Exemplary Districts and Schools – Castle Rock, CO – School Health and Wellness
Douglas County School District
Taking Workplace Wellness to New Heights
Douglas County School District is striving to become the healthiest school district in the United States by 2015.
District leaders have crafted a five-year strategy that launches an employee-approved comprehensive wellness plan and a new health benefits plan. One thousand “wellness champions” piloted the district’s new wellness program by signing up for a 28-day walking challenge.
“Healthy employees have fewer absences and are more productive,” says the district’s former assistant superintendent Steve Herzog. “We wanted to look at ways to both lower health care costs in a responsible manner and create healthier environments. For us, wellness was the key difference.”
The results of the district’s first wellness challenge are impressive. Nearly 200 teams were formed. Participants exercised more than two hours a day – twice the national average. They even wore out 300 pairs of sneakers by logging 80,000 miles.
To reward employees for healthy behavior, district leaders are working closely with local hospitals to donate healthy prizes such as heart checkups or blood tests.
In a five-month period, the district has already saved $1.1 million thanks to the new benefits and wellness plan. The savings has allowed the district to keep benefits strong for employees and even add an employee assistance program.
Steps to improve eating and exercise habits are taking root. Bowls of candy on employees’ desks have been replaced by healthier options such as almonds or oranges. More employees now wear pedometers to assess their daily activity. Some take short exercise breaks to skip or hop around the office, or use a donated exercise ball at their desks.
Students are taking notice.
“Our kids are now asking teachers if they are wearing their pedometers,” says Herzog. “Our goal is to roll wellness out to our students and families, but we have to demonstrate to them that we are committed to it.”
For more information, contact the DCSD Communications Department at 303-387-0033 , or visit www.dcsdk12.org.
Click on the Human Resources page and then go to “Employee Benefits.”
The Colorado Legacy Foundation believes that increased student achievement for all Colorado students requires effective leaders in every school, effective educators in every classroom, and healthy and engaging environments that ignite a passion for learning in every student.