Healthy Schools



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We believe that health is a human right but due to racism and discrimination, working class and people of color are denied equal access to a doctor, affordable healthy food and safe places to play and exercise. As a result, we are facing an alarming health epidemic. In Southwest Denver, 60% of students are overweight or obese. Children as young as two are developing life-threatening illnesses such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. If we do not reverse this epidemic, out youth will be the first generation in history to die before their parents. Therefore, we must fight for healthy schools! We are calling on Denver Public Schools (DPS) to act with the same sense of urgency we feel, to end health disparities and level the playing field so that all children can learn and succeed, regardless of where they live or what school they attend.

  • What Have We Done?

  • Campaign Wins in DPS

  • Campaign Goals

In June 2016 Padres & Jóvenes Unidos (PJU), published Health Justice Report II: A Community Analysis of Food, Race and Class in Denver Public Schools, revealing inequities in the quality of school food and cafeteria conditions between schools in southwest Denver and schools with predominately White/high-income students across town. The report is a result of parent led research in the cafeterias of 16 elementary, middle, and high schools. Eight schools were in the predominately lower-income Latino neighborhoods of Southwest Denver and the other eight schools were in the more affluent neighborhoods of Cherry Creek, University Park, City Park, Park Hill, and Stapleton. To date, parents and students have met with DPS, shared their stories with the Denver Board of Education, and presented the Board with their Health Justice report.
* All 200 kitchen managers have received 3 salad bar trainings this year (2016)
* DPS is now conducting 5 food quality audits at random schools each week; including a blind taste test.
* DPS will provide each kitchen with photo examples of properly prepared meals and recipes that will be posted for staff reference.
* Kitchen managers must complete 60 hours of “scratch cook” training by the end of their first year, in order to better oversee school meal preparation.
1. Implement best practices including Breakfast After the Bell and Recess Before Lunch, as well as adequate time to consume meals to help eliminate hunger amongst our youth.
2. Adopt nutrition standards that exceed the federal requirements. Strengthen scratch-cooking programs and expand farm-to-school programs so that all students have quality, healthy and fresh school food on a daily basis.
3. Increase daily physical activities, including recess, sports programs and required PE classes. PE should use a standards-based curriculum taught by qualified and licensed PE instructors. Identify measures needed to bring facilities up-to-date, with a focus on creating physical environments that promote health and learning. Foster and support community health through the adoption of policies such as shared-used agreements.
4. Establish School Wellness Centers with the needed nursing staff to provide free comprehensive physical and mental health services for all students and their families, including preventative health, dental, vision and counseling in partnership with local health institutions.
5. Replace zero tolerance approaches to student discipline with Restorative Justice (RJ).
6. Create schools that are the center of their communities where all students, parents and community members feel welcomed and valued. All school environments should respect and uphold the languages, cultures and customs of their community.
7. Call on federal, state and local lawmakers to ensure adequate and equitable funding for all schools so that all students can benefit from high quality, healthy schools.  










Download the Health Justice Report (English and Spanish)


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