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Getting Started

Creating a healthier school may feel overwhelming at first. The information and resources provided in this section will help you break the process into smaller, more doable steps. At the top of the page you will find comprehensive programs and get-started guides; the middle of the page includes resources to target specific wellness-related issues, and the final section address the assessment and creation of school wellness policies.

Coordinated School Health

What is Coordinated School Health? Simply stated, Coordinated School Health is a model for bringing all of the various efforts in health and wellness  that may be happening at your school under one umbrella. This ensures that work is not being duplicated, that the wellness initiatives are being implemented efficiently, and that there are no gaps. For more information on the the benefits of this model, click here. Importantly, because habits and practices are greatly influenced by the entire environment, addressing the 8 key components of the CSH model will give students and staff the best opportunity to be well. The eight components are: Health and Safety Policies and Environment, Health Education, Physical Education and other Physical Activity Programs, Nutrition Services, Health Services, Counseling, Psychological, and Social Services, Health Promotion for Staff, and Family and Community Involvement.
The Colorado Department of Education’s roadmap to healthy schools is a good place to begin:

Step 1: Create a School Health Team.

Step 2: Assess your school … how healthy are you already?

Step 3: Make an action plan … and take action!

Step 4: Evaluate your results and share your successes.

For the complete guide, click here. This guide is a one-stop, must-have resource for the development of your school’s coordinated health plan. It will help you prioritize your school’s health data and offers tips for tracking your plan’s success. The guide even offers a school health improvement planning template, a school checklist and a team tracking tool. The site will save you time so you don’t have to recreate the wheel.

Other helpful, hands-on resources for creating healthier schools:

Targeted Approaches to School Health

Numerous resources are available online to help schools and districts curb obesity, create safe walking routes to school, improve employee wellness, increase physical activity both in and out of the classroom, and address other challenges. The following links are some of our favorites because they provide specific tools and steps for meeting these goals. Check back often for updates.

Environment, Green Spaces, and Gardens

Alliance to Save Energy

American Association of School Administrators’ Healthy Schools Resources

The Center for Green Schools

Colorado Farm to School

Denver Urban Gardens

National Farm to School Month

National Gardening Association - Kids Gardening

School Garden Wizard

Slow Food Denver

Employee Wellness

Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s School Employee Wellness Toolkit

School Employee Wellness Guide for schools and districts

Wellness Proposals - Guide to Worksite Wellness

Wellness Council of America

Nutrition and Food Culture

Chefs Move to Schools

Healthy Fundraising Ideas from the Center for Science in the Public Health

LiveWell Colorado: Freshen-Up Food School Initiative

The Lunch Box’s online toolkit for healthier school meals

USDA "My Plate"

USDA’s School Breakfast Toolkit

USDA Team Nutrition/Healthier US School Challenge



Action for Healthy Kids’ Facts on Childhood Obesity

CDC’s Youth Physical Activity Guidelines Toolkit

CDC’s strategies to prevent obesity in your school

Parent Involvement

Action for Healthy Kids-Parents Are the Power Toolkit

Action for Healthy Kids - ¡Los Padres son el Poder! Guía para Crear Cambio

Physical Activity

Alliance for a Healthier Generation - Motivating Movement

CDC's Youth Physical Activity Guidelines Toolkit

EdNews Colorado article on innovative ways teachers are incorporating physical activity in the classroom

Fuel up to Play 60

Get Sweaty

Girls on the Run

Integrating Physical Activity into the Complete School Day

Let's Move - Active Schools

Maximizing Recess Physical Activity

Playwork’s Playbook

Safe Routes to School National Partnership Guide

Together Counts

Evaluating and Creating School Wellness Policies

The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 requires any local education agency participating in a National School Breakfast and/or Lunch program to have a written wellness policy in effect by June 30, 2006. This Act has since been renewed in 2010. Whether or not your school or district participates in the National School Breakfast/Lunch program, having a wellness policy in place provides the foundation for your wellness initiatives. Wellness policies can guide daily practices, encourage wellness efforts to take place and be measured, and ensure that the strides you are making now are sustained over time - even if you are personally not involved with your school in the future. The resources below include model wellness policies, tools for evaluating your policy, and advice on the steps you can take to create a new policy or update an existing one. 

Action for Healthy Kids Wellness Policy Tool

CDC School Health Index

CDE Colorado School Wellness Policy Implementation Guide

Center for Science in the Public Interest

Effective School Health Advisory Councils

National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity - Model School Wellness Policy

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation School Wellness Policy Evaluation Tool

Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity - Wellness Policy Report

USDA Local School Wellness Policies

USDA Putting Policy Into Practice

Time Pegs to Raise Awareness

Time Pegs to Raise Awareness


What Other Schools and Districts are Doing






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