Consider the following strategies when identifying schools to work with:
- Obtain a contact name at the School Board that has an interest in student health issues or has health-related issues as part of their portfolio. Sometimes a Superintendent will be assigned to act as the liaison to Public Health and/or community health agencies.
- Send a letter to this School Board contact outlining the program and commitment needed from the Board.
- Offer to make a presentation to a School Board committee.
- Provide an outline of the program and ask the Board contact to send out a memo or email asking school administrators if they are interested in participating in the asthma project and if so to contact you directly.
- Offer to speak at a meeting of school administrators (e.g. monthly principal's meeting) and have interested people sign up to get more information. Follow up with them after the presentation.
- Every school in Ontario is bound by law to have a School Council in place involving parents. Obtain the name of the School Council Chair through the school secretary or School Board website and offer to make a presentation on managing asthma in schools. If any of the parents in attendance have a child with asthma that's a great way to get in the door.
- Connect with your local Public Health Unit (child health or school-based program) to find out if there are any schools already identified by the public health staff as wanting and/or needing asthma education and support. Many public health nurses in the school program work with schools in a comprehensive way and participate on school health committees. There may be opportunities via these committees to introduce asthma into the school setting.
Lung Association and Asthma Society of Canada
- The Lung Association and Asthma Society of Canada provide resources and support regarding asthma. Schools and parents may contact them directly for information and assistance in handling asthma related issues. This might be a good place to identify schools already interested in asthma. The often keep a list of schools to work with.
- Laps for Lungs is an awareness/fundraising program available to every school in Ontario. Contact your coordinator to find out what schools they have been into previously or plan on going into and follow up with those schools and/or suggest collaborating with Laps for Lungs to provide the asthma activities together e.g. assembly.
Health Care Providers:
If you are a health care provider seeing paediatric patients in an office, clinic or community health centre setting for example, it can be helpful to find out what schools your patients attend. You may begin to notice clusters of patients attending the same school which might lead to you to pursue answers to questions such as:
- How is the school managing asthma issues?
- Would the school be interested in learning more about asthma and its management?
- Would the school be receptive to implementing the CAFS Resource Kit?
From performing an environmental scan you will get a sense of whether or not asthma is an issue in the school(s), whether or not asthma is on the school community’s radar screen and an idea of supports and barriers.