DENVER – Kaiser Permanente is pleased to announce 21 Colorado school districts will receive funding through a new grant program that will help make good health a part of everyday life in schools. These new grants are part of Kaiser Permanente’s increased focus on school health known as the Thriving Schools Initiative.
“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.”
Grant amounts vary depending on district size, population served, and free and reduced lunch rates. The districts receiving grants represent 633 schools and more than 400,000 students and staff up and down the Front Range.
The following school districts will receive Thriving Schools grants*:
*Listed by school district then (county)
Last fall, Kaiser Permanente Colorado invited school districts in its service area to apply for Thriving Schools grants. To qualify for funding, each district was asked to submit an application online and provide a detailed strategy for getting staff and students active before, during and after school hours.
Schools were required to show how they would implement and evaluate school policies to increase physical activity, develop staff wellness efforts, generate student-led activities, or even start summer physical-activity clubs and other after-school programs.
Launched nationally by Kaiser Permanente in February 2013, Thriving Schools engages school communities to champion change by incorporating evidence-based, community health improvement practices. Thriving Schools seeks to intentionally align and coordinate Kaiser Permanente assets related to schools – community health, workforce wellness – and to engage external partners that have expertise in school wellness.
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.
Kaiser Permanente 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. These new grant initiatives will deepen and expand such established partnerships and programs as Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theatre Program, which has reached almost 3 million Coloradans through dynamic, free, health education theater performances since 1986. Kaiser Permanente is also a founding funder and continued supporter of LiveWell Colorado’s school-based health initiatives.
For more information on the Thriving Schools Initiative, please visit: kp.org/thrivingschools or follow @thrivingschools on Twitter. Visit kp.org/communitybenefit to learn more about Kaiser Permanente’s community benefit programs.
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 45 years. Kaiser Permanente Colorado provides comprehensive health care services to more than 565,000 members through 28 medical offices and a network of affiliated hospitals and physicians. Kaiser Permanente was recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) as the top- ranked commercial health plan in Colorado and the fourth ranked Medicare plan in the nation. Kaiser Permanente was also recently recognized as a 2012 Hypertension Champion by Million Hearts™. In 2013, Kaiser Permanente proudly directed more than $96 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.