Primer Series: CSD’s Wellness Program

In April, we brought you news of CSD’s award-winning wellness program. We spoke of how the district’s wellness mission works to enhance employee health and workforce productivity, reduces the costs associated with health care and absenteeism, and provides a wealth of information to students, staff, and the entire Colchester community about healthy living habits.

But if you aren’t fully aware of just how comprehensive CSD’s wellness program is, it really is worth a closer look.

For example, did you know that, in addition to collaborating with the food service program, the district partners with local fitness centers and the Vermont Educators Health Initiative to provide information and incentives for healthy living?

The district was fortunate to secure a new wellness coordinator position beginning with the 2010–2011 school year. CSD’s wellness coordinator is Connie Gavin, who also teaches Family and Consumer Science—a class encompassing nutrition, meal preparation, financial literacy, career exploration, sustainable living, and the like—at Colchester Middle School. She has a bachelor’s degree in family and consumer science with a minor in nutrition and a master’s degree in health education from Columbia University.

Connie engineers the wellness program by tapping a wealth of research-based resources for information, much of which is available on the district’s wellness page. If you spend some time exploring it, you’ll be impressed by what you find. You’ll see the US Department of Agriculture’s new dietary guidelines, links to area parks and trails, and even healthier ways of maintaining our lawns!

The website offers valuable resources about area fitness centers, activity guides, nutritional advice, self-defense training, diabetes, smoking cessation, cold and sickness prevention, the Vermont Department of Health’s WIC program, and much, much more.

The wellness website is cleverly categorized to provide easy access to an abundance of helpful material. There is a page for students and parents, a guide for staff—including information about the PATH program and information about Invest EAP, which is a service providing free assistance to employees and their families for a host of life stressors—a section for new employees, and information for the entire Colchester community. Parents can even access school menus and nutritional content of the meals through this website.

The district has an established wellness policy and a wellness committee that works hard to incorporate healthy initiatives into all facets of our schools. (View the wellness committee’s mission statement here and access meeting minutes here.)

Among Connie’s goals for the district’s wellness program is to develop and implement a coordinated school health model that is all health inclusive, centering around eight critical, interrelated components, including:

1. Health education
2. Physical education
3. Health services
4. Mental health and social services
5. Nutrition services
6. Healthy and safe environments
7. Family and community involvement
8. Staff wellness

Research indicates that when these healthy elements are integrated, improvements in student health and learning results.

This is only a small sampling of the information available through CSD’s wellness program. Want to learn more? Contact Connie Gavin at with any questions, and spend some time with the district’s wellness website. Make it a family affair!

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