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School Health Advisory Councils

A SHAC is a group of individuals representing segments of the community, appointed by the school district to serve at the district level, to provide advice to the district on coordinated school health programming and its impact on student health and learning. SHACs provide an efficient, effective structure for creating and implementing age-appropriate, sequential health education programs, and early intervention and prevention strategies that can easily be supported by local families and community stakeholders.

 

What is a School Health Advisory Council (SHAC)?

Coordinated School Health (CSH) is a systemic approach of advancing student academic performance by promoting, practicing and coordinating school health education and services for the benefit and well-being of students in establishing healthy behaviors designed to last their lifetime.

 

Benefits of Having a SHAC

  1. Addressing the health needs of students through the work of the SHAC, helps meet district performance goals and alleviates financial constraints.
  2. SHACs play an important role in communicating the connection between health and learning to school administrators, parents and community stakeholders.
  3. SHACs can help parents and community stakeholders reinforce the health knowledge and skills children need to be healthy for a lifetime.

SHAC Laws in Texas

Every independent school system is required by law to have a School District Health Advisory Council; of which the majority of members must be parents who are not employed by the school district. Title 2, Chapter 28, Section 28.004 of the Texas Education Code details the specifics of this mandate.

 

HB 1525 Updates

 

School Health Advisory Councils (SHAC) & Wellness Policy FAQ

School Health Advisory Council (SHAC)

The Texas Education Code §28.004 specifies that the board of trustees of each school district is required to establish a local School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) to assist the district in ensuring that local community values are reflected in the district's health education instruction. In addition, a school district must consider the recommendations of the local school health advisory council before changing the district's health education curriculum or instruction.
 

EDUCATION CODE CHAPTER 28. COURSES OF STUDY; ADVANCEMENT (texas.gov)

The duties of the SHAC specified in the Texas Education Code §28.004 include recommending:
  • the number of hours of instruction to be provided in: health education in kindergarten through 8th grade; and if the school district requires health education for high school graduation, health education, including physical health education and mental health education, in grades 9 - 12;
  • policies, procedures, strategies, and curriculum appropriate for specific grade levels designed to prevent physical health concerns, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and mental health concerns, including suicide, through coordination of:
    • health education, which must address physical health concerns and mental health concerns;
    • physical education and physical activity;
    • nutrition services;
    • parental involvement;
    • instruction on substance abuse prevention;
    • school health services, including mental health services;
    • a comprehensive school counseling program;
    • a safe and healthy school environment; and
    • school employee wellness;
  • appropriate grade levels and methods of instruction for human sexuality instruction;
  • strategies for integrating the curriculum components specified by above in a coordinated school health program for the district:
    • school health services, including physical health services and mental health services;
    • a comprehensive school counseling program;
    • a safe and healthy school environment; and
    • school employee wellness;
  • joint use agreements or strategies for collaboration between the school district and community organizations or agencies; and
  • strategies to increase parental awareness regarding:
    • risky behaviors and early warning signs of suicide risks and behavioral health concerns, including mental health disorders and substance use disorders; and
    • available community programs and services that address risky behaviors, suicide risks, and behavioral health concerns
  • appropriate grade levels and curriculum for instruction regarding opioid addiction and abuse and methods of administering an opioid antagonist.
  • The Texas Education Code §28.004(c)(3) specifies that the local school health advisory council's duties include recommending appropriate grade levels and methods of instruction for human sexuality instruction.
     
    The Texas Education Code §28.004(e) requires that any course materials and instruction relating to human sexuality, sexually transmitted diseases, or human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome be selected by the board of trustees with the advice of the local school health advisory council.
     

    EDUCATION CODE CHAPTER 28. COURSES OF STUDY; ADVANCEMENT (texas.gov)

The Texas Education Code §28.004 specifies that the majority of members of the SHAC must be parents of students enrolled in the district who are not employed by the district. A parent is required to serve as chair or co-chair of the local SHAC.
 
In addition, the board of trustees shall appoint at least five members to the local SHAC. The board may appoint individuals from the following groups or representatives from other groups:
  • classroom teachers employed by the district;
  • school counselors employed by the district;
  • school administrators employed by the district;
  • district students;
  • health care professionals licensed or certified to practice in this state, including medical or mental health professionals;
  • the business community;
  • law enforcement;
  • senior citizens;
  • the clergy;
  • nonprofit health organizations; and
  • local domestic violence programs.
Yes, The Texas Education Code §28.004 (l-1) requires the SHAC to establish a physical activity and fitness planning subcommittee. The purpose of the subcommittee is to consider issues related to student physical activity and fitness and make policy recommendations to increase physical activity and improve fitness among students.
 
