School health data system gets $3 million

Kaiser Permanente and the Colorado Legacy Foundation on Thursday announced a $3 million, five-year plan to create a comprehensive data reporting system for school health and wellness indicators.

Students eating lunch at a Boulder elementary school where there has been an emphasis on healthy offerings. EdNews file photo (Alan Petersime)

The new School Health Policy and Practice Data Collection Program will help demonstrate the link between health and education and provide feedback to schools to help them improve programming. The project is a collaboration between Kaiser, which will provide the funding, and the Colorado Legacy Foundation, the Colorado Department of Education and the Colorado Coalition for Healthy Schools.

Helayne Jones, president and CEO of Colorado Legacy Foundation, said part of the current problem is that “we don’t know what is working because we haven’t had a consistent way of measuring health and wellness practices.”

Currently, some Colorado schools report on some health indicators, but there is no uniform collection system in place. Data on nine indicators is collected through the state’s March Report Card. Other health data is collected intermittently through assessments like the Colorado Healthy School Champions Score Card, the School Wellness Policies Assessment tool, the School Environment and Policy Survey and Healthy Schools Colorado Database.

The new School Health Policy and Practice Data Collection Program is intended to simplify and streamline the collection process for schools. Once it is up and running, comprehensive health indicator data will be available through the Colorado Department of Education’s online SchoolView platform.