A District’s Nine Facets of Health and Wellness

by PAT COOPER
The McComb Coordinated School Health program is an expansion of the eight-component school health model adopted by the Centers for Disease Control.

The McComb, Miss., Independent School District added the ninth component—academic means, which we think clinches the program’s success. The nine-component model is used at both the site level and districtwide.

The nine components are as follows:

* Health instruction. A planned, sequential, prekindergarten through 12th-grade curriculum that addresses the physical, emotional, mental and social dimensions of health. The curriculum focuses on health literacy to enhance each student’s independent thinking skills and decision making.

* Health services. Services provided for students in a clinic setting to appraise, protect and promote health. Each school has a health clinic with a full-time registered nurse and a health and wellness student assistance team to focus on prevention. A centralized district health office is administered by a health service supervisor.

* Healthful school environment. Physical and aesthetic surroundings and psychosocial climate and culture in schools that maximize the health of students and staff. McComb strives for a safe and attractive learning environment that is conducive to learning. Security officers are on site at each school to promote a safe and secure climate. Self-esteem and interpersonal relationships and communication are promoted.

* School food services. Provision of services to students and staff that promote health and nutrition through access to a variety of nutrition and appealing snacks and meals. School nutrition programs reflect the U.S. dietary guidelines for Americans and respond to the health and nutrition needs of all students.

* Health promotion for staff. Programming for school staff that provides health assessments, health education (including health education intervention training and programs) and health-related fitness activities. Programs encourage and motivate school staff to live healthier lives and model the district commitment to healthy lifestyles.

* Counseling and psychological services. Services provided include broad-based individual and group assessments, interventions and referrals that attend to the mental, emotional and social health of students. Each school has a mental health counselor/interventionist on staff. Behavioral interventionists provide prevention training and implement interventions to address behavior issues at each school site.

* Physical education. A planned, sequential, preschool-12 curriculum that provides cognitive content and learning experiences such as basic movement skills; physical fitness; rhythms and dance; games; team, dual and individual sports; tumbling and gymnastics; and aquatics.

* Parent/Community involvement. An integrated school, parent and community approach that establishes a dynamic partnership to enhance the health and well-being of students. Parents have the opportunity for training in literacy, parenting and violence prevention.

* Academic opportunity. Using every available means to the school district so every student has the chance to succeed academically. Early identification and intervention ensure all children begin their formal education experiences prepared for success. Teachers have sufficient time to provide appropriate instruction and students have sufficient time in which to learn. Model programs that have shown proven results include Success for All, Second Step, Quest, Imagine U and Character Counts.

To learn more about the McComb Healthy Schools Project visit http://www.mccomb.k12.ms.us/Index.htm.