During my time at the Oregon Department of Education during the years of 2003-2006, I was funded by and became very acquainted with the amazing support and funding opportunities that both the Division of Adolescent and School Health and the Healthy Schools Branch at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer and provide partnership to the school health community.
I know as a potential grantee, thoughts of writing a 5-year application can feel enormous and overwhelming, especially over the holidays. As a partner that supports healthy schools, and has since 2006, it’s an exciting moment to see that indeed, CDC has continued to invest in the effective initiatives, infrastructure, and programming that states put in place over their 5 year funding cycle.
Here, at Cairn Guidance, we want to share how we can support you, as a potential grantee. We won’t write your application (!), but we can share with you how you might utilize our expertise if indeed granted the funding opportunity! Here is what we do best…
Statewide Infrastructure and Coalition Building
We have experience supporting state agencies and organizations to set up a school health vision and strategic plan that sustains beyond the five year grant. Ensuring that best practices for sustainability in school health are in place, we work with agencies and organizations to create infrastructure that lasts. Examples might include ensuring a coordinator position is funded by state funds beyond the grant period, creating and sustaining a statewide advocacy coalition, holding monthly meetings with access to State Board of Education Members, or ensuring your vision and mission statement use the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) framework. We also can support needs assessment processes including surveys, focus groups, and facilitation of advisory groups.
Blaze Approach; a School or District Level Approach
Our coordinated school health technical assistance and professional development offering is called Blaze Approach. Just as a cairn is a pile of rocks that may guide or lead the way on a hike, blazes are markers in trees that help guide your journey as well. We offer an adaptable route based on the need to bring your state team and/or your selected priority districts/Local Education Agencies (LEAs) through a process in which they review their policies, programs, and practices to align to the WSCC framework and utilizing best practices along the way. Find out more by reviewing our 3-pager, visiting our website, or reviewing/completing our questionnaire to learn more about what we offer.
Many of our colleagues and partners are familiar with our two systems simulations. Meant to be played in-person or remotely these sims build upon foundational research. Both Making Change Happen and Systems Thinking; Systems Changing introduce systems thinking concepts, continuous improvement processes, and general research on teamwork, communication, and problem-solving in groups. They are both designed to help participants create and sustain work environments that routinely use the tools of continuous improvement to realize their vision, enhance their chosen outcomes, increase the effectiveness of all internal and external parties, and implement programs, practices, and policies effectively with sustainable success. These sims can be framed in any education topic, i.e., chronic disease prevention efforts or Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs (CSPAP). Find out more at our website or download the flyer here. Note: Both these simulations have gone through extensive revisions and updates!
Our team was the evaluator for the COVID-Supplemental funding opportunity for one State Education Agency (SEA) during this last funding cycle. We would love to be your evaluator for this project if you are looking for one. We can facilitate a planning session at the beginning of the grant cycle to develop a logic model and strategy for evaluation. We would provide technical support to evaluate programs, policies and practices at the SEA and LEA levels. We can coordinate data collection, summaries and provide analysis to support your planning and implementation processes. We have experience developing surveys and assessment tools. Finally, we are able to prepare materials and reports to share with school, community and health partners in order to market/communicate and share your story, a key component to sustainability.
We adapt to support your needs. Our work is designed and packaged to meet your individual state and local needs and resources to achieve the goals of healthy schools! We hope to hear from you!
Jess Lawrence, Director