Q: What does DASH stand for?

DASH stands for the Directorate of Agencies for School Health

Q: What is a Healthy School?

The World Health Organization defines a healthy school as one that consistently strengthens its capacity as a healthy setting for learning, playing, and working. In a healthy school, students have many opportunities- in the classroom, and in every aspect of their school experience- to foster their healthy physical, mental, social and intellectual development.

The key premise of a healthy school is that healthier students learn better and that better educated students are healthier. Healthy schools, also known as health-promoting schools, work with partners from the health and education sectors, and with those from the boarder community, to help students to develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime. To steer and support their efforts, many healthy schools adopt a Comprehensive School Health (CSH) approach. To learn more about this approach, click here to view a video introducing CSH.

Q: What is the difference between Healthy Schools and School Health?

School health promotion has been practiced in virtually every industrialized country for well over 50 years. What’s different today is the model and approach used. There has been movement away from a medical model to a comprehensive or “whole” school approach, with a  healthy living focus embedded in all aspects of the broader school environment (2008 JCSH Annual Report). That whole school approach is now what is known as “healthy schools”.

A key difference between the healthy schools model and the school health model of health promotion is the number of learners and members of the school community who are impacted. The healthy schools approach impacts all learners and school community members across all aspects of the school.

Q: What is Healthy Schools BC?

In May 2011, the Ministry of Health launched a provincial strategy that aims to improve the health and well-being of all British Columbians and the communities in which they live in, this strategy is Healthy Families BC (HFBC). HFBC strategy focuses on four main areas: Healthy eating, Healthy Lifestyles, Healthy Start and Healthy Communities. Within Healthy Communities, is Healthy Schools BC. DASH BC was awarded the contract to oversee this initiative.

Healthy Schools BC builds the capacity of the health and education sectors to effectively implement healthy schools initiatives using a Comprehensive School Health approach. Strengthened health-education partnerships, tools for healthy school assessment and planning, and the coordination of existing school-based healthy living programs and resources combine to support improvements in students’ health and learning.

Healthy Schools BC involves a partnership between the ministries of Health and Education, DASH BC, health authorities, education partners, and other key stakeholders.

Q: Does DASH go into schools?

We work closely with our education partners by facilitating and supporting them to promote healthier school communities. We do this by providing tools, and resources online at our Healthy Schools BC web portal, and we also provide workshops and trainings on a comprehensive school health approach to our education and health partners. teachers. The teachers and educators and representatives from health authorities are the ones who implement programs in schools.

However, there are few times during the school year when DASH will make visits to schools to provide support and to see our programs in action. Check out our most recent videos from school visits in the the Library. (link to library tab)

Q: What does DASH do exactly?

DASH collaborates, facilitates, promotes and develops healthy schools resources and tools to help support healthy schools initiatives around the province.

Here is a list of programs and initaitives that DASH currently works on:

Healthy Schools Network(HSN): a group of schools dedicated to promoting the importance of health in their school communities and sharing their learning, efforts and experience with others. The HSN promotes Comprehensive School Health; engages in inquiry as a means of working towards healthy goals and improved student learning; is student-centered; uses the healthy living performance standards; and engages in networking and sharing healthy schools stories and learning.

DASH supports the Healthy Schools Network by:

  • Coordinating the leaders within the network. These leaders coach and mentor HSN members to promote a Comprehensive School Health approach in their regions.
  • Providing Financial Support for participating member schools
  • Providing learning opportunities to the HSN leaders in emerging healthy schools issues and knowledge in Comprehensive School Health.

Should you have further questions about getting involved in the healthy schools network, please email hsn@dashbc.ca

AS!BC (Action Schools! BC): DASH BC and Action Schools! BC work together to promote healthy living and learning. Action Schools! BC is a best practices model designed to assist schools in creating individualized action plans to promote healthy living while achieving academic outcomes. It was created in partnership with 2010 Legacies Now, the University of British Columbia and the Province of BC as a legacy of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. To learn more about AS!BC, please visit their website: http://www.actionschoolsbc.ca

International Walk to School Week(iwalk): This event promotes the many benefits of walking to school, and takes place every year all over the world in October. In BC, DASH coordinates iWalk for all schools by managing the registration process and providing registered schools with tools and support to run their own iWalk event. Registration takes place every year in the spring. For highlights from this past year, check out our video. For more information please email iwalk@dashbc.ca.

Walk the Globe: Although International Walk to School(iWalk) takes place every year, and schools all over the world participate, there is no international component to iWalk. In 2012, DASH developed a program called Walk the Globe. Walk the Globe partners schools from BC participating in iWalk with schools from around the world. DASH coordinates this program and the partnerships. Through this experience, students are able to learn about other cultures, and how students from around the world get to school. Feel free to browse through photos from some of the schools that participated this past year.

Healthy Schools BC: Healthy Schools BC (HSBC), is a key component of the Healthy Families BC prevention strategy, which strengthens health-education partnerships and supports effective implementation of healthy schools initiatives using a comprehensive school health approach. CSH is evidence-based, “whole school” approach that supports students’ health and academic achievement through four interrelated pillars: social and physical environment, teaching and learning, healthy school policy and partnerships and services.

HSBC supports implementation of a CSH approach through:

  • CSH knowledge exchange and skill development
  • Coordination and consolidation of existing school-based healthy living programs and resources
  • New healthy school planning and assessment tools
  • Youth engagement activities

HSBC involves a partnership between the ministries of health and education, DASH, health authorities, education partners and other key stakeholders.

DASH BC is responsible for the provincial coordination of Healthy Schools BC, including supporting the consolidation and coordination of healthy school programs and resources, creating and disseminating provincial tools and support, planning and implementing a youth engagement strategy, and providing support for consultation between health authorities and education sector partners.

To learn more about Healthy Schools BC, please visit www.healthyschoolsbc.ca

Healthy Schools Symposium: Every year in May, DASH organizes and hosts a conference that brings together those leaders who care about healthy schools, as well as those involved in the school community to share and learn about Healthy Schools initiatives. The conference in 2013 will mark the 7th anniversary of this annual event.