Building A Healthy Charter School
In 2013, Carbondale Community School became one of six trailblazing schools to join the Wellness Advisory Collaborative supported by the Colorado League of Charter School’s Building Healthy Charter Schools Initiative.1 As part of the Wellness Advisor Collaborative, our school worked with a wellness advisor to form a school health and wellness vision, develop an action plan, implement sustainable strategies, and connect to other schools and resources. 2
Results of CCS’s three-year commitment to the program are impressive, and the work carried out by CCS staff continues to support student wellness. Major successes the school achieved by participating in the collaborative include:
- Forming a Health and Wellness Committee
- Developing a Wellness Program brochure to communicate a vision, mission, and sustainable strategies for promoting lifelong wellness
- Creating a school garden program that integrates healthy choices, life sciences, and Spanish education
- Involving students in the planning, planting, harvesting, and cooking of produce grown in the CCS garden
- Implementing school-wide mindfulness practices every Monday morning (see Chalkbeat Article below)3
- Offering 30 minutes of recess before lunch, every day
- Encouraging students to take advantage of frequent brain and movement breaks throughout the day
- Communicating and encouraging healthy alternatives for birthday celebrations, classroom rewards, and snacks
- Enhancing the nutritional content of El Tioga lunches
- Budgeting for a part-time school counselor and providing preventative and responsive social-emotional education and mental health support
- Commencing the annual Monster Dash and integrating health and wellness into our fundraising efforts
Every year, the Healthy School Champions Recognition program recognizes K12 Colorado public schools for their success at creating a healthy school environment, implementing effective school health efforts and demonstrating how they comprehensively address health and wellness while embedding it in their culture and systems.4
In 2015 and 2016, Carbondale Community School was recognized as a Healthy School Champion!
Because of our achievements, CCS was selected to share our successes and learnings with the Colorado League of Charter Schools and charter school leaders across the state, along with several other Colorado schools. This year, on October 13, a videographer came to CCS, filmed some of our daily wellness practices, and interviewed Diana, Brad, Sam and several CCS students about the work we have done to promote wellness at CCS. The video linked here provides information about the Colorado League of Charter School’s Building Healthy Charter Schools Initiative and highlights our commitment to continuous improvement and health and wellness for every CCS student and community member. Please take a moment to watch the video and to learn more about this great work.
Creating and maintaining a healthy learning environment while supporting the wellness of every CCS student and school community member remains a top priority of ours and we will continue to work on meeting our goals and strategies. For example, Amanda Smith, our school counselor, recently sent a link to parents requesting feedback on Social-Emotional Learning. The feedback from this survey will be used by the parent-based Social-Emotional Committee to guide the development of a cohesive social-emotional program. Additionally, we continue to incorporate mindfulness and social skill instruction into our instruction – to benefit student academic and non-academic growth and development. Finally, we are intentional about promoting and modeling healthy eating, physical exercise, and lifelong wellness.
These are just a few examples of our commitment to health and wellness at CCS. Please join us in this work and help us provide the learning opportunities and practices that will prepare each CCS student to meet their utmost potential. We want to be recognized as a Healthy School Champion again, but we need help. Here are some ways to become more involved:
- Take the Social-Emotional learning survey
- Attend a Mindful Parenting Class – Dec. 13 @ CCS- 5:30pm
- Check out a Village parent meeting – dads are also welcome!
- Join us for a mindful Monday
- Become a member of the CCS Health and Wellness committee – we need parent reps!
- Ask your child to teach you about mindfulness, gardening, and respectful conflict resolution
- Volunteer to help in the garden
- Check out the Wellness Program brochure (hanging on the library door), ask questions and provide feedback to Sam via email or a personal conversation
- Volunteer to help with El Tioga
- Offer your services to write grants or to help us apply for annual awards, such as the Healthy School Champion award
- Contribute to the Annual Fund