Skip to Content

School Health

On this page...


School Health programs promote health and healthy behaviors in the lives of students, staff, families, and the community. School Health programs are coordinated to meet the health and safety needs of students and school staff in pre-kindergarten through grade 12 in school and school activities. The essential elements of effective school health programs, also referred to as learning supports, include eight interrelated components:

  • Health Education
  • Health Services
  • Nutrition Services
  • Health Promotion for School Staff
  • Physical Education
  • Mental Health and Social Services
  • Healthy and Safe School Environments
  • Family/Community Involvement

School Health Programs can improve:

  • Health knowledge, attitudes, and skills
  • Healthy behaviors and health outcomes
  • Educational outcomes
  • Social outcomes

Healthy students and school programs are most effective and efficient when all of the components are addressed through coordinated school health programs (CSHP) supported by school health councils, collective planning, administrative support, identified leaders, parents, and community members within the comprehensive school improvement plan (CSIP).

Health Legal Reference Summaries

The summaries are not a substitute for the laws. For further clarification, refer to the legal references full text.

Iowa School Health Services and the Licensed Practical Nurse in the School - Lists the laws on LPN Practice in Iowa Schools

Iowa School Health Legal Reference Summaries - The Law summaries are not a substitute for the actual laws. For further clarification, refer to the legal references full text.

Health Advisory Team

Each district has a School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC) [Iowa Code section 280.12]. A recommended sub committee of the SIAC is a local Health Advisory Team (Community-School Health Advisory Council). A Health Advisory Team is a recommended component of the district Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP) and advocates for strong community partnerships and linkages among schools, parents, community members, health, business, and others. The Iowa Department of Public Health has developed a step by step planning guide, Promoting Healthy Youth, Schools and Communities: A Guide to Community-School Health Advisory Councils to help districts form local Health Advisory Team. Available online at

School and Community Coordinated School Health Team

The School and Community Coordinated School Health Team is an example of a Health Advisory Team at the state level.
The goal of the Iowa School and Community Coordinated School Health Team is to establish healthy schools and communities with coordinated health services in all communities throughout the state.
The foundation of the initiative is the belief that healthy students, staff, and communities result in optimum learning, teaching, and productive citizens. A School and Community Coordinated School Health Promoting Team strengthens the school and community capacity as a healthy setting for living, learning, and working including:

  • Advancing health and learning by maximizing community resources to ensure community health;
  • Engaging all health and education personnel, organizations, children and youth, parents, families, and community members to make the community and school healthy;
  • Providing a healthy environment for Iowans of all ages through collaboration with community and services, nutrition and food safety, physical education, staff health promotion, healthy school environment, counseling, psychological, social services, and family/community involvement; and
  • Implementing policies and practices that respect individual and cultural differences providing multiple opportunities for success, acknowledging good efforts and intentions, and promoting personal achievement.

Helping communities and schools become health promoting depends on the success of forming partnerships through mutual support, data collection, and joint funding for health promoting communities and schools. Strategies addressing the Initiative and its goal include:

  • Strengthen state agency partnerships to support health promoting communities and schools.
  • Strengthen regional and local capacity to advocate for improved school and community health.
  • Identify public and private resources for developing school and community health promotion.
  • Identify research references to improve school and community health programs.

Iowa Interagency Statement on Health Promoting Schools
School Health is enriched with supports and collaboration of the Iowa Departments of Education (DE), Public Health (DPH), and Human Services (DHS), and other state initiatives. In 2008, the Directors of the Iowa Departments of Education, Human Services, and Public Health all signed a statement agreeing to continue their support of health promoting schools and communities. The Departments agree their services are linked with each other and with the destinies of Iowa’s children. State and Local school and community coordinated health teams bring together service providers to communicate and collaborate across agencies to meet the needs of our children.

Iowa Joint Statement on Health Promoting Schools

Guiding Practices

Improving Academic Achievement by Meeting Student Health Needs - The following resources were compiled by the Iowa Interagency Health Promoting Communities and Schools team. The purpose was to gather scientific-based research supporting school health promotion to improve academic achievement. The presentation and briefing encourage discussions on integrating student and staff health into school improvement and accountability systems.

Improving Academic Achievement by Meeting Student Health Needs Presentation- Describes the components of coordinated school health programs and scientific research-based findings.

Improving Academic Achievement by Meeting Student Health Needs Briefing - Describes improving academic achievement by meeting student health needs.

Iowa Coordinated Student and Staff School Health - Service Program Sample- Describes an example vision, beliefs, and goals the school nurse provides in managing the coordinated school health program.


American School Health Association (ASHA) - A multidisciplinary organization of professionals committed to safeguarding the health of school-aged children.

Census - Sources of data about the nation's and state's people and economy including population, housing, and economics.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - Part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services providing information for people and communities to protect their health through health promotion, prevention of disease, injury and disability, and preparedness for new health threats , U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

  • Healthy Youth - Information to promote the health and well-being of children and adolescents to enable them to become and productive adults.

Center for Mental Health in Schools - Information to improve outcomes for young people through mental health in schools, UCLA School Mental Health Project, National Center for Mental Health in Schools.

The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network - (FAAN) provides food allergy and anaphylaxis education, advocacy, research, awareness, information, programs, resources, and serves as the communication link between the patient and others.

Healthfinder - A government website to find information and tools to stay healthy.

Health, Mental Health and Safety Guidelines for Schools - Information on students’ health and safety at school addressing health, mental health, and safety issues (including transportation and motor vehicle safety), schools can improve students’ academic performance and contribute to their increased longevity and productivity long after they leave school.

