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This week’s healthy schools highlights

Recess before lunch helps kids focus on meals, learning

A growing number of elementary schools in the Douglas County School District schedule recess before lunch, part of a national trend to improve student health. Read more in the Denver Post.

Eldorado K-8 students encouraged to make salad rainbows

Sunny Young is hoping a tried-and-true method of getting kids to try new veggies will entice more Boulder


Valley elementary students to eat more at their school salad bars. Read more in the Daily Camera.

Poudre’s PE programs get $880,000

Students in Poudre School District will benefit from a more comprehensive wellness approach to physical education and new P.E. equipment thanks to a generous $882,127 grant from the Colorado Health Foundation.

The 3 ½ year Physical Education Road Map to Excellence grant will help Poudre School District P.E. teachers learn about and implement the new state P.E. curriculum standards for students, which were announced last year for implementation in fall 2011. PSD was among the first round of school districts in Colorado to receive grant money from the Colorado Health Foundation to address the new standards.

The PERE money will allow teachers to work together and with experts to develop or purchase a new high-quality, standards-based district P.E. curriculum that will be shared among schools. Money will also be given to each PSD school for new P.E. equipment to compliment the new curriculum.

“PSD students will benefit immediately by participating in a new, research-based curriculum, but also in the long run as they develop lifelong wellness skills,” said Todd Lambert, PSD director of curriculum, instruction and assessment.

Some grant money will also be used to help pay for the development of a high-quality professional development program for P.E. teachers.

Youth Wellness Day on tap in Poudre School District

Youth Wellness Day: Healthy Choices Matter! to be held on Saturday, April 9, will offer free health screenings, exercise/fitness activities, and health awareness information to all students of Poudre School District.

The event will provide health screenings for asthma, dental health, diabetes, mental health, and weight management. This first year free event will take place at from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Rocky Mountain High School, 1300 West Swallow Road in Fort Collins.

Materials on food allergy/anaphylaxis support, immunizations, and tobacco cessation will also be available. In addition, eligible students will be able to enroll in the free CHP/Medicaid health care coverage program that day.

“This will be a very informative and exciting, educational event for students and their families in our school district”, said Dr. John James, allergy and asthma specialist with Colorado Asthma and Allergy in Fort Collins.

James spearheaded this event with the Poudre School District and their Food Allergy Task Force then gained interest and partnership with the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment, Poudre Valley Hospital, Health District of Northern Larimer County, Poudre Fire Authority, and local parent support groups.  Coordinators of Youth Wellness Day are also talking with other leaders in the community such as CSU, Front Range Community College, and Team Fort Collins for their availability to participate.  All students of Poudre School District as well as home schooled students, and incoming new students are encouraged to attend.

For more information, contact Julie Trone, chief executive officer of Allergy Free Table, at 970-672-6288 or e-mail her at Julie@allergyfreetable.com. Or contact Darcie Votipka, director of PSD Student Services, at 970-490-3033 or dvotipka@psdschools.org.

About our First Person series:

First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.