Participate in your school district’s funding decisions!

posted Apr 22, 2016, 12:52 PM by Nancy Raskauskas-Coons

It’s budget season for our schools. As your travel around the county, you may notice billboards, radio ads and newspaper ads from Building Healthy Communities encouraging you to hold our elected School Board accountable and reminding us that every child has a right to a quality education.

Each year, the School Board is charged with allocating millions of dollars towards our kids' education. Join the movement of parents, students, teachers, community and advocates working with Del Norte Unified leaders to ensure our students' success. Your input is critical.

Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) is a form of participatory budgeting that started in California as part of the 2013-14 State Budget. The intention of Local Control Funding Formula is to ensure equity in primary education for our most vulnerable and underserved communities.

LCFF, and its local accountability counterpart, the LCAP – Local Control and Accountability Plan — are anchored by the notion that California must do better for its under-performing students, who make up a sizable portion of the state’s school-age population.

The LCFF significantly changed the funding formula for school districts — more money is attached to students who are under-performing. The LCFF identifies three categories of students requiring greater resources: 1) students who qualify for free or reduced priced meals, 2) students who are English Learners, and 3) foster youth.

Together, more than 60% of Del Norte's students are among the population that fall into these categories, and for which the state provides additional need-based revenue to the district.

One aim of LCFF and LCAP funds is to narrow the gap in school district budgets, to bring them closer to pre-recession (2007-2008) funding levels. School districts must create a Local Control and Accountability Plan by June each year to spend the state allocated funds.

Since first seeking community input in November 2013, multiple new funding priorities have been launched in the Del Norte Unified School District. In the first year, more than 40 community engagement sessions were held and input was collected in-person and via online surveys. The results of the community LCAP survey found that increased student achievement and improved school climate were the top priorities.

Based on these findings, the initial LCAP included retaining and hiring more teachers and support staff as well as using Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and Restorative Justice throughout district schools to decrease bullying and suspension rates. Three years later, these programs are still in effect and receiving funding.

Do you have something to add to this year’s budget conversation? Start today by talking with your child’s teacher, contacting the school district or attending a school site council meeting.

Find out what your school district is doing around these issues:

  • School counselors

  • Restorative justice

  • Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS)

  • Reduced class sizes

  • Foster students

  • Native American students

  • Career pathways

  • English Language Learners (ELL)

  • Attendance and suspension

Bring your voice to a School Board budget hearing this May or June (May 12, May 26, June 9, June 23) or call the school district at 707-464-6141 and ask to meet with Superintendent Jeff Harris or Assistant Superintendent Steve Godla.

New Building Healthy Communities initiative director for Del Norte named

posted Mar 23, 2016, 1:45 PM by Nancy Raskauskas-Coons

CRESCENT CITY — Michelle Carrillo, a Curry County native and Crescent City resident, has been selected as the new Building Healthy Communities Initiative Director at the Wild Rivers Community Foundation. She brings a proven track record in advanced facilitation, collective impact and systems mapping, grant writing, fund development, and relationship building to the new role where she will oversee systems and policy change initiative teams focused on health career pathways, local food systems, education and youth empowerment.

Established in 2004, the Wild Rivers Community foundation, an affiliate of Humboldt Area Foundation, promotes and encourages generosity, leadership and inclusion to strengthen communities in Del Norte and Curry counties.

The foundation also serves as the backbone organization supporting the work of the Building Healthy Communities Initiative for Del Norte and Adjacent Tribal Lands. Del Norte is one of 14 sites across the state of California funded through the California Endowment's 10-year $1 billion commitment to change health outcomes in disproportionately underserved communities across the state. More than $10 million has already been invested in Del Norte and Adjacent Tribal Land projects.

Serving as the Building Healthy Communities Youth Program Manager at Wild Rivers Community Foundation for this past year, Carrillo has been working to lay the groundwork for long term transformational youth opportunities throughout the region. She previously worked for five years as the 4-H Youth Development Coordinator and Co-County Leader for Oregon State University Extension Service in Gold Beach, Oregon, where she cofounded and grew the 4-H Surfrider S.O.S. Program, teaching kids to surf, while learning to be stewards of their environment.

Carrillo has a strong background in grant writing and fund development, youth leadership development and recreation. She believes in fostering collaboration and partnerships to create lasting change. Carrillo is known as a mentor with local youth, advocating for young people to have a place at decision-making tables while supporting their individual leadership and public speaking skill development.

