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Social, Emotional, and Academic Learning

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), establishing healthy behaviors during childhood is easier and more effective than trying to change unhealthy behaviors during adulthood. Academy 360 plays an influential role in promoting the health and safety of young people and helping them establish lifelong healthy behavior patterns. These healthy behaviors help students learn better!

The CDC recently expanded upon its Coordinated School Health (CSH) approach to now reflect 10 components within a new model called Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC).  Read more below about how Academy 360 implements each WSCC component or read about our local wellness policy here – A360WellnessPolicy

Academy 360 has been awarded the Healthy Schools Champion Award from the Colorado Education Initiative!

  1. Health Education: Formal, structured health education consists of any combination of planned learning experiences that provide the opportunity to acquire information and the skills students need to make quality health decisions.

Each week, Academy 360 students receive a Health Education lesson using Health Smart, a health education curriculum aligned to the Colorado Health Standards. Additionally, Academy 360 will expand its health education to both students and families with cooking and shopping classes, opportunities to plant and eat produce from the school garden, oral health education, and other programming as determined by the needs of the students.

  1. Health Services: School health services intervene with actual and potential health problems, including providing first aid, emergency care and assessment and planning for the management of chronic conditions (such as asthma or diabetes). In addition, wellness promotion, preventive services and staff, student and parent education complement the provision of care coordination services. Health services connect school staff, students, families, community and healthcare providers to promote the health care of students and a healthy and safe school environment.

Academy 360 surveys each family every year to understand their current medical needs so they can help make sure every child has medical coverage. Academy 360 provides well-child visits, oral examinations, vaccinations, and other preventative care services through a partnership with its school based health center (only four miles away) and through mobile healthcare available on campus. The school also provides a nurse one day a week for its small student population. 

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  1. Physical Education & Physical Activity: Schools can create an environment that offers many opportunities for students to be physically active throughout the school day. A comprehensive school physical activity program (CSPAP) is the national framework for physical education and youth physical activity. A CSPAP reflects strong coordination across five components: physical education, physical activity during school, physical activity before and after school, staff involvement, and family and community engagement.

Students at Academy 360 participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily, which is the daily recommendation of physical activity for children set by the Department of Health & Human Services. Academy 360 has 30 minute recess periods and students receive Physical Education four days a week.  

  1. Nutrition Environment & Services: The school nutrition environment provides students with opportunities to learn about and practice healthy eating through available foods and beverages, nutrition education, and messages about food in the cafeteria and throughout the school campus. All individuals in the school community support a healthy school nutrition environment by marketing and promoting healthier foods and beverages, encouraging participation in the school meal programs, role-modeling healthy eating behaviors, and ensuring that students have access to free drinking water throughout the school day.

Academy 360 offers a daily salad bar to students, which includes at least two fruits and two vegetable selections. In addition, the school is a part of Denver Public School’s Fresh Fruits & Vegetable Snack Program, which allows students to receive another serving of fruit or vegetable every afternoon. All adults in the building follow the students’ food policy and often eat the same lunch as their students! Through our partnership with Children’s Farms in Actions, students will learn about nutrition through the school garden — they will grow, cook, and eat what they have planted themselves which is a proven way to get children to try things unfamiliar to them. Learn more about our delicious food programs, including from an A360 family member – DPS’ Food & Nutrition Services

  1. Counseling, Psychological, & Social Services: These prevention and intervention services support the mental, behavioral, and social-emotional health of students and promote success in the learning process. Services include psychological, psychoeducational, and psychosocial assessments; direct and indirect interventions to address psychological, academic, and social barriers to learning, such as individual or group counseling and consultation; and referrals to school and community support services as needed. Additionally, systems-level assessment, prevention, intervention, and program design by school-employed mental health professionals contribute to the mental and behavioral health of students as well as to the health of the school environment.

Academy 360 has a FULL-TIME School Psychologist AND Family Therapist to play an integral role in the school’s MTSS process, working with students one or one or in small group settings. In partnership with DU’s School of Social Work, two graduate students in social work supports students 20 hours a week.  Additionally, the school keeps an updated resource guide of services for its families, including: mental health services, housing and food assistance, medical and dental services, childcare and more.  

