Skip to main navigation Skip to main content
December 2013
The Kentucky Department for Public Health in conjunction with the Kentucky Department of Education & Board of Education’s Health Sub-committee hosted the Coordinated School Health Summit.

Exciting, positive, active energy from all participants made a difference in their school district's wellness policies through improved student health and academic success.

Participants provided continual energy and enthusiasm after returning to their local area to continue and implement their plans after attending the Coordinated School Health Summit.

CSH Summit Overview

This one-day summit was designed to bring together local teams from across Kentucky to focus on a coordinated school health approach to school wellness, policy planning and program review. Local health departments, in partnership with their local school districts, developed and registered their local school district teams. Both health and education administration showed their support through their welcome to the participants. 

Dr. Charles E. Basch was the keynote presenter and is the author of Healthier Students are Better Learners. Dr. Basch connects seven educationally relevant health disparities and how these impede motivation and ability to learn through at least five causal pathways such as: sensory perceptions, contention, connectedness and engagement with school, absenteeism and dropping out. Eight coordinated school health unbridled talks were featured with Kentucky experts. Local teams had facilitated planning process time to develop an action plan for work in their school districts.

A state-level Coordinated School Health Summit, All in for Health & Academic Success Planning Committee provided input into this event.  The coordinated school health team of the Kentucky Department for Public Health and Kentucky Department for Education Coordinated School Health worked with RMC Health on the participant process and materials.

CSH Summit Teamwork

Goal: School districts, with stakeholder input, will develop a plan to improve their school district wellness policies and a process for assessing implementation of their school district wellness policies.

Team Member Participant Training Objectives
As a result of this training, participants will be able to:

  • Apply knowledge gained through pre-work and summit sessions to overall school district planning and policies 
  • Expand the school district wellness policy and practices to address Coordinated School Health (CSH) components 
  • Develop an action plan that outlines next steps for expanding the school district wellness policy to include CSH components
Local Teams
Thirty-three school district teams attended. Each team had at least one public health administrator and one education administrator as a part of its team. Team members were developed based upon locally identified needs. Teams were comprised of a variety of members including: public health directors, health department directors of nursing, superintendents, school board members, school district administration staff such as division of pupil personnel, principals, parents, child nutrition directors, physical education and health teachers, school counselors, family resource and youth services centers directors, school nurses, social workers and community members. View a listing of the school districts and local health departments that attended.

All In Prep Work for Local Teams
Teams viewed a 20-minute webinar on Coordinated School Health, providing the initial framework for the summit: eight components of coordinated school health, school health council, school district wellness policies and program review.

  1. While viewing, participants were asked to think about what components of coordinated school health are present in their school district and the current level of and potential gaps in communication and coordination. This was created and produced by the coordinated school health team of the Kentucky Department for Public Health and Kentucky Department of Education Coordinated School Health staff.
  2. Teams completed the WellSAT School District Wellness Policy Assessment from Yale University, Rudd Center and e-mailed the completed tool to the Kentucky Department for Public Health coordinated school health administrator. This tool was made available for the teams on event day.
  3. At the Coordinated School Health Summit, each team developed a local action plan focusing on improving its school district wellness policies and practices, specifically looking at nutrition and physical activity as starting points. One goal was established for January 31 as this correlates to KRS 158.856.  KRS 158.856 states that by January 31 of each year, the local board of education will hold an advertised public forum to present a plan to improve school nutrition and physical activities in the district.  View an example of the Team Action Plan here.
All In Summit Day Work for Local Teams
Coordinated School Health Summit, All in for Health and Academic Success Process Guide was used by participants to take notes on the keynote and eight Coordinated School Health Unbridled Talks, including the new information discovered during this time for teamwork occurring later in the day.

A Coordinated School Health Placement activity was used by participants to record current policies or district practices that address nutrition and physical activity in each coordinated school health component and the record Opportunities for improvement for each component.

State and Local Data was available for each school district  including their completed WellSAT School District Wellness Policy Assessment, Kentucky Youth Risk Behavior Survey data and the Kentucky Incentives for Prevention Survey data.

