AP 702: Comprehensive School Health
Health & Safety
AP 702: Comprehensive School Health
The Superintendent demonstrates the belief that student learning and student health are interdependent. Educational research supports this connection and acknowledges the school system’s role in creating and supporting healthy school communities as foundations for optimal learning. A healthy school community is one that supports the wellness of students and staff through the implementation of a Comprehensive School Health approach.
Comprehensive School Health is an integrated approach that provides students and staff with opportunities to observe and learn positive health attitudes and behaviours. It includes a broad spectrum of programs, activities, partnerships and services that take place in schools and communities in order to enhance health and build productive and satisfying relationships across their community.
The Comprehensive School Health approach in Parkland School Division focuses on three specific and interrelated tenets:
- Healthy eating,
- Active living, and
- Mental well-being
Nutrition plays a significant role in student growth, development, disease resistance, and physical and mental health, which contributes to optimal learning. Students who make healthy and balanced nutritional choices reduce their risk of health issues.
Students who are physically active are more likely to exhibit on-task behavior, academic success, and social inclusion. Being physically active encourages students to make health-enhancing choices.
Students who have a strong sense of self and belonging, and who feel cared for at school are more likely to achieve greater academic success, have successful and rewarding relationships, and exhibit positive social behaviours.
A Comprehensive School Health approach acknowledges the relationship between these three tenets.
With respect to a Comprehensive School Health Approach
1. The Associate Superintendent of Student Supports and Services, or designate, shall ensure ongoing professional development for school communities, with regards to current research and developments within Comprehensive School Health.
2. The Principal shall promote a Comprehensive School Health Approach for staff and students; notably, the Principal shall:
2.1. Establish environments and promote lifestyles that support and integrate active living, healthy eating, and mental well-being;
2.2. Create and implement an annual Comprehensive School Health Action Plan that promotes active living, healthy eating, and mental well-being;
2.3. Identify and assign a school-based Health Champion to serve as a primary division contact; and,
2.4. Consider the creation of a school-based health and wellness team, including student voice, to promote a Comprehensive School Health Approach.
With respect to Healthy Eating
3. The Principal shall promote healthy eating practices for staff and students; notably, the Principal shall:
3.1. Foster knowledge, skills and attitudes that promote healthy eating by providing nutrition education and creating an environment of positive food messages;
3.2. Create an environment where healthy foods are available, affordable, and promoted as the best choice;
3.3. Develop school guidelines and procedures pertaining to the provision, promotion, sale, and distribution of foods that aligns with the intent of the Alberta Nutrition Guidelines for Children and Youth (2012);
3.4. Ensure that when the school is providing nutrition (e.g. vending machines, canteens, cafeterias), the selections are most often from the “Choose Most Often” and “Choose Sometimes” categories, with limited foods from the “Choose Least Often” category;
3.5. Schedule nutrition breaks that provides time for eating and recreation;
3.6. Work with community partners to support children and families experiencing food insecurity; and
3.7. Respect the food and beverage choices students have in their individual lunches.
With respect to Active Living
4. The Principal shall promote active living for staff and students; notably, the Principal shall:
4.1. Implement Alberta Education’s Daily Physical Activity (DPA) initiative (Kindergarten to Grade 9);
4.2. Meet the minimum time allocations for quality Physical Education;
4.3. Encourage students and staff to engage in physical activity, active travel, and outdoor learning within curricular and extracurricular activities; and
4.4. Regularly review and work to replace Physical Education and DPA learning equipment.
With respect to Mental Well-being
5. The Principal shall promote mental well-being for staff and students; notably, the Principal shall:
5.1. Promote a sense of belonging and connectedness within the school community, with a focus on relational-based supports;
5.2. Support staff in designing learning environments where positive mental well-being is role-modeled and developed;
5.3. Provide education and work with community partners on reducing the stigma surrounding mental health and mental illness;
5.4. Ensure that the school environment supports individuals to report incidents of threats, bullying, harassment, violence, intimidation, or discrimination;
5.5. Access social-emotional support through collaboration with Student Supports and Services; and
5.6. Access resources and link with community agencies, partners and support networks to help students and staff develop the skills to be aware of and monitor their mental well-being.