Build Awareness & Support
This is an H3
- To gain support from the district community
It is important to obtain support from your district community in order for the policy to be smoothly adopted and widely implemented.
Circulate the draft policy recommendations to district administrators, School Board members, school principals, and the community. Consider their recommendations while developing the policy.
Tips for Engaging Policymakers
From NASBE’s Fit, Healthy and Ready to Learn, A School Health Policy Guide
- Note serious problems and needs but emphasize proposed solutions and policy options
- From the outset, be forthcoming about anticipated costs
- Articulate measurable, short-term benefits, such as effects on student and staff attendance
- Use current data from credible sources as justification
- Stress how the proposal is consistent with existing policies and programs and sustains the board’s policy goals
- Highlight school health as an emerging trend that more and more boards are supporting
- Enlist the endorsement of the business community
- Suggest a pilot study if a broad-based policy or program does not gain support
- Make presentations at meetings and conferences that policymakers are likely to attend
- Involve students
You can use some of the resources in the Toolbox to help educate various audiences about your policy initiative. Enlist local media to spread awareness of the district's needs and community leaders to speak out in favor of the proposed solutions.
Be prepared for challenges that may arise and ensure that all spokespeople for the policy are providing a consistent message. Create a talking points sheet for articulation of a consistent message.
Sometimes it helps to share stories of other schools and districts that have succeeded in bringing sun safety to their students and staff. Success Stories from Colorado and other states may help build awareness and support for the policy by providing inspiration to you and your district.
Adapted from USDA Team Nutrition’s The Local Process: How to Create and Implement a Local Wellness Policy, and University of Southern California Prevention Solutions’ Alcohol & Drug Policy Resource Manual for Schools by Mary Ann Pentz, PhD. (Unpublished).