Governor Phil Bredesen and Representative Frank Buck today announced $12,322,000 in grants for school systems to launch or continue Coordinated School Health Partnerships (CSHP). In the 2007-08 school year, Tennessee school systems will administer this national model intended to improve children’s health and capacity to learn. Last year, Tennessee became the first state in the nation to mandate and fund coordinated school health partnerships for every school district in the state. DeKalb County Schools will receive $95,000 to implement its CSHP.
“I am pleased to see these local school systems embrace a greater role in protecting the physical, mental and emotional health of Tennessee’s students,” Governor Bredesen said. “Education and health are a natural partnership given the amount of time children spend in school. With initiatives like Coordinated School Health Partnerships, CoverKids and Get Fit Tennessee, we can raise a stronger, healthier generation of Tennesseans.”
Tennessee piloted 10 CSHP beginning in 2002 based on a model developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The model partners families, community members and schools to create a culture focused on health awareness, physical activity, and health, nutrition and counseling services. A review of the pilot sites found significant improvements to the school environment and the well-being of students and school employees, prompting the legislature to expand the initiative statewide.
“An issue as important as the social and emotional health of children demands focus and a coordinated effort,” Representative Buck said. “These grants, among other things, ensure each school system has a leader dedicated to providing the resources necessary for strong students.”
Among the roles of the CSH partnerships will be to educate the community about CoverKids, Tennessee’s program to provide comprehensive health insurance to uninsured children 18 and under in Tennessee. Under this plan, a family of four with a yearly income of $51,625 can qualify for coverage with no monthly premiums, no co-pays for well-exams and low co-pays for sick visits and generic medications. This year, schools are sending CoverKids information and applications home with every student in an effort to reach as many uninsured children as possible.