Search form

Ophea.net

Healthy School Certification FAQs

Healthy Schools and Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification

  1. What is Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification?
  2. Why is the Healthy Schools approach important?
  3. Why do participating schools need to choose one priority health topic?
  4. How can my school become ‘certified’?

Registering for Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification

  1. How can my school register for Ophea’s Healthy School Certification?
  2. Can any school apply to be certified?
  3. Can both elementary and secondary schools participate in Healthy Schools Certification?
  4. Who can register my school?
  5. Does it cost any money to participate in Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification?

School Contact

  1. Who should be the School Contact?
  2. What’s the time commitment for the School Contact?

Certification

  1. What are the reporting requirements for a school to become certified?
  2. How are students engaged in HS Certification?
  3. What is the timeline for HS Certification? Do you need to be recertified every year?

Support for Schools

  1. How does Ophea support schools who want to be certified?

Funding

  1. Does HS Certification provide funding to schools?
  2. Who funds HS Certification?

Healthy Schools and Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification

What is Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification?

The Healthy Schools approach engages the entire school community to promote and enhance the health and well-being of children, youth, school staff and the broader community. Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification (HS Certification) is based on the 6-Step Healthy Schools Process, in alignment with Ontario’s Foundations for a Healthy School resource. This process guides a school through the steps needed to plan and implement a range of activities and strategies that promote well-being in the school community. These activities and strategies focus on a selected priority health topic that is important to the school. Through a point-based system, over the course of the school year, schools will be able to plan their Healthy Schools process steps online and apply to be certified as a Bronze, Silver, or Gold Healthy School.

Ophea’s HS Certification is built on a 6-step process that supports school communities to take a planned, comprehensive approach to address a priority health topic over the course of a school year.

These 6 steps include:

  • Step 1: Establish Your School Team
  • Step 2: Assess Your School Community’s Needs and Assets
  • Step 3: Identify Your Priority Health Topic
  • Step 4: Develop an Action Plan
  • Step 5: Take Action and Monitor Progress
  • Step 6: Celebrate and Reflect

School teams will be asked to focus on one of six health topics (in alignment with the Ministry of Education’s Foundations for a Healthy School resource):

  • Physical Activity
  • Healthy Eating
  • Personal Safety and Injury Prevention
  • Growth and Development
  • Mental Health
  • Substance Use, Addictions and Related Behaviours

Back to Top

Why is the Healthy Schools approach important?

The Healthy Schools approach encourages bringing staff, students and the community together to impact the health of everyone in the school. The Healthy Schools approach motivates and supports school communities in establishing healthy, safe, inclusive and accepting learning environments where all students can reach their full potential.

Healthy Schools is an evidence-based approach supported by provincial, national and international research. It aligns with the Ministry of Education’s Foundations for a Healthy School resource (November 2014) and has the potential to make substantial contributions to Achieving Excellence - Ontario’s renewed four year vision for education (April 2014).

Back to Top

Why do participating schools need to choose one priority health topic?

While a healthy school community aims to promote health in all six of the interconnected health topics, selecting a priority health topic based on your school community’s needs and assets allows you to focus the work of your school team and address that health topic. By focusing on one health topic comprehensively across as many of the five Foundations for a Healthy School areas as possible, your school is better positioned to have a deeper impact on the school community. Especially for schools newer to the Healthy Schools approach, focusing on one priority health topic allows the school community to direct resources towards a common goal and strengthen the message around the health topic that is most relevant to their unique situation.

Back to Top

How can my school become ‘certified’?

Ophea’s HS Certification has been developed using a point-based system aligned with the 6-Step Healthy Schools Process. Participating schools need to register in October and will then follow Ophea’s 6-Step Process to complete activities over the course of the school year that are outlined in the HS Certification Guidebook. During the course of the year, they will plan and track their progress online at their schools’ personal account. In April, schools can then apply for a Bronze, Silver, or Gold level certification. See the Ophea Healthy Schools Certification Guidebook for full details.

Back to Top

Registering for Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification

How can my school register for Ophea’s Healthy School Certification?

For the 2015-2016 school year, registration will be open from September 1, 2015 – October 9, 2015 for the first 250 registrants (on a first-come, first-serve basis). A school contact can complete the online registration form to create a school profile and register their school. The deadline for registration is Friday, October 9, 2015 at 11:59pm EST. Spaces are limited for the 2015/16 school year so register early.

