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Creating a Healthy School Environment

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CCSH ModelThis page includes information and links to help shape your school into a healthy place to learn and work:

  • Eight components of the Coordinated School Health Model
  • Data on Student Health
  • Strategies and Tools for School Wellness
  • Chatham Wellness Policies and Wellness Programs

Eight Components of the Coordinated School Health Model

Establishing healthy behaviors during childhood is easier and more effective than trying to change unhealthy behaviors during adulthood. Schools play a critical role in promoting the health and safety of young people and helping them establish lifelong healthy behavior patterns. Research shows a link between the health outcomes of young people and their academic success. To have the most positive impact on the health outcomes of young people, government agencies, community organizations, schools, and other community members must work together through a collaborative and comprehensive approach.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

This is why we work to bring together all eight components of the Coordinated School Health Model in Chatham County:

  1. Health Education: Health education teaches students the knowledge and skills they need to make educated health discussion throughout their lives. Comprehensive school health education addresses topics such as alcohol and other drug use and abuse, healthy eating/nutrition, mental and emotional health, personal health and wellness, physical activity, safety and injury prevention, sexual health and relationships, tobacco use, and violence prevention. In North Carolina the K-12 health education follows the North Carolina Standard Course of Study Essential Standards for Healthy Living. For classroom resources to support health education visit Classroom Resources.
  2. Physical Education: Physical education provides student the skills and knowledge for lifelong participation in physical activity. In North Carolina K-12 physical education follows the North Carolina Standard Course of Study for Physical Education.
  3. Health Services: Health services include both services provided in school by school nurses as well as connecting students in need to services outside of the school system. 
  4. Nutrition Services: Many students eat two meals, breakfast and lunch, a day at school. Chatham County Child Nutrition Services follows guidelines outlined by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) in the National School Lunch Program. These guidelines were created to ensure that the foods students are provided in school are healthy, and balanced.
  5. Counseling, Psychological, and Social Services: These health services are provided to support students’ mental, emotional, and social health. Chatham County Schools' multi-tiered system of support is staffed by social workers, psychologists, and school counselors.
  6. Healthy and Safe School Environment: For students to learn and grow schools must also provide a healthful surrounding. This includes the physical school building and grounds as well as the culture of the school. Factors that influence the physical environment include the school building and the area surrounding it, and physical conditions such as temperature, noise, and lighting. The School Sanitation Program works with the district and schools to ensure a safe school environment. Programs such as Active Routes to School/Safe Routes to School also work to ensure that school environments are supportive of healthy behaviors, such as walking and biking. The school culture reflects the schools’ status as a safe environment for students to learn and grow. Schools are encouraged to foster an environment that is inclusive, safe and supportive of healthy behaviors.
  7. Health Promotion for Staff: An integral part of the schools, health promotion for school staff provides opportunities for school staff to improve their health. Staff serve as role models for students, modeling important health behaviors. 
  8. Family/Community Involvement: Family and community involvement in education is essential for academically successful students, and this holds true for health and wellness as well. Opportunities for families to be involved in school health and wellness programs serves as a bridge for important concepts like healthy eating and physical activity into the home. Organizations and community members are also valuable pieces of the school community, and can help enhance the health and wellbeing of students. The School Health Advisory Council serves to bring these community partners together to improve school health and wellness. 

Data on Student Health

  • Click here for Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the connection between health and academic success.
  • Click here for information about the Chatham County Youth Health Behavior Survey and results.
  • Click here for North Carolina Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data.

Strategies and Tools for School Wellness

  • The School Health Index: Created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH), the School Health Index is an online self-assessment and planning tool that schools can use to improve their health and safety policies and programs. After the self-assessment, guidance and recommendations are provided.
  • Make a Difference at Your School: CDC Resources Can Help you implement Strategies to Prevent Obesity Among Children and Adolescents: This resource provides information on the role of schools in preventing obesity, as well as ten identified strategies for promoting physical activity and healthy eating in schools.
  • Can Do School Wellness Resource Kit: This toolkit follows the Coordinated School Health model. The site provides information, resources and tools for schools working on worksite wellness, food environment, built environment, and more.
  • Alliance for a Healthier Generation: The Alliance for a Healthier Generation works to reduce childhood obesity rates. They provide resources, and tools for schools including information for wellness counsels and policies, school nutrition, physical education and activity, and employee wellness.
  • Eat Smart Move More NC: Resources for Schools: Eat Smart, Move More North Carolina promotes the importance of healthy eating and physical activity for all. Their “Tools for Use in Schools” page includes lots of information for schools including energizers, information on healthy celebrations and events, school fundraising, and more.
  • Fuel Up to Play 60: Fuel Up to Play 60 provides fun, focused ways for students to make their school a healthier place. Students can help design and lead their Fuel Up to Play 60 program, work on Plays and come up with their own ideas for implementation. These Tools and Resources will help you and your students plan for, implement, promote and evaluate the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Plays your team selects.

Chatham Wellness Policies and Wellness Programs

  • Chatham County Student Wellness Policy 6104 and Regulation 6104R: The Chatham County Student Wellness Policy outlines Chatham County School’s school health program, including health education, nutrition, school environment, and physical education and physical activity. The Regulations provide detailed guidance for schools to comply with the Policy. For more detailed information on the school policy visit Wellness Policies
  • Chatham Health Achievers Moving People toward Success: Adapted from the Catawba County Healthy Schools Recognition Program developed by the Catawba Health Partners, the CHAMPS program encourages schools within Chatham County to meet eight criteria based on the Student Wellness Policy to become a CHAMPS school.