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School & Health: Our Nation's Investment
tion … ensures that effective referral and case management systems are in place, [works on] communication among school staff and with the home … [and] explores ways to develop additional resources.'' The Resource Coordinating Team includes, in addition to pupil personnel team members, special education and bilingual teachers, dropout counselors, and representatives from relevant community agencies.
As mentioned previously, budget cuts have forced many school systems to cut back on pupil personnel staff, particularly in disadvantaged communities. Social workers and psychologists are often shared between schools, which increases demands on their time and prevents their working in teams. An approach that has been tried in some needy areas is for outside agencies, with funding separate from the school budget, to put together teams and locate them in schools.
Student Assistance Programs. Many schools have Student Assistance Programs that were developed initially to help students who were abusing alcohol or other drugs. These programs, funded through the Drug Free Schools Act, are modeled after the successful Employee Assistance Programs in industry that were established to assist workers with alcohol problems. Just as the employee programs have steadily enlarged their range of services, the Student Assistance Programs movement has also expanded its scope to address the variety of problems that interfere with student learning. Students exhibiting problems might be referred to external mental health professionals or to internal support groups and counseling organized by the school. Problems addressed include such divergent topics as substance abuse, absenteeism, weight management, reentry to school after treatment in a detoxification center, and the difficulties of being a child of alcoholics or divorced parents.
Nutrition and Foodservice
Services Provided. School food and nutrition services vary significantly from school to school depending on the perceived needs, resources, and priorities of schools and communities. School food- and nutrition services can be categorized as follows:
federally supported, nonprofit school lunches, breakfasts, and snacks, including those for students with special health care needs;
for-profit food programs, including snack bars, school stores, vending machines, á la carte items sold in school cafeterias, and special functions for students or staff;
nutrition education activities integrated with classroom instruction;