Discussion about development of a Virginia Coordinated School Health
Leadership Institute initiated several years ago in response to
requests of local school health advisory board members, state agency
staff members, and staff members in not-for-profit organizations
that work with schools. Although additional partners are invited to
participate in the brainstorming, planning, and implementation
processes, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), Virginia
Department of Health (VDH), American Cancer Society (ACS), and the
Virginia Comprehensive Health Education Training and Resource Center
(VCHETRC) at Longwood University are current collaborative partners
on the project. Of the partners, the VCHETRC was selected in 2004
to coordinate Institute logistics for the training sessions.
This project, which is based on other national and regional models
of school and health leadership institutes, is the first statewide
leadership institute designed specifically to meet the needs of
Virginia school health professionals, local parent groups, and
related local health promotion staff members through two-year
training cycles. Emphasis of the Institute is placed on building
leadership in health education and health promotion to help those in
schools (staff members and students) embrace a healthy lifestyle and
achieve success in schools. A further Institute goal is to help
local leaders become more proactive in mobilizing resources to
positively respond to the ever-changing school and community
Each two-year cycle consists of a competency based curriculum with
four two-day on-site sessions, four learning-based conference calls,
conference call discussions between mentors and respective school
team contact persons, intersession readings and assignments,
development of a school team project, individual leadership
self-assessment and personal development process, a final school
team project presentation to Cycle I and Cycle II candidates, and a
After years of planning, searching for funds, and a thorough
recruitment and application process, the first face-to-face training
session of the two-year Virginia Coordinated School Health Institute
was held December 2-3, 2004, Charlottesville, VA. The 2004-2006
Institute candidates were identified from a variety of health areas:
e.g., health education, health services, healthy school environment,
school nutrition, parent and community groups, physical education,
health promotion for staff, or counseling, psychological and social
services. Thirty-four (34) top candidates were selected as the
inaugural class to become Fellows of Coordinated School Health in
Virginia. The 34 candidates compose 15 school teams across Virginia
representing schools from small, medium and large school divisions
in rural, suburban, urban areas.
Over time, the Virginia Coordinated School Health Leadership
professional preparation for school health leaders;
Create a staff
development process and program of study that can benefit local
school divisions; and
resources to support a locality’s school health efforts.
To contribute to student achievement and school success in the
Commonwealth, the Virginia Coordinated School Health Leadership
Institute will help participants develop personal and professional
leadership competencies to:
Effectively build or
strengthen organizational capacity for school health programs.
personal knowledge, skills, and qualities for effective leadership
within the local system.
and implement a professional leadership effectiveness plan including
but not limited to:
activities to coordinate school health initiatives or programs
within your school division.
a strong school health team and motivate colleagues and the
community to contribute to a coordinated school health program
approach for addressing local health issues for youth.
Develop and implement a
leadership plan to include:
for a coordinated school health program.
and implement an advocacy plan to support the self-selected local
Institute initiative or project.
Criteria for determining eligibility for nomination to the Virginia
Coordinated School Health Leadership Institute include the following
Should be recognized as
proactive school health advocates;
Should have a basic
knowledge of coordinated school health program components; and
have commitment and buy-in from the leadership of their school
division and immediate supervisor so they can implement a school
health initiative as part of the Institute training.
Additional criteria for participation
Virginia Coordinated School Health
Leadership applicants must:
a position in a school health-related field that may include--but is
not limited to--health education, health services, healthy school
environment, school nutrition, parent and community groups, physical
education, health promotion for staff, or counseling, psychological
and social services.
a School Division Nomination Form, a School Division Endorsement
Form signed by the division superintendent and immediate
supervisor(s), and a completed individual application form.
a commitment to complete the Institute’s two-year professional
preparation program, interim reports on the self-selected school
health initiative, as well as an end of program presentation for
other Virginia Coordinated School Health candidates and participants
in the Health for Success Training Sessions.
leadership abilities, including facilitation, organization,
advocacy, managing multiple projects, and team building.
interest and commitment to continue in a leadership role within the
Local school divisions must provide a
the candidates to complete the two-year professional preparation
program of the Virginia Coordinated School Health Leadership
Support the effective
functioning of a local school health board, council, or team.
Support the effective
functioning of a locally selected school health initiative.
financial support for selected candidates to participate in the