Building a strong relationship with school administrators lets a school health center dramatically increase its impact on student success. Administrators are experts on a school’s academic priorities and programming and can be invaluable allies as a school health center works to maximize its influence on student learning. Administrators also wield great influence, both with their teachers and with the district. When a principal is invested in a school health center, she can help students by committing resources, facilitating referrals, and rallying district support. Finally, we know that collaborative, holistic efforts meet students’ needs more effectively than isolated interventions. If school health center staff and administrators have strong relationships, trust each other, and agree on decision-making protocols, they can work together to develop and implement school-wide strategies to promote student success. School health centers can influence a school’s overall approach, but only if the principal is on board!
Tips for School Health Centers
- Assign a “point person” for communication with school administrators; usually, the “point person” will be the school health center coordinator/director, but some school health centers do things differently!
- Create systems for regular—as well as emergency—communication with school administrators. For example, you might set up weekly or monthly meetings, establish shared email expectations, or join a walkie-talkie team for campus crisis situations.
- Define and follow a clear decision-making protocol between school health center leadership, other student support services providers, and school administrators.
- Disseminate information about new services and upcoming events to school administrators to keep them informed and connected to the school health center.
- Share service and outcomes data with school administrators so they understand the positive impact of school health center programs and services, using a variety of methods—including meetings, calls, emails, text messages, newsletters, bulletin boards, and student presentations.
- Engage administrators in ongoing conversations about how the school health center can best support academic achievement (e.g., through targeted intervention for at-risk students, contributions to anti-absence efforts, efforts to improve school climate).
Columbus Middle School, Canoga, CA
Richmond High School, Richmond, CA