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School & Health: Our Nation's Investment
nurses, foodservice personnel, and other team members from the school and community—will be crucial for the implementation of effective CSHPs, and collaboration among these professionals will be essential to produce a strong CSHP infrastructure within a district or school. However, some observers suggest that many professionals do not understand disciplines beyond their own and that discipline-based views and terminology inhibit the fullest exchange of ideas. Thus, there is a critical need to take an interdisciplinary approach to preservice and inservice training, not just for personnel assigned directly to school health but for educators in all fields and for administrators as well. Interdisciplinary interaction should be an integral part of preservice preparation at the university level, and preservice programs should be aligned with the concepts embodied by CSHPs. University faculty providing preservice preparation in school health and related fields should create models of collaboration with colleagues in other relevant departments, and students should be exposed to interdisciplinary experiences in field placements and internships (Gingiss, 1995; Lawson and Hooper-Briar, 1994). Consideration should also be given to creating a new category of personnel—comprehensive school health coordinators—who can work with both the school and the community and who have the management skills to oversee complex partnership programs.
School administrators, both at the district level and in individual schools, can be pivotal in developing and supporting the CSHP infrastructure. Thus, the preparation of administrators should include providing them with an understanding of all facets of a CSHP—what programs are about and what they can do; the mobilization of support among staff and community members; sources of financing; organization of the school day, facilities, and existing resources to support the program; and the responsibilities that departments and individuals must assume.
The ultimate authority for all local school policies and programs belongs to the local board of education, which operates within the federal, state, and local legislative framework. Whether appointed or elected directly, these boards are political bodies. As in other arenas, with politics come controversies. Indeed, many of the most visible and controversial issues that school boards encounter—sexuality and family life education, mental health counseling, reproductive health counseling and services—are associated with school health programs (Marks and Marzke, 1993; Rienzo and Button, 1993).
Thus, supporters of comprehensive school health programs must become activists at school board meetings and in the media—although they