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This week's healthy schools highlights

Healthy schools champions sought

Did you know that Colorado Action for Healthy Kids has a School Champion Program? The goal is to recruit, build, and train a statewide network of designated school wellness advocates to serve as Action for Healthy Kids liaisons in their school districts, to engage and mentor other parents, and to share information about school wellness issues and opportunities. To learn more, visit this web page or send an e-mail to

Playworks reinvents recess

nationalnonprofit is providing safe, healthy and inclusive play to local schools. Recently, Denver’s 7News showed how Denver’s Johnson Elementary School got kids moving (and reduced playground fighting) by incorporating Playworks into its curriculum. Playworks, with local support from the Colorado Health Foundation, also received national attention from ABC’s Good Morning America.

Legacy Foundation announces healthy schools grants

The Colorado Legacy Foundation is releasing a new round of competitive grants to be awarded to Colorado K-12 school districts, Colorado BOCES and charter schools to advance best practices in health and wellness as an evidence-based strategy to improve student and school climate outcomes. The grant guidelines and application are available on the Colorado Legacy Foundation’s website. Grant proposals that most closely align goals and objectives with the Colorado Legacy Foundation’s Health and Wellness Best Practices Guide for Colorado School Districts will be more favorably considered.

Putting Policy into Practice for Healthy Colorado School Districts Grants will provide:

  • Funding of $10,000/year for two years is available to at least six schools districts, BOCES or charter schools to put policy informed by the Colorado Legacy Foundation’s Health and Wellness Best Practices Guide for Colorado School Districts into practice.
  • The awards will cover a two-year grant cycle (July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2013).
  • In order to qualify for the two years of funding, organizations must address two or more of the following areas: comprehensive health education, nutrition, physical activity, school health services, and workplace wellness.
  • Only one proposal will be considered per applicant organization.

Grant Submissions must be received by 5 p.m. April 15. Applications can be submitted by mail, e-mail or hand delivery to: Stephanie Wasserman, director of Health and Wellness for the Colorado Legacy Foundation, 1660 Lincoln St., Suite 1680, Denver, Colo. 80263 or

Dist. 6 School Wellness Policy Committee seeks members

The District 6 Nutrition Services department invites Greeley and Evans community members to contribute to the development, implementation and evaluation of the district’s school wellness policy by serving on the School Wellness Policy Committee.

This committee is charged with ensuring that the district’s school wellness policy addresses nutrition and physical activity recommendations and requirements, and that the policy is implemented and adhered to. Currently, the committee has a focus on the return to scratch cooking for school meal programs.

The committee is currently seeking additional parents, students, community residents, and District 6 staff members to serve on the committee. This committee meets on a quarterly basis, and each committee member is asked to serve for at least one year.

Applicants will be selected by the current School Wellness Policy Committee members. For an application, contact Applications are due by March 11.

Weld County Schools earn national well workplace award

Greeley’s District 6 has been listed among America’s healthiest organizations as a result of winning a Silver Standard Award from the Wellness Councils of America.

District 6 is part of a larger community initiative involving many businesses in Greeley working toward a Well City designation. The primary requirement for achieving this designation is about 20 percent of the community’s working population must be employed by a designated “Well Workplace” award-winning company.

Among the activities that helped District 6 earn the award are annual blood screenings, the yearly Great Holiday Weigh contest, annual flu shot clinics, efforts to provide healthier alternatives in vending machines, health information programs, and securing grant funding to provide services. Read more about the district’s wellness policy.

Healthy Kids to benefit from grant

The Colorado Health Foundation has awarded Boulder County $371,470 to increase children’s and families’ access to public health insurance. Boulder County officials said the grant, to be paid over the coming two years, will benefit the Boulder County Healthy Kids initiative, which enrolls pregnant women and eligible children and their families in Medicaid and the Child Health Plan Plus. Read more in the Longmont Times-Call.

Four more Denver high schools to get new fitness centers

Denver Public Schools has selected four high schools to receive state-of-the-art fitness centers, thanks to a grant from The Colorado Health Foundation.

The district currently has four Sound Body Sound Mind fitness centers at four different Denver high schools across the city, and thanks to a $495,455 grant from The Colorado Health Foundation, there will be eight fitness centers total to provide staff and community members with a low-cost, convenient way to exercise in the afternoons and evenings.

The following sites were chosen for the new fitness centers:

  • John F. Kennedy High School, located in Southwest Denver
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Early College, located in Far Northeast Denver
  • North High School, located in Northwest Denver
  • West High School, located in Central Denver

Construction on the new fitness centers will begin in June. All fitness centers are expected to be open to the public by the time school begins in August. The district’s Sound Body Sound Mind fitness centers directly support the newly approved health goals in the DPS Health Agenda 2015. The cost of the fitness centers is $10 per semester for DPS staff and $15 per semester for parents and community members. Students are not charged a fee to use the fitness centers. Adults must have a physician release prior to using the fitness centers.

The state-of-the-art fitness centers include Matrix and SPRI fitness equipment. Personal trainers with the American College of Sports Medicine certification are also on site to prescribe exercise for adults with medical issues.

Aurora PE teacher honored

Aurora West College Preparatory Academy’s Andrea McCarthy will be honored as the Central District Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education at its national convention in San Diego, Calif., March 29-April 1.

The Central District represents a nine-state area from Colorado to Minnesota. The award is given in recognition of outstanding teaching performance at the middle school level and the ability to motivate today’s youth to participate in a lifetime of physical activity.

McCarthy, a physical education teacher for 17 years, nine at Aurora West College Preparatory Academy, will vie with three other district winners for the National Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award at this year’s convention.

McCarthy’s physical education program focuses on a pilot program she learned from professional fitness trainer, Chad Jones and the Sport Xcel Foundation called the Sport Xcel Fitness Model – engaging students in different warm-up routines, dynamic stretches and exercises with or without equipment. Under this model, McCarthy looks to infuse fitness into skill development.

School clinic gives kids healthy dose of services

When Laredo Elementary School fourth-grader Carlos Estrada had pink eye, his parents didn’t have to miss work and drive him miles away to the doctor. Carlos merely walked down the hall of his school for help at the new low-cost, school-based health clinic. Staffers there gave him some medicine. Read more in the Denver Post.

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