ACSA Partner Content

Establishing Partnerships to Support Student Wellness

The Association of California School Administrators is the largest umbrella organization for school leaders in the United States, serving more than 17,000 California educators.

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RESEARCH PRIORITY BRIEF— ESTABLISHING PARTNERSHIPS TO SUPPORT STUDENT WELLNESS © 2018 Hanover Research 1 Introduction Schools and their surrounding communities can play a critical role in supporting student mental health and wellness to develop positive learning environments and enhance academic achievement. Importantly, promoting mental health initiatives in schools is considered a practical step in improving school safety and reducing the risks of violent school incidents. 1 In this brief, Hanover outlines how school districts and community organizations can partner to implement systems and programs that support students' health, wellness, and social-emotional development. Key Findings • Schools are uniquely situated to support the overall physical health and emotional wellbeing of students, along with their educational development. Supporting students' positive social- emotional development helps schools improve classroom behavior, student social interactions, and overall academic performance. As schools and school districts are increasingly supporting the full development of their students, improving physical and mental health services and school safety measures has become a growing practice. • Partnering with community organizations and external services can help schools provide more comprehensive and effective health and wellness services for their students. Health and wellness partnerships can provide the support services that go beyond the traditional capacity of schools. These partnerships can provide schools with external health and wellness educational programming, or they can help schools set up school-based wellness resources. • School-based health centers (SBHCs) are collaborative service models that make the most of school-community partnerships to provide students with comprehensive health and wellness services. SBHCs bring nurses, physicians, dentists, and mental health professionals into the school building to care for students and their families and provide physicals, preventive care, mental health counseling, make diagnoses, and more. • Federal funding opportunities and resources exist to support school and school-community student health and wellness initiatives. The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Safe and Healthy Students (OSHS) supports health and wellness initiatives and programs via the Safe and Supportive Schools Group, the Healthy Students Group, and the Center for School Preparedness. Establishing Community Partnerships Working to integrate complicated and intricate services and interventions in schools requires effective collaboration between schools, district administrators, the surrounding community, and community organizations. 2 Building these strong relationships and sharing responsibilities with community partners takes time and trust, but this is a worthwhile effort so that students can have access to the services they need. According to the Center for Mental Health in Schools: Major processes are required to develop and evolve formal and institutionalized sharing of a wide spectrum of responsibilities and resources. School-community partnerships can weave together a critical mass of resources and strategies to enhance caring communities that support all youth and their families and enable success at school and beyond. 3 To initiate a new community partnership, schools should start by collaborating with partners one project at a time. Once schools and partners build a foundation of trust, the partnership can progress by developing a shared vision for continued work and defining leadership between the school and the partner. To develop school-community partnerships, schools should follow the following steps:

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