Carrillo grew up in Curry County, Oregon, and is a graduate of Brookings-Harbor High School and Southwestern Oregon Community College, where she earned an associate’s degree in Business. She attended Southern Oregon University, where she studied digital media and communications.

As a volunteer, Carrillo has served on the Friends of Brookings-Harbor Aquatic Center, City Recreation Taskforce, and Kids After School Education and Recreation boards. She is a Ford Institute for Leadership alumna and founding member of Wild Rivers Connect -- a regional online and in-person network of leaders dedicated to fostering networking, collaboration and education for nonprofits and community groups.

Youth from Throughout California Visiting Del Norte

posted Jun 19, 2014, 2:34 PM by BHC Staff   [ updated Jun 19, 2014, 2:52 PM ]

Local youth and adult allies are hosting young people from throughout California in back- to-back convenings over the coming days. The first convening will bring together representatives from the five northern Building Healthy Communities sites, including East Oakland, East Salinas, Richmond, South Sacramento, and Del Norte and the Adjacent Tribal Lands. The second convening involves the Building Healthy Communities Statewide Youth Steering Committee, consisting of youth representatives from all 14 BHC sites in California from Del Norte County to San Diego.
Del Norters are looking forward to playing host and helping the youth from other parts of California understand what it means to live in our community. “We are excited to welcome everyone to our unique community, show them the beautiful area we live in, and work
together to strategize how to make each of our sites, including Del Norte County, better places for our youth to grow up and be healthy, safe, comfortable, and prepared for bright futures,” said Makenzy Williams, the Steering Committee member from Del Norte and Adjacent Tribal Lands.

All participants will learn more about the issues young people face in rural, urban and suburban communities, and how young people are responding to those issues. All while build- ing relation- ships, exploring our community and having fun.

The Building Healthy Communities initiative has recognized the importance of growing youth power and leadership in order to improve health at the local, regional and state level. Youth voice, culture, creativity and passion are critical perspectives and tools in the effort to improve the health of communities.

The convenings serve as the beginning of a summer of exciting youth opportunities. Shortly after hosting visitors a group of DNATL youth will make visits of their own, making stops at Sacramento’s BHC site, the RYSE Youth Center in Richmond and Youth UpRising in Oakland to learn more about youth media. And beginning June 30th scores of local youth ages 14-24 will be employed as Youth Research Assistants through the California Center for Rural Policy’s Youth and Young Adult Academy. CCRP and local partners will provide the youth employees opportunities to gain invaluable life, leadership and job skills.

Del Norte and Adjacent Tribal Lands is one of 14 communities across the state working with The California Endowment through the Building Healthy Communities initiative to spread the message: health happens in schools, homes and neighborhoods.

Walk and Bike to School Day on May 7

posted May 5, 2014, 9:28 AM by BHC Staff

Approximately 520 students from Bess Maxwell and Joe Hamilton Elementary Schools will be walking and biking to school along with parents, teachers and community leaders on National Bike to School Day on Monday, May 7. Neighborhoods surrounding Bess Maxwell and Joe Hamilton Elementary Schools will be busting from 7:20 – 8:00 am with students walking or ridding their bike to school. Community leaders will be hosting “cheer squads” along the main roadways to these schools to provide encouragement and fun. Chipper and Rescue Raccoon will be on hand and prizes will be giving out prizes at the schools.

Students and community members from the across the United States will also be joining together to celebrate National Bike to School Day. Bike to School events work to create safer routes for bicycling and walking, and emphasize the importance of a range of issues such as increasing physical activity among children, cyclist and pedestrian safety, traffic congestion, concern for the environment and building connections between families, schools and the broader community.

The event is being organized by the Safe Routes to School Program, including the Del Norte Unified School District, Del Norte Local

Transportation Commission, California Highway Patrol, Del Norte County Sheriff’ s Department, Crescent City Police Department, Del Norte County Health and Human Services, the Public Health Institute and The California Endowment.

Safe Routes to School programs provide pedestrian and cycling education and events to increase the number of students walking and biking to school, in addition to State and federal funding for infrastructure improvements to enhance and provide a means for walking and biking to school, thereby increasing physical activity, reducing greenhouse gas, safe fuel and reduce

traffic congestion at and near schools. The Del Norte Safe Routes to School program is funded by a grant from the Public Health Institute through The California Endowment.

Come cheer on the walkers and bikers. Signs are available by contacting Karen Phillips at :
(707) 464-9651 or kphillips (at) psbusinesservices . com.

