P.O. BOX 2120



September 3, 2004



Division Superintendents



Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction



Virginia Coordinated School Health Leadership Institute


This memorandum provides information regarding the first Virginia Coordinated School Health Leadership Institute for school and division personnel who have an interest in developing and/or strengthening their coordinated school health programs. The Coordinated School Health Program model is a clear, practical, systemic approach to promoting the health and well-being of students so that physical, emotional, and social problems do not interfere with learning. It commonly consists of eight components that encompass all aspects of school community life: health education, health services, healthy school environment, school nutrition, parent and community groups, physical education, health promotion for staff, and counseling, psychological and social services.


The institute will be held December 2-3,2004. It is being sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education, the Virginia Department of Health, American Cancer Society, and the Virginia Comprehensive Health Education Training and Resource Center at Longwood University. The Institute will contribute to student achievement and school success by helping participants develop personal and professional leadership competencies. These competencies will assist them to: (1) effectively build or strengthen organizational capacity for school health programs; (2) create a strong school health team; and (3) effectively support a coordinated school health program.


Each division may nominate a minimum of two of its outstanding school health professionals to become potential Virginia Coordinated School Health Fellows. Thirty candidates will be selected to participate in this statewide initiative. Prospective institute applicants may be identified from the variety of health areas mentioned above.


By nominating candidates, the school division agrees to: (1) allow the candidate to attend the two-year Leadership Institute that will include annual fall and summer sessions with most expenses paid by the sponsoring organizations; (2) support the candidates in designing and implementing a local school health initiative during the two years of the institute; (3) allow a one- to two-hour time frame during each semester for candidates to participate in a conference call; (4) support group planning time for the candidates and the identified team members; and (5) support the gathering of baseline data on the status of health instruction and other school health program components in schools.


If selected, candidates can work as a team during the two-year project to focus on local school health issues. Stories from the Field: Lessons Learned about Building Coordinated School Health Programs (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2003) provides clear descriptions of how school divisions and staff members can impact student success by focusing on building and coordinating school health programs. For instance, McIntosh Middle School in Florida found that coordinated school health programming had a positive effect on student learning and participation. Benefits included an increase in school attendance, writing scores, the percentage of standard-curriculum students scoring above the 50th percentile on mathematics tests, and a decrease in disciplinary actions.


As noted in the attached material, the deadline for nominations is October 11, 2004. Applications for the institute may be requested from Muriel Azria-Evans at (804) 225-4543, (mail to: