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School Puts Community in Health Plan, Wins Grant

SMS Health Expo Skyview Middle School opened its doors for a community-led health expo March 21 in Falcon School District 49.
During Skyview Middle School's inaugural health expo, community members led topic-based presentations for its sixth, seventh and eighth graders, covering mental health, concussion recovery, physical fitness, seasonal allergies, personal hygiene and fire safety.
Sixth and seventh graders met with SWAT officers from the Colorado Springs Police Department to learn more about their profession.
The school resolved this year to introduce more venues for community involvement in promoting healthy choices and activities, according to Tony Marino, physical education teacher. Marino leads the coordinated school health team at Skyview Middle School in Colorado Springs.
"Our district's strategic plan includes a need for individualized educational experiences, as well as more community engagement," said Marino, while coordinating the health expo's presentations. "This expo is way to facilitate that with a focus on school health."
As a Colorado Healthy School Champion, Skyview Middle School will receive $1,000 to strengthen its commitment to encouraging community involvement. Marino says it was a successful breakfast program that led to the school's $2,500 award last year.
To become a Healthy School Champion, faculty must complete a scorecard for the Colorado Legacy Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization striving to accelerate improvement in student achievement through innovation, collaboration and capacity building.
The scorecard is a self-assessment tool for measuring best practices in eight areas: health education, physical education, health services, nutritional services; counseling, psychological and social services; healthy and safe school environment; health promotion for staff; and community, family and student involvement.
“The Colorado Legacy Foundation recognizes the importance of a healthy and engaging learning environment for all students,” said Helayne Jones, president and CEO of the Colorado Legacy Foundation, in a statement March 28 announcing this year's Healthy School Champions.
In total, 42 Colorado schools are receiving a portion of a $45,800 award.
“It is our pleasure to award these 42 schools who have demonstrated the critical link between student health and academic achievement,” said Jones in the statement.
Three schools in District 49 will be recognized April 17 as Healthy School Champions by the Colorado Legacy Foundation during the 2014 Legacy Summit in Denver. Ridgeview Elementary School will receive $400, and Stetson Elementary School earned $300.
The Legacy Summit is sponsored by the Colorado Health Foundation and hosted in partnership with the Colorado Coalition for Healthy Schools, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Colorado Department of Education.
Dustin Senger