For more information, visit: 
National Bike to School Day www.walkbiketoschool.org 
National Center for Safe Routes to School www.saferoutesinfo.org

Historic 1st Enrollment Period of the Affordable Care Act: Brief Extension Announced

posted Apr 4, 2014, 12:44 PM by BHC Staff

What does this mean for our community?

I missed the deadline of March 31.  What now?

If you missed open enrollment or didn’t complete your application you’ll likely see a penalty on your 2014 taxes. However, Covered California announced on March 31, “Record-setting numbers of people trying to sign up for Covered California health insurance plans overwhelmed the system on the final day of open enrollment, prompting the exchange to allow customers who had trouble enrolling by the deadline to work with a certified delegate to finish their application by April 15.”

This is great news if you want to get covered by the end of the extension period, but didn’t finish your application or had trouble getting the application started.  After April 15, there are some qualifying life events that could make you, or members of your family, eligible outside of the regular open enrollment period. Also, if you are eligible for Medi-Cal, you can apply anytime and you should apply as soon as you are able to avoid potential tax penalties and to access health care services you are eligible for.

Open Door Assisting our Community

Open Door Community Health Centers’ Member Services staff is available to assist you. “Contact us as soon as possible so we can assist you with completing your application before the 15th,” Recommends Andrea Page, an Open Door Member Services Specialist in Humboldt County. “Many of the community members we have assisted have been successful in finding a health insurance plan through www.CoveredCA.com, or have been signed up for another program to help them avoid a penalty.”

Contact the Member Services Department at Open Door to make an appointment for application assistance or to learn more about your options. Staff members are available to assist by appointment, and appointments are made on a first come first serve basis. Walk-ins cannot be accommodated at this time.  Call or email:

Patricia Black, an Open Door Member Services Specialist in Del Norte County comments, “We have been so encouraged to see how expanded Medi-Cal has helped so many adults who previously did not qualify, and also the amount of assistance that was offered to make the premiums actually affordable. We want people to know that we will continue to be available to assist them through Covered California to apply for Medi-Cal, to report changes, or to apply during special enrollment periods created by life changing events such as getting married, having a baby, experiencing a change in income,  or moving into the state."

Open Door was one of the few community agencies to become a Covered California Certified Enrollment Entity, with 13 Open Door staff trained as Certified Enrollment Counselors (CEC) in Del Norte and Humboldt Counties to assist Open Door patients and community members in applying for insurance through www.coveredCA.com.

During the 6 month open enrollment period from October 1, 2013-March 31, 2014, Open Door CEC’s assisted over 500 families in applying for health coverage through www.CoveredCA.com and over 800 additional families in applying for Medi-Cal directly through Del Norte or Humboldt County offices of Department of Human Health and Human Services.

“Open Door’s dedicated Member Services staff has worked tirelessly to assist as many community members as possible. We did our best to prepare for a process that was new for everyone involved. Now, we have the experience to build strategies to be even more successful for the next open enrollment period in Fall 2014,” said Member Services Director Breanne Olmstead. “This past enrollment period we focused our capacity to assist Open Door patients and those who found us through the www.CoveredCA.com website. Though the first enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act has officially ended, we still have our work cut out for us to help our community get covered! Our initial next steps are to help as many people as possible with finishing their application by April 15th . We will continue to assist with Medi-Cal and CalFresh applications all year, and we encourage people who are unsure about their eligibility to call us so we can help determine what the best next steps are. We look forward to hearing from you.”

For more information contact the Member Services Department at Open Door memberservices@opendoorhealth.com

Get Covered DNATL Health Fair

posted Feb 26, 2014, 4:50 PM by BHC Staff

2014 is the beginning of a new year and new changes in California. The biggest change is rollout of Covered California. Obamacare, also know as the Affordable Care Act, was singed into law in 2010 by President Obama creating state-based health insurance exchanges. California chose early on to operate its own exchange, now known as “Covered California.”

To help Del Norte and the adjacent tribal lands learn more and become enrolled, the 1st “Get Covered DNATL Health Fair will be happening Saturday, March 8 from 10:00am to 2:00pm at the Del Norte County Fairgrounds.

Our health care system is changing and this health fair is meant to help you and your family navigate the new benefits and enrollment opportunities. Come and get your health care and benefits questions answered. Get free health screenings and visit community agencies and see the resources that are available to you and your family. There will be snacks, children’s activities, entertainment and opportunities to receive free gas & grocery gift cards.

