Healthy Schools Certification
Celebrate Your Healthy School
Ophea’s Healthy Schools (HS) Certification recognizes and celebrates school communities for promoting and enhancing the health and well-being of students, school staff and the broader community.
Why Get Certified?
- To motivate and support your school community in being a healthy, safe, inclusive and accepting environment
- To support your school community in addressing a priority health topic by implementing the 6-Step Healthy Schools Process
- To encourage students to make healthier choices and in turn be better prepared to learn and enjoy their time at school
- Bragging rights! Everyone will know that you’ve been formally recognized for being a healthy school
Learn more about Ophea’s HS Certification and the how it benefits your school community. Click here to view our webinar to gain a clear understanding of Ophea’s HS Certification process and support tools, and how to use the HS Certification online platform.
Registration for 2015-2016 is now closed. Registration for 2016-2017 will open at the end of summer 2016. To prepare for next year, please see the Guidebook. For a breakdown of this year's participating schools, please click here. To view a breakdown of this year's certified/participant schools, please click here.
How Do You Get Certified?
By completing the 6-Step Healthy Schools Process over the course of the school year, registered schools will earn points and can apply to be certified in April as a Gold, Silver, or Bronze level Healthy School. Certification is based on a school’s ability to follow and complete the process, and not on the type or number of activities chosen. School certification levels will be announced in late May/early June of each year. Check out the Guidebook for more details.
6-Step Healthy Schools Process
Ophea’s HS Certification is based on the 6-Step Healthy Schools Process in alignment with the Foundations for a Healthy School. This process guides a school community through planning and the implementation of a range of activities for a selected priority health topic. The process is annual, repeating each school year, and flexible for all communities across Ontario to sustain year over year.
Step 1 – Establish Your School Team
Bring together members of your school community to lead Healthy Schools.
This school team must include a School Contact who is a staff member at the school and agrees to facilitate the team which may include students, parents/guardians, public health, and community partners
Step 2 – Assess Your School Community Needs and Assets
Consider what your school needs. What other opportunities are there? You can look at data from your School Climate Survey or from general feedback such as student focus groups.
Look at what you school is already doing well. Determine your strengths and assets including partnerships, resources, finances, and scheduled activities.
Step 3 – Identify Your Priority Health Topic
Based on your school needs and assets, as a school team choose a health topic to focus on for the rest of the school year (you may integrate other health topics). Click on topic below to learn more:
Step 4 – Develop An Action Plan
Together as a school team, create an action plan for the Healthy Schools activities your school team will implement.
Step 5 – Take Action and Monitor Progress
Take action by implementing your activities and track your successes and challenges. Make sure to celebrate as you go and recognize those who help along the way!
Step 6 – Celebrate and Reflect
Celebrate your team’s hard work and success! No celebration is too big or too small to recognize the work of your school team, your school and those who helped out along the way. While a main celebration often occurs at the end of the process, it’s just as important to recognize efforts throughout.
Levels of HS Certification
Depending on how many points your school has earned over the course of the year, you can be eligible for one of three certifications.
GOLD (more than 1080 points)
SILVER (901 points – 1080 points)
BRONZE (780 points - 900 points)
Note: Schools who receive fewer than 780 points will be recognized as a participant but will not receive certification.
Who is Involved in a Healthy School?
Creating a healthy school is a shared responsibility that involves the whole community, and that includes YOU.
Educators, including teachers, administrators and support staff are the backbone of any school team. As staff of the school, they have a solid understanding of school and board objectives, as well as an appreciation of the diversity of the students and school community.
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Educators are typically involved in all stages of the Healthy Schools process, with some educators leading components and others supporting specific activities. The more educators are able to contribute, the more your school team will be able to accomplish, and the more students will likely be involved.
The School Contact is a staff member at the school who agrees to facilitate the school team and act as the main contact for the Ophea Healthy Schools Certification. The School Contact does not need to be an expert with the Healthy Schools approach. In fact, they may be new to Healthy Schools but with an interest in promoting health and well-being in their school community. There can only be one School Contact per school.
