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Case Study

Weld County School District RE‑1

June 4, 2019

Weld County School District RE-1 is a small, rural school district with almost 2,000 young people in its diverse student body.

The Challenge

Weld County School District RE-1 (Weld RE-1) was one of many Colorado districts to receive funding from the Colorado Department of Education and The Colorado Health Foundation to promote healthy eating and physical activity, as well as manage chronic health problems, among their students. They entered into a unique partnership with the North Colorado Health Alliance, which created a wellness coordinator position to support their efforts. That wellness coordinator brought a lot of knowledge and passion to the work, but needed guidance in order to successfully navigate her new role and bring her vision for school health to life.

Scope of Work

  • Capacity building trainings
    • Systems thinking and organizational change.
    • Identifying strategies for partnering and working with schools
    • Creating and sustaining School Health Teams
  • District wellness policy: review, development, and communication
  • Implementation support
    • Activating School Health Improvement Plans
    • Maintaining stakeholder engagement

Our Approach

RMC Health galvanized Weld RE-1’s work toward healthier schools by providing customized training and technical assistance. Together with ongoing professional learning opportunities and implementation support, Weld RE-1 was able to strengthen and streamline its health and wellness policy — and learn to implement it — in ways that have transformed the culture in Weld RE-1.

Transforming School Health and Wellness

Weld County School District RE-1 serves the small towns of Gilchrist, LaSalle, and Platteville, with just shy of 2,000 young people in its diverse student body. Like many rural school districts, Weld RE-1 educators have often felt isolated or found it difficult to access wellness resources that may be readily available in larger districts.

Fortunately, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) and The Colorado Health Foundation made investing in healthy schools a statewide priority with new funding to support healthy eating and physical activity among students, as well as manage chronic health conditions. With that funding, Weld RE-1 entered into a unique partnership with the North Colorado Health Alliance to create a wellness coordinator role. This role would be charged with evaluating the district’s health policy and programming, creating a new school health improvement plan, and helping schools implement the plan.

Enter Annie Baker, a wellness champion with a long history in education and in public health — but no experience working for a nonprofit, on behalf of a school district, to implement health and wellness programs in its schools. Annie was quickly introduced to the team at RMC Health, who was prepared to help her and other wellness coordinators across the state to apply their prior experience into strategies that would be effective in their new roles.

“RMC Health has years and years of experience working with school districts, and that was hugely beneficial when it came to learning how to approach this work with administrators and teachers.”
— Annie Baker, Wellness Coordinator, Weld County School District RE-1 in partnership with North Colorado Health Alliance

Annie laughs when she shares that she took advantage of nearly every training opportunity RMC Health offered. But she’s most grateful for the customized professional learning that RMC Health has brought directly to her district, including a full-day summit that was funded by CDE.

“I was really afraid to sit through eight hours of training. But the time flew by, because every minute was dynamic, interactive, and amazing.”
— Annie Baker, Wellness Coordinator, Weld County School District RE-1 in partnership with North Colorado Health Alliance

Like Annie, school health teams around the state were also grateful for the learning opportunity. Leaders at CDE, which funded the summit and also selected RMC Health to design and facilitate it, saw its success as lasting far longer than just one day.

“Because the summit was such a huge success, school health teams from across the state went back to their districts excited and rejuvenated to start their work. This year, that included creating a plan for sustainability, which is very difficult. That excitement to face the challenges ahead is due in large part to RMC Health’s expertise.”
— Shannon Milliken, Comprehensive PE and Wellness Senior Consultant, Colorado Department of Education

With extensive professional learning under her belt, Annie was able to develop school health improvement plans aligned with the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model; update the district’s health policy; and strengthen the impact of wellness work in each school. As a result, Weld RE-1 is doing much more than helping kids move more, eat better, and manage ongoing health conditions. [1]

“The impact of our work with RMC Health has spread to so many parts of the school district. It has transformed the culture around wellness in our schools.”
— Annie Baker, Wellness Coordinator, Weld County School District RE-1 in partnership with North Colorado Health Alliance

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