DENVER — Colorado school districts up and down the Front Range, from Greeley to Pueblo, have a new opportunity and resources to create healthier schools for students, teachers and staff. Kaiser Permanente has announced new funding totaling up to $2.5 million to support local school and district strategies to increase physical activity. This funding is part of Kaiser Permanente’s Thriving Schools — a campaign to make good health a part of everyday life in Colorado schools.
Supported by Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit funding, Thriving Schools seeks to increase moderate to vigorous physical activity in Colorado schools to ultimately impact student achievement, physical health, and social and emotional wellness.
“The link between healthy students, reduced absenteeism and stronger academic performance is well documented. Thriving Schools offers us a unique and targeted campaign to work collaboratively with Colorado schools to advance health and improve academic performance,” said Donna Lynne, DrPH, president of Kaiser Permanente Colorado. “In addition, healthier schools cultivate a stronger Colorado workforce for the future.”
Research continues to demonstrate the link between academic achievement and physical activity. Children who are physically active have higher test scores and improved attention in class, decreased absenteeism and improved behavior, decreased stress and improved mood. Also, evidence suggests that healthier students are better learners and physical activity can improve student academic achievement.
Thriving Schools targets school teachers and staff, too. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, employee-focused physical activity programs and opportunities to be healthy during the school day can contribute to physical and mental health outcomes, increased morale, productivity, positive role modeling and decreased absenteeism.
Kaiser Permanente Colorado currently delivers care to more than 90,000 school-age children and 30,000 teachers and staff who spend the majority of each day on a school campus. The health plan has supported Colorado schools and school districts for more than 25 years to improve healthy eating, physical activity and school climates.
As Colorado’s largest non-profit health plan, Kaiser Permanente is committed to improving community health. In 2013, Kaiser Permanente made investments in the Colorado Legacy Foundation, PlayWorks Denver, and the Denver Public Schools Foundation. In addition, Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theatre Programs has reached more than 2.5 million Coloradans since 1986 through dynamic, free health education theater performances. Kaiser Permanente is also a founding funder and continued supporter of LiveWell Colorado’s school-based health initiatives.
Thriving Schools, launched nationally by Kaiser Permanente in February 2013, engages the entire school community to champion change by incorporating evidence-based, community health improvement practices. This multi-year campaign includes a website with free, ready-to-use tools and resources for schools. The website provides a place to share ideas and success stories, as well as spark creative innovation and change that can strengthen the health and well-being of schools.
Learn more about Thriving Schools at KP.org/ThrivingSchools.
How to apply for funding
Schools are eligible to apply for funding for the 2013-14 school year if they are located in Kaiser Permanente’s Denver/Boulder; Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley; or Colorado Springs and Pueblo service areas. Eligible districts must submit a proposal and application customized for their district and schools. The deadline for all proposals is Oct. 14, 2013. The amount of funding available to each school district varies based on the population served and the size of the district.
Colorado Schools or districts interested in learning more about the Thriving Schools grant opportunity may contact Corina Lindley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Kaiser Permanente Colorado
Kaiser Permanente Colorado is the state’s largest nonprofit health plan, proudly working to improve the lives and health of Colorado residents for more than 40 years. Kaiser Permanente Colorado provides comprehensive health care services to more than 540,000 members through 26 medical offices and a network of affiliated hospitals and physicians. The health plan was named “Highest in Member Satisfaction” among Commercial Health Plans by J.D. Power and Associates for the sixth straight year. Kaiser Permanente was also recently recognized as a 2012 Hypertension Champion by Million Hearts™. In 2012, Kaiser Permanente proudly directed more than $92 million to community benefit programs to improve the health of all Coloradans. For more Kaiser Permanente news, visit kp.org/share or follow us on twitter @kpcolorado or facebook.com/kpcolorado.