or parent.

Active School Neighborhood Checklist
Where schools are located can influence the health and wellbeing of students that attend it. Use the active school neighborhood checklist to assess the physical surroundings at your school and identify barriers to safe walking and biking to and from school.

Heat Effects
The number of people affected by Arizona's extreme heat is on the rise over the past couple of decades. Schools can take measures to prevent students from suffering from heat exhaustion using the tools provided by the Arizona Department of Health Services Heat Effects Program.

Adopt a policy to prevent heat exhaustion by following these recommendations found here.

Additional Community Partners

Phoenix Children’s Hospital

At Phoenix Children's Hospital we’ve made a commitment to improving the health and lives of all children in our community – not just the ones we see as patients. Through innovative community programs and partnerships, we’re working to improve the overall well-being of the children of Arizona. When you look at factors like poverty, education, and health status, our state ranks 41st in the nation, and we rank 46th in child immunizations. Last year, 250,000 children in our state were living in poverty and 300,000 were without health care coverage. All of these numbers underscore the need for progressive and far-reaching programs that impact as many children as possible.

Special Olympics of Arizona
The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.
Special Olympics Arizona's (SOAZ) goal is to empower the over 180,000 Arizonans with intellectual disabilities to be healthy, productive, and respected members of society through SOAZ's year-round sports training, competitions and support programs.