Comprehensive School Health
A healthy school community is one that supports the wellness of all its members (e.g., students, teachers, staff and parents) and strives to be a healthy setting for living, learning and working. Comprehensive School Health (CSH) is an effective approach for building healthy school communities. Identifying health champions and forming a school health team are important parts of the process for developing healthy school communities (see diagram). This resource describes the roles of health champions and school health teams in supporting school health initiatives.
What are Health Champions?
Health Champions at St. Francis of Assisi Middle School
“Health champions” refer to the people who take a lead role in facilitating activities related to health and wellness within the school community. They connect the school to existing resources and identify other supports that may be needed. Although health champions lead the way, it is important that they share the workload with other staff, volunteers and members of the school health team.
Anyone can take on the role of health champion (e.g., staff members, administrators, parents, students). It is not assumed or expected that these individuals are experts in the field of health. A passion to guide the school health team as they build a healthier school community is all that is required to be a successful health champion.
Health champions can take on a variety of roles, including:
- Increasing awareness and knowledge of health and wellness within their school community
- Coordinating meetings and agendas for the school health team
- Working with the school health team to ensure that an annual assessment occurs, a plan is created and activities are carried out
- Acting as key contacts for external partners such as Alberta Health Services (AHS), the Alberta Healthy School Community Wellness Fund and Ever Active Schools
- Establishing communication channels with key stakeholders (both internal and external)
- Taking part in professional development and training opportunities
- Advocating for health and wellness in their school and school jurisdiction
Alberta Health Services has some great resources on how to implement Health Champions and School Health Teams: