Colorado Healthy Schools Smart Source


Colorado’s School Health Inventory

Research shows that healthy students are better learners. That’s why it’s important to identify policies and programs that support healthy behaviors.

A new streamlined tool available in Colorado allows all K-12 public schools to inventory their health efforts to help ensure students are healthy and ready to learn. Colorado Healthy Schools Smart Source replaces various state and national data collection efforts to provide schools with meaningful data and reduce the burden of multiple school health tools. It serves as the Colorado tool for understanding school health policy and practice. Through Smart Source, schools can:

  • Reflect on their existing efforts.
  • Identify strengths and gaps as compared to other schools across the state.
  • Identify best practices for addressing student health and safety.

Navigating the Smart Source Report

Tool Content

Smart Source is aligned with both the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model and the Coordinated School Health model. Smart Source assesses school health efforts across nine areas:

  • General health policies and practices
  • Nutrition
  • Physical education and activity
  • Health education
  • Health services
  • Counseling, psychological, and social services
  • Healthy and safe school environments
  • Family, community, and student involvement
  • Staff health promotion

Data Utility

Schools can use Smart Source data to:

  • Identify areas of need related to health.
  • Make the case for:
    • Resources such as funding and community partnerships
    • Policy change at the state, district, and school levels
    • Implementation of new programs
  • Garner support for school health efforts from school board members, administrators, parents, students, teachers, and communities.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of school health policies and practices over time.


Smart Source was developed with input from hundreds of stakeholders across Colorado, including school and district personnel, content experts, and state agency representatives.

In fall 2014, 77 schools participated in the first pilot of Smart Source. Data from this pilot were used to further refine the Smart Source tool in advance of the 2015-16 pilot.

In fall 2015, 451 schools from across the state participated in the second Smart Source pilot. This level of participation allowed for meaningful comparison data at the state level. Regional-level data was also provided for those regions with enough participation.

School-level results from the 2015-16 pilot, including comparison data, were returned to schools in February 2016. An executive summary of the 2015-16 pilot will be available in Fall 2016.

Fall 2016 Survey Administration

The Smart Source inventory is accessible online September. 6, 2016 – January 20, 2017. Interested schools will receive a unique link to the online tool upon designation of a site coordinator. Site coordinators should plan to spend 1-3 hours working with other staff to collect the information and complete the tool online.

In addition to school-level reports, schools will also have access to technical assistance and an opportunity to attend regional trainings in spring 2017 on how to best use their data.

To sign up, contact Christine Williams at or 720-502-4752.

Smart Source assessment tool — See the assessment tool and individual items.

Smart Source FAQs — Get answers to your questions.

Smart Source one-page overview — Read a quick overview of the Smart Source program.

Smart Source sample school report — elementary
See an example of reports received by schools.

Smart Source sample school report — secondary
See an example of reports received by schools.

Healthy Schools Best Practices Guide — See an overview of best practices in school health.

Smart Source 2015-16 pilot executive summary – See results for the second pilot.

Smart Source 2014-15 pilot executive summary — See results from the first pilot.

2016 Healthy School Champions Magazine — Read about schools that excel at creating health and wellness programs that support student learning.

Action Plan Framework – Build your school’s action plan.

Webinar: Navigating the Smart Source Report
Watch the recording from April 5, 2017 for a general overview of the Smart Source report.

Twenty-five percent — or 451 Colorado schools — volunteered to participate in the 2015-16 Smart Source tool and for the first time in Colorado, there is information that tells us what schools are doing to comprehensively impact students’ health.

2015-16 Statewide Data

Download the following Excel spreadsheets to view 2015-16 Smart Source data.

*The district-size aggregate represents data combined within various district sizes, not individual district results.

Smart Source data help schools compare their policies and practices related to school health and safety to other schools around the state, large and small, elementary, secondary, and combined school levels. Schools can use the data to:

  • Identify needs.
  • Make the case for resources.
  • Make the case for policy change.
  • Garner support for school health programs.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of policies and practices.

Smart Source Fast Facts:

  • Over 73 percent of participating schools have wellness teams that guide improvements in school health and wellness.
  • One in only seven participating secondary schools give students a seat at the table when building positive school culture.
  • 96 percent of participating elementary schools incorporate physical activity breaks in the classroom, but only 61 percent of secondary schools do.
  • More than 77 percent of participating schools do not allow students to purchase soft drinks at school; 64 percent prohibit soft drink advertisements in their buildings.

CEI does not share any identifiable school and district-level data to anyone other than the participating school and district. State and local agencies, nonprofits, program providers, researchers, and other groups are encouraged to access the aggregated results above.

Although this level of participation in a pilot is unprecedented, data should not be considered representative of all Colorado schools and should only be considered representative of the schools that participated.

Colorado Healthy School Champions

The Colorado Healthy School Champions recognition program is open now through January 20, 2017.  As a reminder, Healthy School Champions Recognition uses Smart Source exclusively to assess components of school health and requires the completion of an application and three letters of support.  View more information and the application process.

Wondering who won last year?  43 schools were recognized as Healthy School Champions at the 2016 Colorado Healthy Schools Summit. Lake County Intermediate School received the Platinum Governor’s Award for School Health & Wellness. Read about all of the 2016 Healthy School Champions and their commitment to school health.

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