West Jefferson Elementary named one of the healthiest schools in Colorado

Written by Shellie McKeown on .

Mountain Resource Center is proud to announce that their Healthy School-Parent Leadership partner, West Jefferson Elementary is a 2017 Healthy School Champion and has won the $300 Promising School Award for their school health efforts.

As one of 46 schools named as a 2017 Healthy School Champion, their work will be honored at the 2017 Colorado Healthy Schools Summit: Putting the Pieces Together, presented by The Colorado Education Initiative (CEI), Colorado Coalition for Healthy Schools, and the Colorado Healthy Schools Collective Impact, and sponsored by The Colorado Health Foundation, on Friday, March 3, at the Sheraton Denver West Hotel, 360 Union Blvd, Lakewood.

Parent leaders from West Jefferson Elementary have participated in Mountain Resource Center’s Parent Leadership program for the past two years.

Mountain Resource Center’s Parent Engagement Coordinator, Shellie McKeown said, “West Jefferson Elementary’s success is hard earned and well deserved. They have an enthusiastic, passionate, pro-active principal! Wendy Woodland took risks and climbed above and beyond to create positive change. She is doubly supported by talented parent leaders like Healthy Bobcats’ Chair, Liz Murphy. Their leadership and care for their school community as well as the entire mountain community truly shows commitment to the whole child for every child.”

The administration at West Jefferson Elementary school took big steps to improve their school’s wellness and their students’ readiness to learn.

“The West Jefferson Elementary community shows commitment to the whole child for every child in so many outstanding ways. Staff, parents, PTA leadership, Healthy Bobcats and community partners like Mountain Resource Center and Colorado Ball Sports came together to encourage healthy eating and active living at our school. As principal, I thought it was crucial to increase the amount of physical activity students were getting at school so that they are ready to learn. We added 30 minutes to our school day, and our kids are now getting incredible opportunities for movement from regular sessions with Colorado Ball Sports and extended recess. The staff has also excelled in implementing Calming Kids, a yoga-based, mindfulness, violence prevention curriculum for students. So many of us have come together for the health of our school and I can’t wait to see what we accomplish next!” said Wendy Woodland, principal of West Jefferson Elementary School.

Staff, parents, PTA leadership and community partners like Mountain Resource Center have launched several health initiatives at West Jefferson Elementary. Some of the activities include the SuperFit school challenge fundraiser; an obstacle course and health knowledge based event, the switch witch; students trade Halloween candy for non-food prizes, and creating snacks for the healthy snack competitions. Bobcat students also participated in a school-wide heart-healthy bingo disseminating Healthy Jeffco’s 5-2-1-0 campaign and Hidden Sugar project and will have the opportunity to participate in a Cooking Matters for Families course in March.

The 2017 Colorado Healthy Schools Summit annual celebration recognizes schools that create and support a healthy school environment and also successfully implement effective school health efforts that support student learning.

“At CEI, we have seen how impactful school health efforts can be on student success and this annual celebration allows us to recognize and celebrate schools that are succeeding at this important work,” said CEI Director of School Health Amy Dyett. “These schools have successfully demonstrated the critical link between student health and academic achievement.”

Schools are awarded based on their implementation of best practices in school health through an assessment tool called 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,” added Dyett.

The program has granted more than $300,000 in awards over the past seven years in the range of $300 to $7,500 per school.