Awards for Excellence in Texas School Health - Instructions and Applications

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INSTRUCTIONS:


Please read all the instructions before completing the application. If you’d like to ask a question, contact Ellen Smith via email or by phone at (512) 776-2140.

The following steps will guide you through the application process:

STEP 1 – Selecting the Correct Application
STEP 2 – Understanding the Minimum Submission Requirements
STEP 3 – Completing the Application
STEP 4 – A Word About Supporting Documentation
STEP 5 – Deadline to Apply and How To Submit Your Application
STEP 6 – Helpful Checklist


STEP 1 – Selecting the Correct Application - You may apply for more than one award if requirements are met.

  • The REACHING FOR EXCELLENCE GRANT APPLICATION should be completed for schools or districts that are planning to begin a new health program or expand on a current one, using the funds provided from this grant to improve the lifelong physical, mental, and/or social well-being of students, staff or the school community.
    A Reaching for Excellence Grant application may also be completed if:
              1.  The new program has been implemented but not in place for one full school year and expected results/outcomes
              from objectives of the program are not yet complete.
              2.   An expansion of a program  already in place  for at least one school year has been implemented but the results of
              the objectives for the expansion are not yet complete.
  • The DISCOVERY AWARD APPLICATION should be completed for schools or districts with health programs or initiatives that have been in place at least one full school year and have finalized results, and whose goal is to improve the lifelong physical, mental, and/or social well-being of students, staff or the school community.  The application will not be consdered if the same program won a Discovery award in the past.
  • The VANGUARD AWARD APPLICATION is available for schools and districts whose program is currently in place, is a previous winner of a Discovery Award for Excellence and whose goal is to improve the lifelong physical, mental, and/or social well-being of students, staff or the school community.
  • The AWARD OF ACHIEVEMENT is only available to those applying for the Discovery or Vanguard awards.  If your program or initiative is targeted to middle or high school students, and you have school or district-level programs or initiatives currently in place that have been successful in reducing obesity in adolescents by promoting nutrition and physical activity, you are eligible.  There is no separate application for this award.  You are automatically nominated as an applicant if you are applying for a Discovery or Vanguard award and you meet the requirements stated here.

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STEP 2 - Understanding the Minimum Submission Requirements
  • Requirements for REACHING FOR EXCELLENCE Grant applicants only - Your application will be considered for a grant only if you meet the following requirements:
    • The program or initiative you describe in your application must be
      • one that does not yet exist and in the planning stage; or,
      • is less than a complete school year old and without final results; or,
      • an expansion of an existing, current program or initiative without final results.
    • The program or initiative must
      • meet the description in your application, and
      • reflect one or more organized activities or projects taking place in your school or district to improve the lifelong physical, mental, and/or social well-being of students and/or staff, and/or the school community.
    • Evidence of your district’s School Health Advisory Council’s (SHAC) approval of or involvement in the new program or initiative in the form of  a supporting letter of approval from your SHAC, must be submitted with your application for the program entered for this award.
  • Requirements for DISCOVERY Award applicants - Your application will be considered for an award only if you meet the following requirements: 
    • You must have a currently active school or district health program or initiative that has been in place for at least one full school year. If you are applying for a 2014 Discovery Award, you must submit a program in place for at least the 2012-2013 school year. (See NEW TIMETABLE Frequently Asked Questions)
    • The program in place during the 2012-2013 school year, must meet the description in your application.
    • The program submitted for consideration should not be the same program having won a Discovery Award previously.
    • The program must reflect one or more organized initiatives, activities or projects taking place in your school or district to improve the lifelong physical, mental, and/or social well-being of students and/or staff, and/or the school community.
    • Evidence of your district’s School Health Advisory Council’s (SHAC) approval of or involvement in the new program or initiative in the form of a supporting letter from your SHAC, must be submitted with your application for the program entered for this award.
    • NOTE: only to applicants aiming to qualify for a Robert M. Bernstein Special Recognition Award; the program for which you are applying, must have won a Reaching for Excellece Award two years prior - in order to allow the program to have one full school year of operation before applying for and winning a Discovery Award.
  • Requirements for VANGUARD Award applicants - Your application will be considered for an award only if you meet the following requirements:
    • The program submitted for consideration must be an extension or expansion of the program for which you won a previous Award for Excellence.
    • Only previous winners of a DISCOVERY or VANGUARD Award are eligible for a Vanguard Award.
    • The program submitted must be active and in place for at least the current school year.
    • The program currently in place, must meet the description in your application.
    • The program must reflect one or more organized initiatives, activities or projects taking place in your school or district to improve the lifelong physical, mental, and/or social well-being of students and/or staff, and/or the school community.
    • Evidence of your district’s School Health Advisory Council’s (SHAC) approval of or involvement in the new program or initiative in the form of a supporting letter from your SHAC, must be submitted with your application for the program entered for this award.
    • Each section of the application should show the improvements you have made in terms of the expansion and/or improvements and/or enhancements of your program in one or more of the following areas:
        • Improved support or commitment of resources.
        • Integration of program activities in terms of Coordinated School Health.
        • Expansion of efforts to institutionalize, broaden or replicate program; internally and/or externally into the community or other campuses.
        • Development of evaluation tools for the refinement of program objectives and implementation.
        • Improvement of techniques/processes and/or, effect of collaboration within the district and/or the community.
        • Effective use of your Award for Excellence money should be specifically noted in appropriate application sections in terms of development, enhancement or improvements to your award winning program.
    • NOTE: only to applicants aiming to qualify for a Robert M. Bernstein Special Recognition Award; the program for which you are applying, must have also won a Discovery Award either in the prior year or two years earlier. 
  • Those completing a Discovery or Vanguard award application will be automatically considered for an AWARD OF ACHIEVEMENT if the following requirement applies.  This requirement is in addition to the requirements already outlined for the Discovery and Vanguard awards as previously described. There is no application required for this award.
  • The program submitted for consideration must be a school or district-level program or initiative currently in place that has been successful in reducing obesity in middle or high school students through innovative and effective school programs that promote good nutrition and physical activity.

