HS Certification General FAQs | Ophea.net

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HS Certification General FAQs

Healthy Schools and Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification

  1. How do I register my school?
  2. How do I confirm that my school was successfully registered?
  3. Once I’m registered, how do I access my Dashboard?
  4. Can I add others to our school dashboard so that they have access to add things to our Healthy Schools dashboard?
  5. What is Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification?
  6. Why is the Healthy Schools approach important?
  7. Why do participating schools need to choose only one priority health topic?
  8. 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

How do I register my school?

Simple! On or after September 5th, 2017 at noon (EST) 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.

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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.

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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!

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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 school contact 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.

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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 Bronze, Silver, or Gold Healthy School in April. 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):

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

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

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).

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.

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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. 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.

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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 September or October 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 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.

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Registering for Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification

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

Simple! On or after September 5th, 2017 at noon (EST) 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.

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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.

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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.

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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. We have a template letter to help schools get started.

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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.

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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.

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What’s the time commitment for the School Contact?

The School Contact will be the key contact for HS Certification for the 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.

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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, called “Reporting Requirements”, to demonstrate your work (e.g. uploading documents). Check out the Guidebook for points breakdown and Reporting Requirements.

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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).

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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 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, October 27, 2017: Deadline to register for certification and to complete your school profile.
  • Friday, February 16, 2018: Deadline to submit steps 1-3.
  • Friday, April 27, 2018: Deadline to submit Steps 4-6 for certification review of all steps.

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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.

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Funding

Does HS Certification provide funding to schools?

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

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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.

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