CSH Keynote Address

Dr. Charles Basch, keynote and author of Healthier Students are Better Learners provided excellent content and set the stage for our eight Coordinated School Health Unbridled Talkers. Dr. Basch addressed questions about partnerships in CSH with school districts. 

Charles Basch was born and raised in the Bronx, NY.  He is the Richard March Hoe Professor of Health and Education at Teacher College, Columbia University. He specializes in planning and evaluating health education programs for urban minority populations to reduce health and educational disparities. He has directed approximately $20 million of grant-funded research and program development and he continues to do so. His work is described in more than 100 publications. 

CSH Unbridled Talkers

Each Coordinated School Health Unbridled Talker provided a passionate, well-constructed and entertaining talk about their particular component in about 10-15 minutes.  Scroll through the talks below for a link to the podcast and PowerPoint presentations.

School Health Environment & Policy

Lee Anne Browder is a principal at Shannon Johnson Elementary in Madison County. She has worn several hats in her career, from classroom teacher, guidance counselor and instructional coach to principal. She has been an advocate for quality, daily physical education for years. She is totally committed to creating a school environment that promotes and protects children's health by supporting good nutrition and physical activity. Her school has been recognized locally, statewide and nationally for its efforts. The school has been awarded the Bronze and Silver Awards from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and was one of 27 schools nationally to receive the Silver Award this year.

Nutrition Services

Michelle Coker MA, RD, LD is the director of the Child Nutrition Program for Fayette County Public Schools. The FCPS Child Nutrition Program plays a major role in providing nutritious, well balanced meals to the students of Fayette County. More than 10,000 breakfasts and 24,000 lunches are served daily. She completed her dietetic internship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and practiced as a registered dietitian in acute care, long-term care, wellness and food distribution. She was awarded the 2010 Outstanding Dietitian of the Year Award from the Kentucky Dietetic Association. She has been married for 20 years and has two middle school-age children.

Physical Education and Physical Activity

Jamie Sparks BA, MA is the CSH project director at the KY Dept of Education. Sparks began his career as an elementary health and physical education teacher in Eastern Kentucky. He currently chairs the Kentucky Board of Education School Health Sub-Committee, which includes a wide range of stakeholders from state-level agencies, advocacy groups, and the state Chamber of Commerce.  In July 2013, Jamie was named as co-lead under Kentucky’s newly awarded CDC grant, State Public Health Actions to Prevent and Control Diabetes, Heart Disease, Obesity and Associated Risk Factors and Promote School Health that the Department for Public Health received. Jamie also serves as the vice president for physical education for the Kentucky Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

Health Education

Taylor Charron Haydock is the practical living teacher at John F. Kennedy Montessori, a Health Promotion School of Excellence in Louisville, Kentucky. She serves children in pre-school through fifth grade, helping students explore and practice healthy behaviors. In addition to her work in her own classroom, Taylor focuses on helping teachers promote physical fitness and improved health in the regular classroom by providing resources to increase physical activity and to integrate related content into Kentucky Core Academic Standards-based lessons. In 2013, she worked with a district practical living specialist to identify and summarize related texts in an effort to make them more user friendly for classroom teachers. Taylor was a co-lead in the inauguration of the Girls on the Run program at Kennedy Montessori and continues to serve as a coach. Additionally, she co-wrote the grant proposal to secure funding from the Active Schools Acceleration Project to implement the Build Our Kids' Success program. 
MeMe Ratliff is a health and physical education teacher at Greenwood Elementary in Louisville. In addition to teaching, Ratliff coordinates the Health Promotion Schools of Excellence program, coaches cross country and sponsors the Run Louisville Run program. She wrote the proposal that earned Greenwood an Active Schools Acceleration Project grant for the CHALK/Just Move program to increase physical activity in classrooms. She is collaborating with her colleagues to earn Greenwood national recognition as a Bronze Level school in the Alliance for a Healthier Generation's Healthy Schools program.

