Colorado School Districts awarded $1.5 Million for Social and Emotional Wellness Programs

May 16, 2017

The Colorado Education Initiative (CEI) is partnering with Kaiser Permanente to advance a culture of health and wellness at 13 schools in five Colorado school districts.

Earlier this month, Kaiser Permanente announced that five Colorado school districts will receive a combined $1.5 million in Thriving Schools behavioral health grants. The grants are designed to increase access to mental health and wellness programs.

As a part of the three-year grant, which will be awarded in August 2017, CEI will provide technical assistance, including advising, thought partnership, training, coaching, and facilitation. CEI will conduct nine full-day professional learning events for school and district teams, as well as an on-site training at each individual school. Two webinars will also be provided each year.

“A child’s mental health is greatly influenced by experiences at school,” said Douglas Newton, MD, Kaiser Permanente Colorado psychiatrist. “With these grants, we hope to support more Colorado teachers and staff as they continue to learn skills to identify mental health and wellness needs for themselves, their students, and the school community.”

Each school district has identified specific areas within their communities to where the funding will be applied to improve health and wellness efforts.

  • Boulder Valley School District will address the mental health and social emotional learning needs identified at Fairview High School, Nederland Middle-Senior High School, and Nederland Elementary School by providing teachers, staff and parents with professional learning through the Let’s Connect program — a comprehensive social and emotional training program for adults and students.
  • Cherry Creek School District will support the implementation of the Healthy Environments and Response to Trauma in Schools (HEARTS) program at Prairie Middle School — one of the largest and most diverse schools in Colorado. Its 1,780 students represent 70 countries and 45 different languages.
  • Fountain-Fort Carson School District will provide teachers and staff at Jordahl Elementary School, Fountain Middle School, and Welte Education Center with training focused on trauma-informed care and culturally sensitive practices. More than 8,000 students, including 4,600 students from military families, attend Fountain-Fort Carson School District.
  • Summit School District will support the SAFE KIDS Summit County project at Dillon Valley, Silverthorne, and Upper Blue elementary schools. Summit School District serves more than 3,500 students in the diverse mountain communities of Breckenridge, Dillon, Frisco, and Silverthorne.
  • Thompson School District will support In Focus at Lincoln Elementary School, Monroe Elementary School, and Truscott Elementary School. This program helps teachers and staff recognize their own emotions and limitations, and helps students manage their emotions, improve their focus, and gain self-control. Thompson School District serves more than 16,000 students in the communities of Loveland, Berthoud, and Fort Collins.

CEI’s work with Thriving Schools is part of a national effort by Kaiser Permanente to impact health in schools on a broad scale. In conjunction with the announcement of the grant recipients, Kaiser Permanente also launched Find Your Words, a public health awareness campaign that talks about depression in an honest and inspiring way. The “Find Your Words” campaign drives viewers to, a website that provides basic information about depression, offers resources and invites the public to engage in a conversation about mental health and wellness through an interactive component.