Linking School Districts With Needed Health Resources
The Texas School Health Network is a collaborative effort of the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) School Health Program and the School Health Specialists working in 12 of the Regional Education Service Centers (ESCs).
Twelve of the 20 ESCs in Texas are staffed with a School Health Specialist who provides in-service training, workshops, and technical assistance to school districts. School health specialists assist schools in locating and promoting resources and materials on a wide variety of health topics. They also serve as a central coordinating point for all school health issues and assist school districts in developing an integrated and coordinated approach to school health programming.
Texas School Health Network will serve as the coordinating point and collaborative catalyst to promote healthy school environments and healthy behaviors of all students and personnel.
Here are Just Some of the Services Provided Through the School Health Network:
Promoting a School-wide Approach to Health
Promoting the health of children involves the entire school community. The physical education program teaches a physically active lifestyle, school counselors support a positive self-image, the classroom teacher provides basic health lessons and the nutrition services staff provides healthy meal choices. Regional school health specialists work with all segments of the school community to build an effective team approach to wellness.
Regional school health specialists collaborate with professional organizations to sponsor training and networking opportunities for school personnel. They offer school nurse institutes; plan regional conferences for elementary and secondary health and physical education professionals; work with school counselors on substance abuse and violence prevention programs and activities; sponsor workshops for nutrition services staff; assist districts in the development of employee wellness programming; and consult with and train the whole school community on coordinated school health.
Development and Support of School Health Advisory Councils
School health specialists assist districts in the development of school health advisory councils (SHAC). These councils are an effective way of planning consistent and focused action within a school system. Composed of representatives from home, school, and community, SHACs can objectively assess the needs of young people and identify the resources that should be employed to meet those needs. By bringing together a variety of disciplines and stakeholders, SHACs can enhance their role in the support of their school's ability to positively impact students' health behavior.
Building Bridges into the Community
School health specialists are catalysts for school-community collaboration. They enlist the support of community groups and raise awareness of school health issues. By building coalitions, forging public and private partnerships, and heightening community awareness, school health specialists link school personnel with state, regional and local resources
Distributing Timely Information Where and When it is Needed
The DSHS, School Health Program, administers the Network. At the state level, the Network maintains a collaborative relationship with other health and education organizations.
How to Contact your School Health Specialist and ESC:
Your school health specialist, housed at your Regional ESC, is listed below. If you don’t know which ESC serves your district, visit the School District Locator Map that appears on the Education Service Center page.
Texas School Health Network - School Health Specialists
Below you will find the name of the Specialist that serves your area, a direct link to their email address, phone number and a link to their Service Center website:
Laurie A. Anderson, CHES
Texas Department of State Health Services
School Health Program, Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention Section
P.O.Box 149347, MC1925
Austin, Texas 78714-9347
Note: ESCs II, III, IV, IX, X, XIII, XVIII and XIX do not participate in the Texas School Health Network