A new set of grants worth more than $9 million will enable 22 Colorado districts to advance physical activity and nutrition initiatives in their districts and build school-level health and wellness teams over the next one to three years.
The project, called “Healthy Schools, Successful Students,” will be administered by RMC Health, a non-profit provider of professional development focused on school health. It is an expansion of a grant-funded project that began four years with a smaller number of districts.
Sharon Murray, executive director of RMC Health, said one of the key goals of the project is to ensure the long-term sustainability of health and wellness efforts even after the grants end.
“We want it to be just part of…the fabric of their school district,” she said.
Most of the districts will use the grant funding to pay for district-level health and wellness coordinators. In addition to focusing on physical activity and nutrition efforts, the coordinators will be able to pick another focus area within the Coordinated School Health model, such as mental health services or staff wellness.
Since project criteria stipulating that participating districts must impact 80-100 percent of students through their health advancement efforts, the work could potentially affect 328,000 students across the state. Twelve of the districts will be funded through an $8.75 million three-year grant from the Colorado Health Foundation. Ten of the smaller districts will be funded by a three-year state appropriation through the Colorado Department of Education, with the first-year sum totaling $375,000.
Among the participating districts in this grant cycle are seven that are continuing: Dougco, Jeffco, Poudre, Adams 50, Academy 20, Falcon and Harrison. New grantees include nine stand-alone districts: Adams 12 Five Star, Brighton, Thompson, Center Consolidated, Cripple Creek-Victor, Englewood, Lake County, Manitou Springs and Woodland Park. The new grantees also include three regions: the East Grand and West Grand districts; the Canon City and Fremont RE-2 districts; and the South Routt and Hayden districts.