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). Our Director of Wellness & Operations implements this model at Academy 360 in partnership with our WSCC team. Read more below about how Academy 360 implements each WSCC component.
Academy 360 was honored as a 2014 Colorado Healthy School Champion by the Colorado Education Initiative.
Each week, Academy 360 uses a morning meeting to teach 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.
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.
Students at Academy 360 participate in at least 75 minutes of physical activity daily, which is above the daily recommendation of physical activity for children set by the Department of Health & Human Services. Students start their day with 10 minutes of structured morning movement, which helps their bodies prepare for learning, and teachers integrate movement breaks throughout academic learning time. In partnership with Playworks, students engage in 25 minutes of semi-structured recess before lunch and have 40 minutes of PE class daily. Students also participate in yoga classes every Friday. A360’s Community Coordinator and Front Desk Manager coach both the Step & Cheer Teams after school. When the school moves to its own building this summer, they will host group exercise classes for students’ families and the community so they too can engage in physical activity.
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 Farm4Kids, 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. Academy 360 partnered with CSU’s Extension Program to bring nutrition education classes to its families.
Academy 360 has a School Psychologist on staff two days a week to play an integral role in the school’s RTI process, working with students one or one or in small group settings. In partnership with DU’s School of Social Work, a graduate student in social work supports students 20 hours a week; the Behavioral Interventionist is also a Social Worker. 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.
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.
Academy 360’s teachers and staff model healthy behaviors and choices for each other and their students. The school’s Director of Wellness & Operations 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 Fitness Fridays, monthly wellness programming, and engaging in active staff retreats such as a ropes course and bowling.
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.
Academy 360 is proud to partner with the Lowry Family Center, Steps to Success, CSU’s Extension Program, Farm4Kids, Rachel B. Noel School Based Health Center, the Colorado School of Public Health, Playworks, and more to bring a variety of programs to the Academy 360 community as well as support the efforts of those community organizations supporting and empowering the greater Montbello community.
Each morning after Morning Movement, A360 has a school-wide Crew meeting. Then, each classroom has a morning Crew meeting to ground themselves as a community of learners. 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. Using curriculum such as Brainwise and Second Step, Academy 360 seeks to teach students the skills necessary to become productive, happy, and independent citizens within a tightly knit community.