Recommendations made by the physical activity and fitness planning subcommittee should be included in the SHAC’s annual report to the board.
The Texas Education Code §28.004(d-1) specifies that local SHACs must meet at least four times during the school year.
Yes, HB 1525 passed during the 87th legislative session amended the Texas Education Code §28.004(d-1 and d-2) to include the following additional requirements for SHAC meetings:
  • At least 72 hours prior to the meeting, notice of the meeting (date, hour, location, meeting topics) must be posted on a bulleting board in the central administrative office of each campus in the district and be posted on the district’s] website.
  • Prepare and maintain minutes of the meeting, including the subject and deliberation of each vote, decision, or action taken by the SHAC.
  • Make an audio or video recording of the meeting and submit the recording to the district within 10 days of the meeting.
  • The district must post the minutes and recording of the meeting as soon as practicable on the district’s website.
 
A copy of HB 1525 can be found at the following web address: 87(R) HB 1525 - Enrolled version - Bill Text (texas.gov)
Aside from the specified duties in the Texas Education Code, local SHACs can provide valuable feedback to the school district on topics related to school health. The Texas School Health Advisory Committee (TSHAC) has compiled numerous resources to support local SHACs.  One document the TSHAC developed is titled “Topics for Local SHAC Meetings” – this resource includes a list of potential topics SHACs may want to consider addressing.  The resource can be found at the following web address: School Health Advisory Committee: Resources (texas.gov)
The Texas Education Code §28.004 specifies that the local SHAC must submit an annual written report to the board that includes:
  • any SHAC recommendation concerning the school district's health education curriculum and instruction;
  • any suggested modification to a SHAC recommendation previously submitted to the board;
  • a detailed explanation of the SHAC's activities during the period between the date of the current report and the date of the last prior written report; and
  • any recommendations made by the physical activity and fitness planning subcommittee of the SHAC.
 
The TSHAC has developed a PowerPoint presentation template to assist local SHACs with their annual report to the board. This template may be downloaded from the TSHAC website at the following web address: School Health Advisory Committee: Resources (texas.gov)
No, the Texas Education Code 28.004which discusses local SHACs does not pertain to public charter schools. It would be considered a best practice for a public charter school to have a SHAC, but it is not a requirement.
 
No, a district of innovation is required to comply with the state and federal provisions that are applicable to an open-enrollment charter school operating under the Texas Education Code, Subchapter D, Chapter 12. The Texas Education Code 28.004 which discusses local SHACs does not pertain to public charter schools, thus it would not be required of a district of innovation unless the district has identified having a SHAC in their plan.  It would be considered best practice for the district of innovation to have a SHAC.
 
 
HB 1525 did not change the applicability of TEC §28.004 in reference to charter schools or Districts of Innovation (DOI) that have opted out of this section and have not listed having a SHAC in their DOI plan. Therefore, the changes made by HB 1525 to TEC §28.004, do not apply to such school systems.
For more information on SHACs and a downloadable guidebook, visit the Texas Department of State Health Services, School Health Advisory Council Website: School Health Advisory Councils (texas.gov)

 

Wellness Policy

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires all LEAs that participate in the National School Lunch Program and/or the School Breakfast Program to have a Wellness Policy.
 

Local School Wellness Policy | USDA-FNS

The Wellness Policy is intended to be a tool for LEAs to utilize to promote student health and wellness, reduce childhood obesity, and provide assurance that school meals meet federal standards. The Wellness Policy should include specific goals for nutrition education and promotion, physical activity, and other school-based activities that promote student wellness.  Guidelines should also be included for all food and beverages sold or provided during the school day.
The Wellness Plan is a written document that provides guidance on how the board-approved Wellness Policy will be implemented within the LEA. Specific strategies and actions steps for accomplishing goals set in the Wellness Policy are detailed within the Wellness Plan.
Yes, in Texas LEAs are required to have both the Wellness Policy and the Wellness Plan in order to meet the requirements of both the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 and USDA federal rules.
The Local Wellness Policy and Plan should be developed by the Local School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) or a similar group that contains a broad group of representatives. Parents, students, school food service staff, physical education teachers, school health professionals, the school board, school administrators, and the general public should all have the opportunity to participate in the development of the Local School Wellness Policy and Plan.
Yes, the Local Wellness Policy requires approval of the School Board. The Wellness Plan provides information on how the LEA will implement the Wellness Policy and does not require approval of the School Board.
At a minimum, LEAs must evaluate their wellness policy at least once every three years. The results of the wellness policy assessment must be made available to the public.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Local School Wellness Policy Website: Local Wellness Policy (squaremeals.org)
 
The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) Square Meals website: Local Wellness Policy (squaremeals.org)
 
The Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) has developed Wellness Policy and Wellness Plan templates, which are available on their website at the following web address: Student Health and Wellness (tasb.org)