Health Services

Dennis Chaney is the public health director for Barren River District Health Department. He earned a bachelor of science degree from Georgetown College and a master of public administration degree from the Martin School of Public Administration at the University of Kentucky. Chaney's background spans 25 years of health care administration in both the private and public sectors. His private sector experience includes more than 12 years as a not-for-profit hospital administrator for Appalachian Regional Healthcare, Inc. in Harlan, Morgan and Perry Counties. Chaney is a past-president for the Kentucky Public Health Association and serves on the board of stakeholders for Western Kentucky University College of Health and Human Services the Bowling Green Independent Schools community advisory council.  Chaney is a part-time instructor at Western Kentucky University.

Counseling, Psychology & Social Services

Jill West R.N., MSN, director children’s services, Cumberland River Comprehensive Care Center has a bachelor of science in nursing degree from Eastern Kentucky University and a master's of science of psychiatric nursing degree from the University of Tennessee. She is a qualified mental health professional and a registered nurse in Kentucky. West is a board member for Whitley County Board of Health and currently is the director of children’s services and infection control at Cumberland River Comprehensive Care Center, where she has worked for more than 20 years.

Health Promotion for Staff

Cara Blackmon is a 26-year public school educator who is currently the district assessment coordinator, supervisor of instruction, Title I and II coordinator and chairperson of the Coordinated School Health Council for the Bardstown Independent School District. Cara began her work in education as a chemistry and advanced placement chemistry instructor for the Paducah Independent School District.  She went on to serve as assistant principal at Paducah Tilghman High School prior to coming to Bardstown High School as assistant principal in 2000. In 2007 she became principal at Bardstown High School, a position she held until assuming her current position in 2011. 

Family and Community Involvement

Merritt Bates-Thomas, RDN, LD is nutrition services supervisor for Green River District Health Department where she oversees the operation of the Community Education Department, nutrition services, breastfeeding peer counseling and the WIC program. She has served on the Kentucky Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics board of directors in numerous positions including president and is currently Kentucky’s delegate in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics house of delegates. In 2010, she was appointed by the Kentucky Education Commissioner to fill a vacancy on the Daviess County Public Schools Board of Education and was elected to fill the remainder of the term in November 2010. In November 2012 she was re-elected to serve a four-year term. She also represents Kentucky on the American Association of School Administrators School Health and Learning.

Student Participation

Greenwood Elementary and Waggener Traditional High School students helped us engage participants in health education activities and physical activity interventions and introduced our dignitaries and keynote.

They were all shining stars and helped us smile throughout the morning of the summit.

State Level Information Tables

State-level partners provided information, data and resources to participants. This helped participants with opportunities for their school wellness planning process during the CSH Summit as well as opportunities for assistance when they returned to their local schools.

A big thank you to these partners who were able to participate:

  • Alliance for a Healthier Generation
  • Coordinated School Health, both Department of Education and Department for Public Health
  • Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities
  • Department for Public Health, Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program
  • Department for Public Health, Adolescent Health
  • Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
  • Humana Vitality
  • Kentucky Action for Healthy Kids
  • KET
  • Southeast United Dairy Industry Association, Inc., School Health and Wellness
  • University of Kentucky, Extension, Nutrition Education Program

Planning Committee Agencies and Organizations

State-Level Coordinated School Health Summit, All in for Health and Academic Success Planning Committee Agencies and Organizations

  • Alliance for a Healthier Generation
  • Ashland Boyd County Health Department
  • Barren River District Health Department
  • Eastern Kentucky University, College of Health Sciences
  • Family Resource and Youth Services Centers
  • Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
  • Franklin County Health Department
  • Humana Foundation
  • Kentucky Association of School Administrators
  • Kentucky Department for Behavioral Health & Developmental Intellectual Disabilities
  • Kentucky Department of Education
  • Kentucky Department for Medicaid Services
  • Kentucky Department for Public Health
  • Kentucky Educational Development Corporation
  • Kentucky School Boards Association
  • RMC Health
  • The Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky
  • University of Kentucky, College of Public Health
  • University of Kentucky, Department of Pediatrics
  • University of Louisville, College of Public Health
  • Western Kentucky University, College of Health and Human Services