  1. Physical Environment: A healthy and safe physical school environment promotes learning by ensuring the health and safety of students and staff. The physical school environment encompasses the school building and its contents, the land on which the school is located, and the area surrounding it. A healthy school environment will address a school’s physical condition during normal operation as well as during renovation.

Academy 360 is moving into its own home during the 2015 summer. In designing the space, school leadership strategically created the space to reflect lots of natural light, views of trees and mountains, classroom colors best suited for learning, lots of small group meeting spaces to meet the individualized needs of students. Additionally, the Colorado Health Foundation has awarded the school a playground grant in which the students will design their own playground and gardens to enhance their physical environment and active spaces.

  1. Employee Wellness: Schools are not only places of learning, but they are also worksites. Fostering school employees’ physical and mental health protects school staff, and by doing so, helps to support students’ health and academic success. Healthy school employees—including teachers, administrators, bus drivers, cafeteria and custodial staff, and contractors—are more productive and less likely to be absent. They serve as powerful role models for students and may increase their attention to students’ health.

Academy 360’s teachers and staff model healthy behaviors and choices for each other and their students. The school supports employees through any behavior changes they seek to improve their own health. Additional staff wellness includes: following the students’ food policy (think water, healthy snacks, no junk food, etc.), participating in Wellness Wednesday, monthly wellness programming, and engaging in active staff retreats such as a ropes course and bowling.

  1. Family Engagement: Families and school staff work together to support and improve the learning, development, and health of students. Family engagement with schools is a shared responsibility of both school staff and families. School staff are committed to making families feel welcomed, engaging families in a variety of meaningful ways, and sustaining family engagement.

Academy 360 has an open door policy with their families; teachers and leadership staff are in communication with families on a weekly to bi-weekly basis. In addition to quarterly family conferences, families are invited to several Presentations of Learning in which their student presents to them what they have been working on in their classroom. The school has an active Family Leadership Counsel (FLC) and hosts monthly family meetings, which is an open forum style conversation in which families can converse with members of leadership, ask questions, offer feedback, and more.

  1. Community Engagement: Community groups, organizations, and local businesses create partnerships with schools, share resources, and volunteer to support student learning, development, and health-related activities. The school, its students, and their families benefit when leaders and staff at the district or school solicits and coordinates information, resources, and services available from community-based organizations, businesses, cultural and civic organizations, social service agencies, faith-based organizations, health clinics, colleges and universities, and other community groups.

Academy 360 is a founding member of the Montbello Community Collective.  The Collective seeks to build neighborhood partnerships through education and community programming to meet the needs of children and their families in the Montbello and Far Northeast communities – truly offering a wraparound services approach.

The following nonprofit organizations reside at Academy 360:

  • Mental Health Center of Denver
  • Families Forward Resource Center
  • Montbello Organizing Committee
  • Children’s Farms in Action
  • Colorado Black Arts Movement (C-BAM)
  • Steps to Success
  • Struggle of Love Foundation
  • Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy and Research Organization (CLLARO)
  • Consumption Literacy Project
  1. Social & Emotional School Climate: This refers to the psychosocial aspects of students’ educational experience that influence their social and emotional development. The social and emotional climate of a school can impact student engagement in school activities; relationships with other students, staff, family, and community; and academic performance.

Each classroom has a daily morning Crew meeting to ground themselves as a community of learners and establish and building community connection. The school strives to foster an environment in which students respect one another, feel supported by teachers and administration, and learn in a classroom that is comfortable, engaging and empowers academic achievement and growth. Academy 360 seeks to teach students the skills necessary to become productive, happy, and independent citizens within a tightly knit community through the following evidence based curricula:

Random Acts of Kindness: https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/for-educators

Positive Discipline: https://www.positivediscipline.com/teachers

Zones of Regulation: https://www.zonesofregulation.com/schoolwide-implementation.html

Little Justice Leaders: https://littlejusticeleaders.com/about/

Mind Up: https://mindup.org/mindup-program/

Second Step: https://www.secondstep.org/elementary-school-curriculum/classroom-kits