This step of the process has two related parts:
- Prioritizing helps you figure out what really matters to your unique school community, and focuses your efforts and resources. Without it, all issues seem equally significant.
- Planning gives overall direction for how you will get from where you are now to where you want to be. It helps to ensure that the actions you take are evidence-based, that they’ve been shown to work in real life, and that they are a good fit for your school community.
First, reflect on the assets your school has in place—the people, programs, partners, and resources that have come together to engage and connect in support of school health. Then review the data you've collected to understand your school community. This information can help you narrow down your priority health topic—like mental health, nutrition, or physical activity.
Prioritizing a single health topic will help to unify your school community around the issue, and will focus your efforts toward a common goal. Bonus: many health topics are interconnected, so you'll likely find that focusing on one priority area brings about changes in other areas as well.
Next, develop an action plan to address your priorities. Your school authority or school may have existing planning tools, blueprints, or frameworks to guide change. What these resources are called is not as important as what they include. Look for planning tools that incorporate:
- A carefully crafted goal
- Specific and measurable objectives
- Evidence-based ways to take action
- Connections to all four components of the CSH framework
- Clear indicators of success
Check out our top resources for prioritizing and planning in school health.