Louisiana Coordinated School Health

Louisiana Healthy School Communities Project

The Louisiana Coordinated School Health (LCSH) connects physical and mental health with education through eight interrelated components. This coordinated approach improves students’ health and their capacity to learn through the support of families, communities, and schools working together. Coordinated School Health works with many partners to address school health priorities.

The CSH Approach:

Louisiana Coordinated School Health (LCSH) is a practical approach to connecting health with learning. CSH improves children’s health and learning capacity by supporting their collaboration with families, communities, and schools.

The involvement of parents, families, and the community is the glue that binds the LCSH. Full involvement of these entities as partners in the educational process provides valuable input, increases the commitment of all partners, and ensures positive educational and health outcomes.

Coordinated School Health is not a program but a systematic approach to promoting student health that emphasizes needs assessment, planning based on data and sound science, analysis of gaps and redundancies in school health programming, and evaluation.

The LCSH approach consists of eight major components. By definition, all Coordinated School Health Components work together to improve the lives of students and their families.  Although these components are listed separately, their composite allows CSH to have a significant impact. The eight components include health education, health services, counseling, psychological and social services, nutrition, physical education/physical activity, school staff wellness, healthy and safe school environment, and student/parent/community involvement.

CSH History:

In 2012, the Target Coordinated School Health program became law. RS 17:17.6 states, that the state Department of Education, subject to rules and regulations developed, adopted, and promulgated by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act and in consultation with the state Department of Health, shall establish and administer a targeted, coordinated school health program. The program shall be established to reduce childhood obesity. It shall bring together school administrators, teachers, other school employees, students, families, and community members to assess health needs, set priorities, and plan, implement, and evaluate school health activities directed toward this purpose.

Coordinated School Health is a national model that is impacting children’s health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed the model in 1988. The CDC has funded more than 20 states to help them develop coordinated school health initiatives. Louisiana has implemented this approach since 2015.

LCSH Components

  • Health Education

  • Physical Education

  • Health Services

  • Nutrition Services

  • Counseling, Psychological, and Social Services

  • A Healthy and Safe School Environment

  • Health Promotion for School Employees

  • Family and Community Involvement

School Health Advisory Council:

The Louisiana State Legislature has laws around school health, including physical activity, physical education, nutrition, school health advisory councils, and more. You can do a complete search at Search Louisiana Laws. The law most relevant to this guidebook is RS 17:17.1: Required physical activity in schools. Section D of this law states: “Each city, parish, and other local public school board shall establish a school health advisory council to advise the board on physical activity for students, physical and health education, nutrition, and overall student health. The council members shall be appointed by the school board and shall include parents of students and individuals representing the community. All council members shall serve without compensation.”

The Louisiana School Health Advisory Council Guidebook will provide school systems and schools with the information needed to develop an effective and efficient School Health Advisory Council.


Health Education, Physical Education, and Adapted Physical Education

Physical Education: 

Physical Education Standards and Grade Level Expectations (GLEs) 

Health Education: 

Health Education Standards and Grade Level Expectations (GLEs)

Adapted Physical Education (APE):

APE is a direct instructional service for school-aged students with disabilities who may not safely or successfully engage in unrestricted participation in the vigorous activities of the regular physical education program on a full-time basis. To learn more,

Determining Eligibility for Adapted Physical Education

Safe and Healthy School Resources:

Project AWARE

Children often experience behavioral challenges during school. These challenges are usually a result of traumatic experiences which can overtime interfere with learning and promote other school behaviors, such as school suspension, school avoidance and, discipline.  

  •  HB 353  provides support relative to student behavioral and mental health and adverse childhood experience education.

At the same time, we know students can thrive and do better in school settings when they feel physically and mentally healthy, safe and supported. Creating a positive school climate to address the needs’ of all students and increase access to mental health and community support services.

According to U. S. Department of Health and Human Services states that  one in five children and adolescents experience a mental health problem (e.g. anxiety, depression, substance abuse) during their school years, and serious problems, such as self-injurious behaviors and suicide. 

(NASP, 2016). Youth are not always getting the support that they need due to several factors. An estimated 13% of youth ages 12 to 17 are affected by major depression, yet 60% of these youth receive no treatment (NIMH, 2019).

Promoting mental health efforts work best when it is supported and mission buy-in from the school community team. The school community team involves school administrators, social workers, nurses, school psychologists counselors, and school-based mental health clinicians, working in partnership with the families and other systems to make a change in mindset and remove systematic barriers to learning.  One way to do this is by knowledge about school mental health.

To help implement and support school mental health support efforts:

  • Align programs across a continuum of services to connect services with desired outcomes
  • Incorporate youth and family with parental involvement in their child mental health treatment
  • Engage leadership in implementation planning and support to increase buy in
  • Build staff mental and health capacity through professional development and coaching
  • Collect and use data for continuous quality improvement to make decisions relating to staffing needs, referrals, training and resource allocation
  • Build School and community partnerships to strengthen school mental health programs through collaboration, expertise and resources
  • Develop solid programs with sustainable approaches to expand the mental behavioral health services youth, a system change.

Guide to help support school mental health planning

School Mental Health Resources:

Nursing Services

Nursing services play a large role in the management of children with chronic health conditions and special needs in the school setting. Louisiana school nurses help meet the medical needs of these students by helping to provide a safe environment. This is accomplished through initial and ongoing student assessment, development of an Individual Health Plan (IHP), education of school staff, and administration of  medications. School nurses also provide specific training for school staff on non complex health procedures in order to help meet activities of daily living (ADL’s) for special needs students while at school.  

Triage and exclusion of the ill child to help prevent the spread of communicable diseases is also the responsibility of the school nurse. All school nursing interventions help in reducing student absences. Guidance to help meet a student’s health needs for school nurses, teachers, staff, administrators and parents based on Louisiana law and BESE policy can be found here:

Additional Resources


Occupational therapists are integral members of school-based multidisciplinary teams that ensure a free and appropriate education for students with disabilities and assist students in optimal participation and performance in the educational setting through the use of meaningful activities (occupations). Occupational therapists address physical, cognitive, psychosocial and sensory needs of students. Occupational therapists may address academics, play, social participation, self-care skills, and transition/work skills. An occupational therapist is skillfully able to complete activity and environmental analysis and modification in order to reduce students’ barriers to participation.

Physical therapists are integral members of school-based teams that ensure a free and appropriate education for students with disabilities and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living in many cases. Physical therapists evaluate and treat students with physical or medical conditions to restore normal function of the neuromuscular and skeletal system, to relieve pain, or to prevent disability.