NOTE:  The Awards for Excellence program is open to all Texas public, private, or charter school districts or individual campuses.  The program is not open to higher education insitutions or other organization unless they are implementing a program for the district within a school or district and they have the approval of the district School Health Advisory Council. For-profit organizations, using their product as the program they want to submit are not eligible to compete for an award.  Schools conducting a fundraiser for a non-profit or for-profit organization as the program they want to submit are not eligible to compete for an award.

 

The next topic will give you the general instructions for completing the application.

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STEP 3 - Completing the Application

  • Helpful tips:
    • Read all of the questions before writing responses.
    • Be sure your responses address the questions for each section.
    • Do not refer the reader to another question or outside source for an answer. Each answer should be complete within itself.
    • Be concise and use bullets when appropriate.
  • General Instructions for Completing the Application:
    • Select the appropriate application type for your program.  Refer to Step 1 to determine which of the applications would apply.
    • Provide all of the contact information requested.
    • Provide an answer for each of the questions listed under each section.
    • The application must be completed and submitted electronically. You can fax or mail your application only if email is not an option.
    • Before completing electronically, download the application on your personal computer. This is a Word document. Keep it in Word. Do not change it to a PDF.
    • The space provided for your responses is only a guide. It may be expanded to allow you to provide an adequate response.
    • DO NOT RE-TYPE or CONVERT TO A .PDF! Use the format and text provided to formulate your responses.

NOTE:  If the format changes as a result of the boxes expanding because the amount of information exceeded the space displayed, THAT’S OK.

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STEP 4 - A Word About Supporting Documentation

  • Supporting documentation refers to items such as letters of support, press releases, photos, sample curricula, flyers, brochures, CDs, supporting research etc. related to the program described in your application.
  • Supporting documentation should not be a replacement for answers to questions on the application and will not be accepted as such.
  • With the exception of the letter from the School Health Advisory Council required for all applicants, supporting documentation is entirely optional and WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED DURING JUDGING.
  • You may, however, submit supporting documentation if
    • you feel it will help the judges to better understand your program; or
    • your video, CD or workbook, etc. IS the program.
  • If you mail supporting documentation you may either:
    • mail your application with it instead of emailing it; or
    • reference your application if you send it electronically so staff will know to which application the supporting documentation belongs.

The next topic tells you how to submit your application.

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STEP 5 - Deadline To Apply and How To Submit Your Application

 

  • Deadline: The deadline for submitting 2014 applications is May 5, 2014 (EXTENDED DEADLINE)
    • Applications submitted electronically - required (see below for exception):
      • Under the email subject heading; type the following: 2014 Award for Excellence Application.
      • Attach your application and any required supporting documents that can be emailed.
      • Email your application to Ellen Smith at ellen.smith@dshs.state.tx.us.
      • Applications submitted electronically must be received no later than 5:00PM CDT, May 5, 2014.  Applications received electronically after that time/date will not be accepted.
      • You will receive a reply within the week of submission to confirm we received your application in good order.
    • Documents submitted by fax or mail:
      • An application can be faxed or mailed only if email is not an option.
      • Fax your application to Ellen Smith at 512-776-7555.
      • Applications and/or supporting documentation submitted by mail must be stamped as received by the Texas Department of State Health Services mail room no later than 5:00PM CDT, May 5, 2014.  Applications received after that time/date will not be considered unless there are extenuation circumstances.

    Applications:
    Click on an application type below to open up the application that best fits your program (See Step 1).  Copy the application to your personal computer before completing.  Do not change or retype the application.

    • Reaching for Excellence Grant Application - Available in February, 2015 
    • Discovery Award Application - Available in February, 2015 
    • Vanguard Award Application - Available in February, 2015

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    STEP 6: Helpful Checklist:

    • You are using the correct application
    • You have provided all information requested on the contact information section on the first page of the application.
    • You have responded to all the questions on the application.
    • You will be transmitting your application within the deadline and via email.

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    Return to Awards for Excellence home page

     

    Last updated July 22, 2014