Colorado’s Healthy Schools Collective Impact

A Collaborative Effort

UPDATE: Spark Policy Institute selected as new backbone organization of Colorado Healthy Schools Collective Impact.

After reflecting on the role of collective impact backbone organizations and considering alignment with CEI’s mission, CEI has opted to transition the backbone functions to an organization that has significant experience with collective impact — and is less embedded in healthy schools content.

Following a proposal and review process, Spark Policy Institute was selected as the organization for HSCI. The steering committee is confident that Spark’s experience leading large-scale systems change and stewarding collective impact efforts is exactly what is needed to move the work forward.

CEI will maintain a role on the steering committee and work groups to provide content expertise in the areas of physical, social, emotional, and behavioral health.

The work continues for organizations that champion health and wellness in Colorado’s schools. No more working in silos. We are collaborating in new ways to better meet schools’ needs so that more students are healthier and achieve at higher levels.

We represent a diverse set of stakeholders who are passionate about students, health, and education in Colorado. Working together as Colorado Healthy Schools Collective Impact, we are partnering in new, better ways — thanks to a deliberate investment of time and money.

  • Vision: All Colorado youth are healthy and reach their full potential.
  • Bold goal: By 2025, all Colorado K-12 public schools provide an environment and culture that integrates health and wellness equitably for all students and staff.

What we do – and why

Healthy students learn better

National research shows what educators and parents know — students who are emotionally well, present, and engaged are better learners. Gaps in educational achievement fall along similar lines as disparate outcomes in health, with students of color and students from economically disadvantaged homes more likely to have lower health and academic outcomes.

Children learn best when they are healthy and safe — and when they feel connected to their school. An investment in healthy schools can improve student success and cultivate life-long healthy behaviors.

Working together is better

One program or organization cannot address large-scale issues on its own. Our impact goes further when we work together toward a common agenda.

The good news — Colorado has many champions of healthy schools. The bad news — schools are inundated with information and don’t hear a consistent message or see a clear path forward.

We aim to maximize reach and impact by more efficiently managing resources, measuring needs and gaps in a systematic way, and implementing shared strategies to improve the health of Colorado’s children.

We are addressing four key content areas:

  • Comprehensive physical activity
  • Nutrition
  • Behavioral health (social, emotional and mental)
  • Student health services

We are defining the work around six key strategies:

  • Marketing, communication, and engagement
  • Staffing and training
  • Policy, advocacy, and accountability
  • Data, research, and evaluation
  • Standards and best practices
  • Funding

Our objectives are to:

  • Coordinate efforts—such as streamlining grant application processes and reporting requirements for schools.
  • Engage those impacted by the work—including districts and schools, parents, students, funders, and organizations that champion healthy schools.
  • Gather consistent data—coordinate surveys and systems to collect data from schools.
  • Use consistent communication—create a shared definition of a healthy school, and produce a one-stop shop for data and resources related to priority school health strategies.
  • Support core capacity for schools and districts—provide funding, staffing, resources, technical assistance, and more based on schools’ individual needs.
  • Develop shared policy priorities—use school feedback and data to drive policy decisions and implementation.

Who we are

Colorado’s schools are making efforts to implement best practices in school health, but they cannot do it alone. Supporting healthy schools requires all of us to work together — and smarter — to get better results for children.

The organizations that get involved in Colorado’s Healthy Schools Collective Impact are passionate, and have expertise and proven track records when it comes to building healthy school environments and implementing best practices in school health.

Steering Committee

Work groups

We have recruited work group members from all over Colorado who represent nonprofit organizations, businesses, state agencies, schools, and districts.

Through October 2015, the work groups met according to four content areas:
Comprehensive physical activity, nutrition, behavioral health (social, emotional and mental), and student health services.

Beyond October 2015, work groups may be reorganized by strategy, with separate opportunities to convene for networking and professional development related to content area. Please contact Spark for additional information.

  • Comprehensive physical activity
  • Nutrition
  • Behavioral health (social, emotional and mental)
  • Student health services

Levels of involvement

  • Tier I—Attend one of the four work groups as an active member committed to prioritizing this effort (approximately 15 members per work group).
  • Tier II—Provide occasional content expertise, input, and guidance to work groups as needed.
  • Tier III—Receive periodic updates (no further commitment at this time).

Commitment required from work group members

  • Attend up to two meetings monthly (2-6 hours each) for approximately nine to 12 months.
  • Review selected materials prior to meetings.
  • Arrive prepared for engaged discussion, active listening, and respectful dialogue.
  • Support research, work plan implementation and outreach as needed.
  • Develop more detailed outcomes and strategies to improve health and wellness in Colorado schools.

Intended end results of work group efforts

  • Develop a common definition for healthy schools in Colorado.
  • Propose strategies to align resources, increase efficiency, decrease duplication, lessen burden on schools, and scale what works to ensure their needs are met and gaps are filled.

“What’s in it for me?”

  • Play an instrumental role in shaping a common, statewide direction for healthy schools in Colorado.
  • Provide leadership and expertise to:
    • Eliminate disjointed services to schools.
    • Better leverage resources and funding for healthy schools.
  • Connect with and learn from your peers.
    • Champion school health and wellness efforts in Colorado.
    • Increase your own reach and impact.

Contact Us!

Meggan Parezo, Project Manager, Spark Policy Institute
303-455-1740 x114

Spark Policy Institute
2717 Welton St
Denver CO 80205

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