Back to Top

Can any school apply to be certified?

Publically funded schools within Ontario can participate in Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification. This includes schools belonging to Public and Catholic, English and Francophone School Boards.

Back to Top

Can both elementary and secondary schools participate in Healthy Schools Certification?

Yes, both elementary and secondary schools can participate in Healthy Schools Certification provided that they are part of a Public or Catholic School Board.

Back to Top

Who can register my school?

Only a current school staff member can register their school. See “Who should be the School Contact?” To register, they will need a signed letter of support from their principal or vice-principal.

Back to Top

Does it cost any money to participate in Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification?

No, Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification is free for all participating schools.

Back to Top

School Contact

Who should be the School Contact?

The School Contact is a leader in a school who champions Healthy Schools in their community and serves as a key contact for Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification. This position is decided by the school, not by Ophea. The School Contact must be a staff member of the school. In most instances, this will be a teacher from the school. It may also be an Early Childhood Educator, Guidance Counsellor, or in some cases an administrator.

Back to Top

What’s the time commitment for the School Contact?

The School Contact will be the key contact for HS Certification for the 2015-16 school year. There is no specific time commitment from each School Contact, but the expectation would be that the School Contact would use the HS Certification Guidebook to work with their School Team to lead Healthy Schools activities and report back to Ophea using our reporting tool. The Healthy Schools approach is about collaboration which means that even though the School Contact is the main link between Ophea and their school, it doesn’t mean that they do all the work. Instead Healthy Schools is about partnerships with other school staff, parents, public health and community partners to share the responsibilities. Also, at the heart of the Healthy Schools approach is student engagement, meaning students should be leading as much as they can.

We anticipate that the 6-Step Healthy Schools Process will align well with what some schools are already doing. Really the Ophea Healthy Schools Certification aims to connect the dots between what your school is already doing.

Recognizing that all Ontario schools have different strengths and areas for improvement, the 6-Step Healthy School Process provides consistency in the approach school teams take to build their healthy school. Since the HS Certification is based on a school’s ability to follow the process, and not on the type of number of activities, it is adaptable to the unique school communities across Ontario.

Back to Top

Certification

What are the reporting requirements for a school to become certified?

School reporting requirements to earn points towards certification vary across each process step. In some instances, school teams are only required to provide basic information to earn points while, in other cases, additional supplementary information may be required to demonstrate your work (e.g. uploading documents).

Back to Top

How are students engaged in HS Certification?

Student engagement is an important component of HS Certification. This means that students are part of the school team, help choose the school’s priority health topic, and plan and lead activities (at both the elementary and secondary levels).

Back to Top

What is the timeline for HS Certification? Do you need to be recertified every year?

HS Certification is an annual process (running from September to April). Schools will need to reapply on an annual basis. School certification levels will be announced in late May/early June of each year. Key dates to remember:

Friday, October 9, 2015: Deadline to register for certification and to complete your school profile.

Friday, February 12, 2016: Deadline to submit your action plan.

Friday, April 29, 2016: Deadline to submit your completed application for certification review.

Back to Top

Support for Schools

How does Ophea support schools who want to be certified?

Ophea has developed Healthy Schools Support Tools that may be utilized by schools participating in HS Certification. These tools have been developed to support schools in demonstrating their reporting requirements. Ophea will also provide schools participating in the HS Certification with training and consultation support on an ongoing basis.

Healthy Schools is a team-based approach which is why Ophea is here to help you at every step of your journey. Recognizing that all schools have unique needs, Ophea works with schools across Ontario to guide them through the Healthy Schools approach by providing tools to build their capacity to implement this process annually.

To access resources to support healthy schools, please visit: www.ophea.net/HSCertification

Additional questions or support requests can be submitted to: healthyschools@ophea.net at any time during the school year.

Back to Top

Funding

Does HS Certification provide funding to schools?

No, HS Certification does not provide funding to schools. We do have a list of Funding Opportunities Supporting Healthy Schools and Communities in Ontario that a school community could use to apply for funding. This list is updated annually each summer.

Back to Top

Who funds HS Certification?

It continues to be our belief that healthy, active school communities play a key role in making Ontario a great place to live. Therefore, Ophea made a commitment to internally finance the initial development phase of HS Certification. We are pleased to announce that the Ontario Government and Canadian Tire Corporation will be supporting this initiative to celebrate healthy, active schools across Ontario.

Back to Top