Colorado Schools to be Honored for Creating Healthy School Cultures

February 24, 2016

February 24, 2016

WHAT: Annual Colorado Healthy Schools Summit Celebrates Student Health Success
WHEN: Friday, March 4, from 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
WHERE: Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, 1550 Court Place, Denver, 80202

Denver, Colorado — Colorado schools are creating supportive school environments by improving on student health and wellness programs. They’re finding out that by teaching to the whole child their students’ academic and social successes improve significantly.

Forty-three schools will take center stage to be celebrated as 2016 Healthy School Champions at the 2016 Colorado Healthy Schools Summit: The Power of Collective Impact at 8 a.m. Friday, March 4. The summit is presented by The Colorado Education Initiative (CEI) and Colorado Healthy Schools Collective Impact, and sponsored by The Colorado Health Foundation will recognize schools for their successful health and wellness efforts. See the entire list of 2016 Healthy School Champions.

“No matter how good the teaching, how interesting the curriculum or how beautiful the school is, students will not achieve unless they are healthy, feel safe, and have the ability to navigate challenging issues in their lives,” said CEI President and CEO Glenna Norvelle. “This annual event allows us to celebrate schools that have successfully demonstrated the critical link between student health and academic achievement.”

The $7,500 Platinum Governor’s Award for School Health and Wellness goes to Leadville’s Lake County Intermediate School in the Lake County School District — a school that knew physical activity could improve their school’s culture and tried creative and simple solutions to incorporate healthy habits.

Health and wellness is a core part of Lake County Intermediate School’s instructional model and it includes attention to all elements of school health: health education, physical activity, socio-emotional and mental health, and nutrition for students and staff.

“We know that physical activity helps kids stay focused in the classroom, so we started making small changes to integrate physical activity by making classroom brain breaks mandatory,” said Lake County Principal Stephanie Gallegos. “Our awesome PE teacher supported our teachers with resources, along with fun and easy brain-break activities they could do indoors. Our classroom behavioral issues have gone down by just giving our students these breaks they need to be their best.”

Schools are awarded based on their implementation of best practices in school health through an assessment tool called Colorado Healthy Schools Smart Source, a narrative outlining their work, and letters of support.

“For the winning schools, health and wellness is embedded into the culture and systems. It’s about having an intentional investment to meet the needs of their students and staff in order to achieve academically,” said CEI Health and Wellness director Amy Dyett.

Lake County Intermediate School’s PE teacher Megan Leirfallom has noticed that her students’ enthusiasm for daily activity continues to grow. “We’re doing a 100-mile challenge that simulates the Leadville Trail 100 race and for every lap they run, students get a dot on their arm. They’ve been so proud to show off their dots,” she said. “Parents think it’s awesome that their kids are so proud of their accomplishment. We are letting our kids know that it’s cool to be healthy, it’s cool to be a runner, and it’s cool to be in PE.”

In its six years, the Colorado Healthy Schools program has granted more than $250,000 in awards in the range of $300 to $7,500 per school. Register now to celebrate with us in March:

Contact Information:
Melissa Reeves
720-502-4756 work
303-856-8098 cell

About The Colorado Education Initiative
The Colorado Education Initiative is an independent nonprofit working in partnership with the Colorado Department of Education, educators, schools, districts, and other public education stakeholders to unlock the unique potential of every student by incubating innovation, shining a spotlight on success, and investing in sustainable change that improves outcomes for all students. CEI envisions that every student in Colorado is prepared and unafraid to succeed in school, work, and life, and ready to take on the challenges of today, tomorrow, and beyond.

About Colorado’s Healthy Schools Collective Impact
Colorado’s Healthy Schools Collective Impact represents a diverse set of stakeholders who are passionate about students, health, and education in Colorado. Working together, we are partnering in new, better ways — thanks to a deliberate investment of time and money. Our vision is that all Colorado youth are healthy and reach their full potential. Our bold goal, is that by 2025, all Colorado K12 public schools provide an environment and culture that integrates health and wellness equitably for all students and staff.

About The Colorado Health Foundation
The Colorado Health Foundation works to make Colorado the healthiest state in the nation by ensuring that all Colorado kids are fit and healthy and that all Coloradans achieve stable, affordable and adequate health coverage to improve their health with support from a network of primary health care and community services. To advance our mission, the Foundation engages the community through grantmaking, public policy and advocacy, private sector engagement, strategic communications, evaluation for learning and assessment and by operating primary care residency training programs. For more information, please visit