Healthy Schools Certification FAQs | Ophea.net

Search form

Ophea.net

Healthy Schools Certification FAQs

Healthy Schools and Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification

  1. Why is the Healthy Schools approach important?
  2. What is Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification?
  3. Why do participating schools need to choose only one priority health topic?
  4. How can my school become ‘certified’?
  5. Can any school apply to be certified?
  6. Can both elementary and secondary schools participate in Healthy Schools Certification?

Registering and Accessing My School’s Dashboard for Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification

  1. How do I register my school?
  2. Who can register my school?
  3. How do I confirm that my school was successfully registered?
  4. Once I’m registered, how do I access my Dashboard?
  5. Can I add others to our school dashboard so that they have access to add things to our Healthy Schools dashboard?
  6. Does it cost any money to participate in Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification?

Healthy Schools Lead

  1. Who should be the Healthy Schools Lead?
  2. What’s the time commitment for the Healthy Schools Lead?

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?

Healthy Schools and Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification

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.

Watch the Healthy Schools Healthy Communities: How you can make a difference video for a brief overview of the Healthy Schools approach.

The Healthy Schools approach also supports schools in promoting student well-being and in addressing the School Improvement Plan and Board Improvement Plan, as well as Ministry policies and other local and regional priorities.

Back to Top

What is Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification?

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 and identified by looking at their existing assets and their current needs. 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 Gold, Silver, or Bronze Healthy School. Healthy Schools Certification is an annual process so that it reflects the reality of each unique school year.

Ophea’s HS Certification is built on a 6-Step Healthy Schools Process that supports school communities to take a planned, comprehensive approach to address a priority health topic over the course of a school year. HS Certification is based on following the process, not on the number or type of activities, so it’s adaptable to all school settings.

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):

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

Back to Top

Why do participating schools need to choose only 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. 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 or November and will then follow Ophea’s 6-Step Process to complete activities over the course of the school year. During the year, they will plan and track their progress online on their schools’ personal dashboard. In May, schools can then apply for a Gold, Silver, or Bronze level certification. See the Ophea Healthy Schools Certification Guidebook for full details.

Back to Top

Can any school apply to be certified?

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

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.

Back to Top

Registering and Accessing My School’s Dashboard for Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification

How do I register my school?

Simple! On or after October 13th, 2020 at noon (ET) go to www.ophea.net/HSCertification, click the blue Register button on the top right corner of the page, and follow the prompts online to register! Before you go to register, check out the list of registration information to ensure you have it all ready to submit. If you don’t already have an Ophea.net account, you’ll need to create one of those first (it’s free and easy!). To do that, go to Ophea.net, click on “Create an account” on the top right of the page.

Back to Top

Who can register my school?

Only a current school staff member can register their school.

Back to Top

How do I confirm that my school was successfully registered?

When you have completed the registration process, you’ll receive a pop-up message indicating that you have successfully registered. You will also receive a confirmation e-mail with instructions on how to get to your dashboard. Important: you also receive an email confirmation when you create an account for www.ophea.net in general. This email is NOT confirmation of registration for Healthy Schools Certification.

Back to Top

Once I’m registered, how do I access my Dashboard?

First things first – you have to login to your Ophea.net account. Once you’ve done that, you can go to www.ophea.net/HSCertification and you should see a blue “Dashboard” button to the top right of your screen. Click on that, and you’ll be directed to your personalised dashboard. If you aren’t signed into Ophea.net, you won’t see the dashboard button, so make sure to do that first!

Back to Top

Can I add others to our school dashboard so that they have access to add things to our Healthy Schools dashboard?

To ensure consistency in the information that’s uploaded to the dashboard, and for privacy of sensitive information, Ophea's Healthy Schools Certification relies on having a single Healthy Schools Lead who registers the school and reports on their progress. Therefore only the person who registered the school can access the dashboard, as that school's dashboard is linked to their personal Ophea account and their account only.

That being said, we are always looking into other options whereby more than one person may be able to access or at least view the dashboard. But right now, due to many factors (privacy being one, not having information deleted or altered inadvertently is another), it's limited to one user per school.

Back to Top

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

Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification is free for all publicly funded schools.

There is a fee of $500.00 CAD each year for private and independent schools participating in HS Certification.

Back to Top

Healthy Schools Lead

Who should be the Healthy Schools Lead?

The Healthy Schools Lead is an individual 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 Healthy Schools Lead 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 Healthy Schools Lead

The Healthy Schools Lead will be the key contact for HS Certification for the school year. There is no specific time commitment for each Healthy Schools Lead, but the expectation would be that the Healthy Schools Lead 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 Healthy Schools Lead 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.

Back to Top

Certification

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

Reporting Requirements to earn points towards certification vary across each process step. In some instances, school teams are only required to provide basic information (i.e., Yes or No answer) to earn points while, in other cases, additional information is required to demonstrate your work.

Refer to the Guidebook for points breakdown and Reporting Requirements.

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). The degree to which students are engaged depends on the school, with the hope that each student engagement moves from participation to leadership (at all grades).

Back to Top

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

HS Certification is an annual process. Schools will need to reapply on an annual basis as the Certification is a result of each unique school year. School certification levels will be announced in late May/early June of each year.

Key dates to remember:

  • Friday, November 27, 2020 @ 12:00pm (noon) ET: Deadline to register
  • Friday, May 7, 2021 @ 12:00pm (noon) ET: Final deadline for certification - deadline to submit Steps 1 to 6

Back to Top

Support for Schools

How does Ophea support schools who want to be certified?

Ophea has developed a series of support tools that may be used by schools registered for HS Certification. Ophea will also provide schools participating in the HS Certification with training and consultation support on an ongoing basis.

Support Tools can be accessed by schools on the HS Certification website or from their HS Certification Dashboard. The HS Certification Team is available year-round by email (healthyschools@ophea.net) as an additional support to schools.

Back to Top

Funding

Does HS Certification provide funding to schools?

No, HS Certification will not provide funding to schools during the 2020/21 school year.

Back to Top