Healthy People 2020 - Provides science-based national objectives for improving the health of all Americans.

Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB) - Provides education, advocacy, and student achievement services for P-12 school districts, area education agencies, and community colleges across the state.

Iowa Board of Nursing - Protects the public health, safety and welfare by ensuring that nursing is practiced by at least minimally competent licensed individuals who practice within their authorized scope of practice.

Iowa Child and Family Policy Center - Links research and advocacy to improve the well-being of Iowa kids

Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship - Facilitates child access to nutritious food, benefiting communities and local farmers, and connects local farms with school food programs.

Iowa Department of Human Services - Helps individuals and families achieve safe, stable, self-sufficient, and healthy lives, thereby contributing to the economic growth of the state.

Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) - Partners with local public health, policymakers, health care providers, business and many others to promote and protect the health of Iowans.

  • Epi Manual - Alphabetical manual of reportable diseases, with each disease in its own chapter. Also a chapter on other diseases.
  • Disease Information
  • Healthy Iowans - Iowa's Health Improvement Plan focuses on critical health needs and provides a blueprint for addressing them.

Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Enforces Federal Laws, performs general inspections, and investigates safety and health complaints.

Iowa School Nurse Organization (ISNO) - Supports school nurses in the delivery of health services designed to improve the health and academic success of children.

Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services - Works for and with individuals who have disabilities to achieve their employment, independence and economic goals.

Iowa Youth Survey (IYS) - Collaboration of agencies in the collection of data on Iowa 6th, 8th, and 11th grade student responses to questions about their attitudes and experiences regarding alcohol and other drug use and violence, and their perceptions of their peers, family, school, neighborhood/community environments.
Reports are available in various categories.

Maternal and Child Health Library (MCH) - Accurate, timely information to assist states, communities, professionals, and families from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Medication Management in Iowa Schools - Designated school individuals (non-health licensed) must successfully complete a medication administration education course, along with successful completion of a skills observation by the school nurse, to qualify to administer medications in Iowa schools. Register and login to the course, take the course, receive a certificate of successful completion, complete a successful skills observation with the school nurse, and keep the certificate on file at school.

MedlinePlus - Information on health topics, drugs and supplements, tools, and videos, U. S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

National Association of School Nurses (NASN) - Advances the specialty practice of school nursing to improve the health and academic success of all students.

National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) - Center for Safe and Healthy Schools - Provides topics to meet the health needs for students to learn including nutrition, physical safety, physical activity, sexual health and healthy non-toxic environments.

National Board for Certification of School Nurses (NBCSN) - An independently incorporated organization established for the purpose of developing and implementing the voluntary certification process of school nurses working in collaboration with the National Association of School Nurses.

National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) - A not-for-profit organization to provide an organization through which boards of nursing act and counsel together on matters of common interest and concern affecting the public health, safety and welfare, including the development of licensing examinations in nursing.

National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) - Primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education,. U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences.

US Department of Agriculture, School Meals - Provides National School Lunch Program, Afterschool Snacks, Seamless Team, Summer Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, School Breakfast Program, and Special Milk Program, USDA Agencies and Offices Food and Nutrition Service (FNS).

US Department of Education

US Department of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - Agency four core functions: Medical Products and Tobacco, Foods, Global Regulatory Operations and Policy, and Operations, Department of Health and Human Services

US Department of Health and Human Services - Information on health care, bullying, Medicare fraud, food safety, insure kids, flu, physical activity and nutrition, collaborate on data sets, tools and HHS initiatives, and implement and manage health and human service programs.

US Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration - Assures safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.

World Health Organization - School Health Promotion - Provides links to descriptions of activities, reports, news and events, as well as contacts and cooperating partners in the various WHO programs and offices working on this topic. Also shown are links to related web sites and topics.


American Academy of Pediatrics. (2004). School health: policy and practice. Elk Grove Village, Illinois: AAP. Medical Home Publications, School Health Resources,

Aronson, S.S., & Shope, T.R., (Eds.). (2009). Managing Infectious Diseases in Child Care and Schools (2nd ed.). Elk Grove, IL: AAP.

Heymann, D.L. (Ed.). (current). Control of communicable diseases manual, Current Edition, (published every 5 years). Washington, DC: American Public Health Association.

Iowa Department of Education. (2001). Iowa Vision Screening Program Guidelines. Des Moines, IA: State of Iowa.

Joint Committee on National Health Education Standards. (2007). National Health Education Standards: Achieving Excellence (2nd Edition). Atlanta: American Cancer Society.

Kolbe, L J. (2002). Education reform and the goals of modern school health programs. Journal of the National Association of State Boards of Education. 3:4, 4-11.

Marx, E., & Wooley, S.F. (Eds.). (1998). Health is academic: Coordinated school health programs. Education Development Center. NY: Teachers College Press.

National Association of School Nurses. (2002). Issue brief: Role of the school nurse.

National Association of School Nurses and American Nurses Association. (2005). School Nursing: Scope and standards of practice. Silver Spring, MD: Available to purchase (click here).

Proctor, S.E. (2005). To see or not to see: Screening the vision of children in school. Castle Rock, CO: NASN.

Schwab, N.G., & Gelfman, M. (2001). Legal issues in school health services. North Branch, MN: Sunrise River Press.

Seleckman, J. (Ed.). (2006). School nursing: A comprehensive text. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis.

Silkworth, C.K., Arnold, M., Harrigan, J., & Zaiger, D. (Eds.). (2005). Individualized healthcare plans for the school nurse. North Branch, MN: Sunrise River Press.


Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on November 30, 2015 at 10:01pm.