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It's a Marathon Not a Sprint for CO "Healthy School Champions"

PHOTO: Making P.E. fun is one strategy used by Pagosa Springs Middle School. It has been named one of Colorado's "Healthy Schools Champions." Photo courtesy Chris Hinger, Pagosa Springs Middle School.
PHOTO: Making P.E. fun is one strategy used by Pagosa Springs Middle School. It has been named one of Colorado's "Healthy Schools Champions." Photo courtesy Chris Hinger, Pagosa Springs Middle School.
April 28, 2014

Pagosa Springs, CO - Colorado schools are being rewarded for "championing" health and wellness. This month, 45 schools were recognized for their efforts to increase health and wellness in their curriculum. The Colorado Health Foundation helps fund the Healthy School Champions Score Card which helps encourage things like health classes and regular physical education. Comments from Chris Hinger, principal of the Pagosa Springs Middle School, a recipient of a monetary award for their efforts.

This month, 45 Colorado schools are being recognized as "Healthy Schools Champions" by the Colorado Education Initiative. Pagosa Springs Middle School in Archuleta County is one of them, receiving particular attention for the daily P-E classes offered to a high percentage of its students, and the fact that 100-percent of them take health classes. Principal Chris Hinger explains what a difference it has made.

"It addresses a lot of that social and emotional development, character development, physical health, mental health - addresses all those different things, and teaches kids decision-making skills because often, it's in the area of health that kids are doing risky things."

This is the third year for the Healthy School Champions Scorecard, which includes assessment and monitoring tools for school programs that help keep students healthy. There's also more than 45-thousand dollars in cash awards for schools that excel at meeting criteria developed with input from almost 500 state leaders in school health.

The Colorado Health Foundation provides funding for the Healthy School Champions Scorecard. Hinger says students' health classes are also having an impact on their long-term future.

"We're delaying first use of alcohol, marijuana and tobacco. Kids are, you know, trying that for the first time at a later age. Same with sexual activity."

Participation in the Scorecard is voluntary and examines schools' health education, health and nutrition services, counseling and community involvement - all of which the Colorado Health Foundation sees as creating a healthier student population. The program is available to Colorado schools and more information is online at 'healthyschoolchampions.org.'

This month, 45 Colorado schools are being recognized as "Healthy Schools Champions" by the Colorado Legacy Foundation. Stephanie Carson reports on how one of the winning schools says its efforts are paying off for students.

Carson reporting.

Hinger is at 970-946-3017. Complete list of winning schools is at www.healthyschoolchampions.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/SCAwardWinners2013F2.pdf.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - CO