Administrators, including principals and vice-principals, are the “community builder(s) who create(s) a healthy and safe school environment that is welcoming to all, and who ensures that all members of the school community are kept well informed.” (Ministry of Education. (2015). Health and Physical Education Curriculum: Grades 1 – 8. p. 16.) For a school to be successful in the Healthy School approach, it needs the support of the administration. A letter of support from the principal or vice-principal is required for registration. You may use your own letter or you can use Ophea’s Administrator Support Letter Template.
A. If you are an educator interested in having your school participate in the Ophea Healthy Schools Certification and you are willing to act as the School Contact, click here to register your school.
B. If you are an educator interested in having your school participate in the Ophea Healthy Schools Certification but are not the School Contact, share the guidebook with your school administrator to help determine who might be the most appropriate staff member to act as School Contact.
Ophea has created a poster on Understanding Partners – Schools to support individuals and organizations looking to better their relationship with schools. For more information on how to partner with schools, click here.
Student engagement is a cornerstone of the Healthy School approach. Students as young as those in primary school can contribute to a healthy school by identifying what matters to them and what they like to do, contributing to or leading activities based on their abilities. Students in secondary schools can take even more of a leadership role, planning and running activities, and engaging community partners.
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If you are a student who wants to ensure that their school is participating in the Ophea Healthy Schools Certification, talk to your teacher, a parent/guardian or a staff member at your school and tell them about this opportunity. You can share the guidebook with them as it provides more information.
Ophea has created a poster on Understanding Partners – Youth to support individuals and organizations looking to better their relationship with youth. For more information on how to engage youth, click here.
Parents*, including guardians, caregivers and family members, at both the elementary and secondary levels have a lot to offer a healthy school. School parent councils and school board Parent Involvement Committees (PICs) are excellent sources for resources to support a wide range of activities.
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Parent engagement in the school team can ensure that the activities reflect the parent community and that the health and well-being promoted in schools is enforced in the home. At the secondary level, parents may play a less formal role but are still a critical component to the well-being of the school community.
If you are a parent who wants their child’s school to participate in the Ophea Healthy Schools Certification, talk to your child’s teacher or a staff member at your school and tell them about this opportunity. You can share the guidebook with them as it provides more information.
Ophea has created a poster on Understanding Partners – Parents to support individuals and organizations looking to better their relationship with parents. For more information on how to partner with parents, click here.
* Throughout the HS Certification information/Guide, the term parents refers to parents, guardians and caregivers.
Publicly funded schools in Ontario are supported by 36 local public health units that often play a key role in supporting school communities in adopting the Healthy Schools approach. Public Health services and programs address a variety of health topics and promote the health and well-being of children and youth, and the school community.
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If you are a public health staff member who wants your local school to participate in the Ophea Healthy Schools Certification, talk to the school’s administration or a staff member and tell them about this opportunity. You can share the guidebook with them as it provides more information.
Ophea has created a poster on Understanding Partners – Public Health to support individuals and organizations looking to better their relationship with public health. For more information on how to partner with public health, click here.
Community partners play an integral role in supporting Healthy Schools initiatives by providing their services, resources and expertise as schools plan activities. Community partners include public health, local businesses, not-for-profit organizations, feeder and neighboring schools, recreation and sports groups, police and fire services, community health centres, and the municipalities.
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If you are a community partner who wants your local school to participate in the Ophea Healthy Schools Certification, talk to the school’s administration or a staff member and tell them about this opportunity. You can share the guidebook with them as it provides more information.
Ophea has created a poster on Understanding Partners – Recreation to support individuals and organizations looking to better their relationship with recreation. For more information on how to partner with recreation leaders, click here.
Feel free to contact us!
Ophea wishes to thank the Government of Ontario for their financial contribution to Ophea's Healthy Schools Certification