DENVER--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--RMC Health, in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Education, today announced it has been awarded a three-year, $8.75M grant from the Colorado Health Foundation for its Healthy Schools Colorado Initiative. The program will address childhood obesity and create a culture of health by implementing a coordinated approach to healthy schools in 12 Colorado school districts, supporting policy, systems and environmental changes and impacting more than 325,000 Colorado students from Kindergarten through grade 12.
“CDE is thrilled to partner with RMC Health to build awareness and advance healthy schools in Colorado. Through these wellness grants, ten smaller school districts will be able to increase capacity to implement school-wide policies and programs related to school health, and therefore drive student achievement and success.”
The grant expands on successful work conducted over the past three years in numerous Colorado school districts including improvements in school nutrition; healthy school environments; health and physical education; health services; and staff wellness.
“The initiative, which we have named ‘Healthy Schools Successful Students’, provides a framework for addressing critical health issues that can impact students’ academic success,” said Sharon Murray, President of RMC Health. “Students who eat healthier, engage in physical activity on a regular basis and have access to a variety of health-related services show consistently improved cognitive performance and enhanced educational achievement. We are excited the Colorado Health Foundation will help us bring this program and its successes to many more Colorado students and communities over the next three years.”
Specific programs that have already been implemented include community gardens, healthy classroom parties and focused efforts to encourage students to increase daily physical activity. Under this new grant, RMC Health will work with existing and new school districts to provide professional development to district-level coordinators and school-level leaders to implement, evaluate, and sustain effective policies and practices.
“Research shows that academic success is strongly linked to a student’s health. Providing a school environment that ensures that our children are served nutritious meals, have opportunities for exercise and access to basic health care is essential in creating a culture of health and helping our children succeed in school,” said Kelly Dunkin, vice president of philanthropy for the Colorado Health Foundation. “Colorado schools have made significant progress in terms of incorporating wellness policies and practices, and we see the Healthy School initiative as a vital tool in supporting and amplifying coordination in schools.”
In addition to the 12 districts that will be funded by RMC Health, the initiative will fund 10 districts through the Colorado Department of Education, for a total of 22 districts.
“The Colorado Department of Education is committed to the health and well-being of Colorado students. It is our mission to provide leadership in the creation of healthy school environments through effective partnerships and collaboration," said Sarah Mathew, Director of Health and Wellness, Colorado Department of Education. "CDE is thrilled to partner with RMC Health to build awareness and advance healthy schools in Colorado. Through these wellness grants, ten smaller school districts will be able to increase capacity to implement school-wide policies and programs related to school health, and therefore drive student achievement and success.”
The specific participating districts and schools will be announced later this year. Assessment of the outcomes of the Healthy Schools Colorado initiative will be ongoing, with data collected at the school level in physical education/activity, nutrition, and school health services. Data on professional development outcomes will also be collected throughout the life of the grant to assess participants’ use of knowledge and skills learned, degree of implementation, and quality of professional development opportunities.
About RMC Health
RMC Health is a non-profit organization in Lakewood, Colorado, that provides professional development and research-based training focused on school health. RMC Health works directly with school districts to improve the mental, physical, social, and emotional health of children and youth by providing innovative professional development—training, coaching, and resources—to district superintendents, school administrators, school health teachers, school nurses, and physical education teachers from across the state. RMC Health believes healthy students are more successful students. For more information, visit www.rmc.org.