Success Stories

Poudre School District / Fort Collins, CO

What does being a healthy business mean to your organization?

Poudre School District is committed to supporting employees and promoting a healthy work/life balance in every way. As part of these efforts, PSD is proud to provide a cohesive and innovative program to attend to all aspects of physical and emotional health and wellness.   PSD recognizes that healthy staff and healthy students are better learners.  PSD Wellness offers a variety of resources, along with an incentive program, to help our employees reach their best self through PSD's employee wellness program.   

How does it reflect the company’s values and business goals?

The mission of Poudre School District (PSD) is to “Educate…Every Child, Every Day.”  Aligns with the PDS Mission Statement, a wellness statement of “Encourage Healthy and Happy Living…Every Day” was created in 2012 in response to the districts commitment to integrate health and wellness into every facet of student learning.  To support these missions, the District sees value in a well-designed student and employee wellness program and policy.  PSD aspires to bring equity and integration to our programs and strengthen the culture of health and wellness.  With over 49 school locations, 11 other district locations, and a diverse employee group, PSD wellness has integrated various components to bring depth and scope to our program.

Using a broad, holistic approach, key components of our wellness program include, Employee Assistance Services, Lifestyle Health Services, Employee Health Clinic, Comprehensive Employee Wellness Program.

Employee Assistance Services (EAS) offers PSD employees and their eligible household family members free, confidential counseling services. Sessions may be for individuals, couples, or families, and it is not necessary to have PSD health insurance to utilize EAS.

The Employee walk-in clinic provides visits, at no cost, to benefited employees/dependents. While not designed to replace existing relationships with primary care physicians, the clinic is an alternative for many non-life-threatening symptoms.   

The PSD Lifestyle Health Services program is available to assist benefited employees and dependents who are at risk for a chronic illness such as hypertension, asthma, diabetes, arthritis and bipolar disorders. The Lifestyle Health Services program provides support tools to improve nutrition, fitness, and overall health.

PSD is committed to providing employees every opportunity to work well and live well. This programming is directly related to the health and wellness needs of all employees. Examples of wellness offerings include flu shots, biometric screenings, educational classes, online health assessment, fitness assessments, and an interactive employee portal.   PSD Wellness Policy is also an integral reflection of our mission and goals.  Policy includes having opportunities for staff to participate in programs, access to healthy good options and vending for students and staff, and a designated person at school and district locations to champion wellness.   Policy solidifies our top leadership support that health and wellness is a priority in our schools for students and staff.

How has Health Links helped PSD build a culture of health and safety?

Health Links has provided PSD with the support, networking, and best practices to align our worksite wellness program. By giving us an opportunity to continue our education through webinars, connecting with other programs through networking events, and providing measures of success through the certification, PSD can continually grow our program to best suit the needs of the organization and staff that we serve.  

What changes have you seen among your employees, their families, and the surrounding community as a result of your program(s)?

As a result of our integrated program, our employees have seen an increase in participation in biometric screenings and health risk assessments, a reduction in overall ER visits, an increase in preventative services such as our lifestyle health, and an increase in engagement in biometric screenings from 551 participants to 2512 participants, over quadrupling our participation.

We have seen some great community changes in many of our schools. Due to participation in our employee lifestyle health program, employees at Fort Collins High School and from the early childhood department have taken what they learned from working with Lifestyle Health and are now actively meeting as a group to continue to support one another.   Employees are learning to cook together as a family from our offered cooking classes and nutrition counseling from Lifestyle health.   

The most profound change we have seen with our program is the integration between students and staff.  PSD Wellness has partnered with UCHealth Healthy Hearts program to bring biometric screenings to all benefited employees and their dependents throughout the year, onsite, at every school and district location.   Alongside the employee screenings, Healthy hearts also screens our students and provides onsite free age-appropriate heart health education and cholesterol screenings.   The screenings, done at the school by the Healthy Hearts team, provide students and employees with a lipid panel, blood glucose, blood pressure and BMI and waist circumference, as well as personalized heart, stroke and diabetes assessments. This has drastically changed the culture of wellness for every building. It is a unique learning opportunity for students to see staff take charge of their health and for staff to empower students to take charge of theirs.   If we have healthy students and healthy staff we can continue our mission, to educate every child, every day.

Does your health and safety program help give back to your community?

PSD Wellness program gives back to our community through various ways.  As a wellness program, we incentivize volunteer work through our employee wellness portal. We promote school and site level community collaboration and healthy activities such as school wide fun runs, color runs, wellness days.  By integrating employee and student programs together we have seen a shift in the culture of our staff.  We participate in community events and organizations such as Big Green, a non-profit that provide learning gardens for our students and staff.  All our sites participate in UCHealth Healthy Kids Club 5210 which promotes students and staff healthy habits such as five fruits and veggies, two hours or less of screen time, one hour of physical activity and zero sugary drinks.  PSD District Wellness also funds school level team’s yearly to integrate employee and student wellness programs that fit the need of their school.  Giving back directly to site level wellness teams shifts our culture, as we have a wellness team, and champion at every site and district location.  By doing this, wellness is not just a onetime event, or a biometric screening, but it is a way of doing things in our schools. 

What tip/advice would you give to a business that is considering starting a workplace health and safety program?

Our advice is to integrate three core components, leadership buy in, data driven decisions, and unique programming.  The first component of any health and safety program is senior leadership support and administrative buy in.   It is support from leadership that reinforces the commitment to healthy lifestyle promotion, can lead to policy changes, and can remove barriers for participation.

Using data to drive decisions is another key component.  Gather feedback from your employees and measure not just quantitative but qualitative data such as employee satisfaction, participation rates, and success stories.  Lastly, Wellness is not one size fits all.   Wellness should be something we do for our employees, incentives reinforce a culture of health.  Find what fits for your organization and what supports your mission.

Poudre School District