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Healthy schools summit set for Nov. 9

More than 300 educators, school board members and health care providers are expected to attend the filled-to-capacity 2010 Healthy Schools Summit on Tuesday, Nov. 9, to learn about innovative ways to create respectful school environments and improve health education, nutrition, physical activity, school health services and workplace wellness in Colorado schools.

The timing coincides with November being declared Healthy Schools Month in Colorado.

The event is jointly hosted by the Colorado Department of Education, the Colorado Legacy Foundation and Colorado Connections for Healthy Schools. The summit will feature local and national experts on priority school health issues, including bullying prevention.

The agenda includes a bullying prevention panel of national and local speakers from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), National Center for School Engagement and Colorado School Safety Resource Center.

Research shows that the national suicide rate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) students is three to four times higher than that of their straight counterparts in part due to bullying and harassment.

In Colorado, 57 percent of LGBTQ students who were harassed or assaulted in middle and high schools never reported it to school staff, according to findings of the 2007 national school climate survey conducted by GLSEN. (See CLF’s Health & Wellness Best Practices Guide for data.)

The summit – also sponsored by the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado, Kaiser Permanente and Western Dairy Association – is tailored to superintendents, school district administrators, teachers, coordinated school health team members, community health and wellness agencies, health care providers, and school board members.

Lt. Governor Barbara O’Brien, State Board of Education Member Elaine Gantz Berman and Colorado Legacy Foundation Executive Director Helayne Jones, will make opening remarks. Keynote Speaker Howell Wechsler, director of the division of adolescent and school health for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will speak to the critical link between health and education.

As part of the summit, Commissioner of Education Dwight D. Jones will recognize 15 schools with the first-ever Commissioner and Healthy Schools Scorecard Awards. Schools used the Healthy School Champion Scorecard created by Colorado Connections for Healthy Schools to be considered for recognition. Scorecards and mini-grants are funded by The Colorado Health Foundation.

Each winning school demonstrated success in involving communities, families and students in school wellness as well as focusing on health education; health services; nutrition; physical education and activity; staff wellness; school counseling, psychological and social work services; and healthy school environments.

The following top 15 schools will be recognized at the summit:

$5,000 grant winners

  • Animas Valley Elementary School, Durango School District
  • East Grand Middle School, East Grand School District
  • Gunnison High School, Gunnison Watershed School District
  • Skyline Elementary School, Canon City School District
  • Ute Pass Elementary School, Manitou Springs School District

$1,000 grant winners:

  • B. F. Kitchen Elementary School, Thompson School District
  • Campo Elementary School, Campo School District
  • Coal Creek Canyon K-8 School, Jefferson County School District
  • Emerald Elementary School, Boulder Valley School District
  • Fowler Elementary School, Fowler School District
  • Fraser Valley Elementary School, East Grand School District
  • Ignacio Elementary School, Ignacio School District
  • Manitou Springs Elementary School, Manitou Springs School District
  • Mountain View Elementary School, Adams 12 Five Star Schools
  • Rocky Mountain High School, Poudre School District

Revised health and wellness guide

To coincide with the summit, the Colorado Legacy Foundation also has updated its online Health & Wellness Best Practices Guide for Colorado schools and districts—including having recently added a new bullying prevention section to quickly point schools toward what works without having to search through countless bullying prevention resources. The online guide offers data, best practices, action steps, and success stories for educators, parents and community members who want to create safer, healthier schools.

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