The School Health Index (SHI) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) enables schools to identify strengths and weaknesses of the school’s health and safety policies and programs. The SHI helps schools to prioritize, and develop an action plan for improving school health. Each of the modules contained here in can be completed individually, or all at once.
- School Health and Safety Policies and Environment
- Health Education
- Physical Education and Other Physical Activity Programs
- Nutrition Services
- Health Services
- Counseling, Psychological, and Social Services
- Health Promotion for Staff
- Family and Community Involvement
- Completed by school health teams
- Two separate versions:
- Elementary School
- Middle School / High School
- Self-Assessment: 8 modules to follow the Coordinated School Health Program model. Modules can be completed individually or all at once.
- Planning: Planning for Improvement section
Your local school liaison can assist with this self-assessment process.
- Assemble School Health Index team
- Full team introduction meeting
- Self-assessment modules
- Full team planning meeting
- Can be completed in as little as six hours:
- Modules 1-4: approximately one hour each
- Modules 5-8: approximately 30 minutes each
A small investment of time can pay big dividends in improving students’ well-being, readiness to learn, and prospects for a healthy life.
The items in the SHI are based on CDC's research-based guidelines for school health programs, which identify the policies and practices most likely to be effective in improving youth health risk behaviors.
It is structured around CDC's eight-component model of a coordinated school health program (CSHP). This model highlights the importance of involving all eight components, which can have a powerful impact on student health behaviors. The eight modules in the SHI correspond to the eight components of a coordinated school health program.
School Health and Safety Policies and Environment
The physical and aesthetic surroundings and the psychosocial climate and culture of the school. Factors that influence the physical environment include the school building and the area surrounding it, any biological or chemical agents that are detrimental to health, and physical conditions such as temperature, noise, and lighting. The psychological environment includes the physical, emotional, and social conditions that affect the well-being of students and staff.
A planned, sequential, K-12 curriculum that addresses the physical, mental, emotional and social dimensions of health. The curriculum is designed to motivate and assist students to maintain and improve their health, prevent disease, and reduce health-related risk behaviors. It allows students to develop and demonstrate increasingly sophisticated health-related knowledge, attitudes, skills, and practices. Comprehensive health education curriculum includes a variety of topics such as personal health, family health, community health, consumer health, environmental health, sexuality education, mental and emotional health, injury prevention and safety, nutrition, prevention and control of disease, and substance use and abuse. Qualified, trained teachers provide health education.
Physical Education and Other Physical Activity Programs
A planned, sequential K-12 curriculum that provides cognitive content and learning experiences in a variety of activity areas such as basic movement skills; physical fitness; rhythms and dance; games; team, dual, and individual sports; tumbling and gymnastics; and aquatics. Quality physical education should promote, through a variety of planned physical activities, each student's optimum physical, mental, emotional, and social development, and should promote activities and sports that all students enjoy and can pursue throughout their lives. Qualified, trained teachers teach physical activity.
Access to a variety of nutritious and appealing meals that accommodate the health and nutrition needs of all students. School nutrition programs reflect the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans and other criteria to achieve nutrition integrity. The school nutrition services offer students a learning laboratory for classroom nutrition and health education, and serve as a resource for linkages with nutrition-related community services. Qualified child nutrition professionals provide these services.
Services provided for students to appraise, protect, and promote health. These services are designed to ensure access or referral to primary health care services or both, foster appropriate use of primary health care services, prevent and control communicable disease and other health problems, provide emergency care for illness or injury, promote and provide optimum sanitary conditions for a safe school facility and school environment, and provide educational and counseling opportunities for promoting and maintaining individual, family, and community health. Qualified professionals such as physicians, nurses, dentists, health educators, and other allied health personnel provide these services.
Counseling, Psychological, and Social Services
Services provided to improve students' mental, emotional, and social health. These services include individual and group assessments, interventions, and referrals. Organizational assessment and consultation skills of counselors and psychologists contribute not only to the health of students but also to the health of the school environment. Professionals such as certified school counselors, psychologists, and social workers provide these services.
Health Promotion for Staff
Opportunities for school staff to improve their health status through activities such as health assessments, health education and health-related fitness activities. These opportunities encourage school staff to pursue a healthy lifestyle that contributes to their improved health status, improved morale, and a greater personal commitment to the school's overall coordinated health program. This personal commitment often transfers into greater commitment to the health of students and creates positive role modeling. Health promotion activities have improved productivity, decreased absenteeism, and reduced health insurance costs.
Family and Community Involvement
An integrated school, parent, and community approach for enhancing the health and well-being of students. School health advisory councils, coalitions, and broadly based constituencies for school health can build support for school health program efforts. Schools actively solicit parent involvement and engage community resources and services to respond more effectively to the health-related needs of students.
If you have questions, comments, or suggestions regarding the Vemont School Health webpage or it's content, please e-mail: SchoolHealth@vdh.state.vt.us
For questions about statewide programs or policies administered at the local level, contact the Health Department District Office near you.