Colcord Public School officials have received a $3,000 grant to improve the grounds around the district’s elementary site as part of the state’s effort to create a healthier learning environment for area students.

“We are going to use the funds to improve the parent pickup line, conduct come sidewalk repairs and to install some new signage,” said Colcord Superintendent Bud Simmons. “If there is some money left over from those projects, we can use the remaining funds to help other sites in our district.”

The funding comes as part of the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Healthy Schools Incentive Program in the state of Oklahoma.

“These grants recognize the efforts of schools and school districts that are actively promoting healthy lifestyles,” TSET Executive Director John Woods said in a recent press release. “Studies show that active, healthy kids perform better in school.

"Habits formed early last a lifetime and we want to recognize schools that are making the healthy choice the easy choice for students, staff and the community.”

To qualify for the grant, Colcord School District officials met guidelines set in place through the Certified Healthy Oklahoma program - which is a partnership between the Oklahoma Academy for State Goals, the Oklahoma Turning Point Council, the State Chamber and the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

“Certification involved meeting criteria for our nutrition program, wellness policy and physical fitness programs,” Simmons said. “The healthier choices that are available in the school district, the higher award of excellence we can receive.”

Schools must also provide a tobacco-free and vape-free environment at all times on school property and at school-sponsored events.

Colcord schools have received an “Excellent Award” – the highest possible recognition available.

“Our school board is very supportive of grant writing,” Simmons said. “We have an incentive for people to write grants for the district and it’s really paying off for us.”

Simmons said he expects the upgrades to begin during the district’s upcoming summer break.

More about TSET

The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) serves as a partner and bridge builder for organizations working towards shaping a healthier future for all Oklahomans.

TSET is designed to promote leadership at the intersections of health by working across the state, by cultivating innovative and life-changing research, and by working across public and private sectors to develop, support, implement and evaluate creative strategies to take advantage of emerging opportunities to improve the public's health.