Del Norte Health Care District, United Indian Health Service, Del Norte Department of Health and Human Services, California Rural Indian Health Board, Yurok Tribe, Open Door Community Clinic, Sutter Coast Hospital, Building Healthy Communities and The California Endowment, are working together to as part of the “Get Covered” campaign to help all of Del Norte and the adjacent tribal lands learn more about the benefits of Covered California.

We are proud to work with partners across the state who work every day to reach out, educate and enroll Californians in quality, affordable health care coverage.

The California exchange's vision is to improve the health of all Californians by assuring their access to affordable, high quality care.

The mission is to increase the number of insured Californians, improve health care quality, lower costs, and reduce health disparities through an innovative, competitive marketplace that empowers consumers to choose the health plan and providers that give them the best value.

For more information call (707) 465 – 1988 to learn more about how you can be covered today.

Community Turns Out To Discuss Accountability and Success In Schools

posted Feb 7, 2014, 11:15 AM by BHC Staff   [ updated Feb 14, 2014, 8:58 AM ]

On Tuesday night more than 135 students, parents, teachers, and community members filled the Cultural Center to hear key points from a report sharing the Del Norters’ thoughts on school success voiced during a community forum in November, learn more about current Del Norte Unified School District efforts to improve school climate and grown career and technical education opportunities and to understand more about the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). 

Terry Uyeki from the California Center for Rural Policy reported that having a school climate that favors students being ready and able to learn, incentives, alternative teaching methods and life and vocational skills where areas the community though important to support students being engaged in school and areas that are missing form education in Del Norte (see the report here).  

Communication, a welcoming environment and supports like childcare, translation and transportation were identified as necessary for ensuring that parents are engaged and involved in decision-making to support their students. Understanding the best ways to engage students and parents is critical for student success and vital for the development of the Local Control Accountability Plan.

In the coming months the school district is required to create an LCAP that includes information about the goals, services and spending plan that address the needs of all students. The LCAP should reflect local needs, local approached and local conversations. Forum participants discussed in small groups the most important things the school district should be considering when it begins to engage the community in the LCAP process, and highlighted the need for meetings to meet families where they are and the importance of relationships and personal invitations. 

In addition to learning about the LCAP, forum participants heard from principals and teachers at elementary schools improving school climate – and reducing the number of suspensions – through the implementation of Positive Behavior and Intervention Supports (PBIS); and teachers and former students from the career and technical education department at Del Norte High School. The former students shared how their school career tech experience has helped them secure and excel in local jobs.

For a copy of the Summary Community Recommendations School Success Express Community Forum stop by our office or download a copy below.

Your New Year's Health Potential

posted Dec 30, 2013, 12:43 PM by BHC Staff

By Nanette Yandell, MPH

Originally printed in The Triplicate on December 28, 2013
What is your health potential?

Environments where we live, work, and play shape our health. The type of environments that surround us can improve or decrease our overall health potential.

For example, tobacco-free living and working environments will decrease the chances of second-hand smoke exposure and increase our overall potential to have clean and strong lungs. Yet not everyone has the same opportunity to make choices towards reaching their highest health potential. If you work or live in a place where smokers congregate by the doorways or by ventilation systems you may be exposed to second-hand smoke with little choice. Health inequalities are preventable and are often influenced by social determinants of health.

Health equity means that everyone has the opportunity to achieve their optimal health regardless of skin color, education level, gender identity, sexual orientation, type of job, neighborhood you live in, or disabilities.

Communities that have less access to fresh affordable foods and greater availability of fast food restaurants often have diets with higher calories and lower nutrients that can lead to an increase in overweight and obesity in the population.

According to Del Norte County SNAP-Ed Coordinator Sunny Baker, “In Del Norte County seasonal crops are very limited and people don’ t always know how to prepare what is available”. Having limited access to fresh foods year round may decrease consumption of healthy food options in our community.

The Del Norte County and Adjacent Tribal Land (DNATL) Food Council is working to improve health equity in our community by advocating for our local Farmers Markets. In addition, they have a plan to help boost participation by farmers and consumers at our local Farmers Markets in 2014 across the county, by targeting SNAP-Ed eligible people and helping farmers collaborate. This is one example of how to start bridging the gap of health inequality to improve our community’s health potential.

Environments that promote active living also advance health equity. Living in a community with safe sidewalks, bike paths, and parks increase the potential that people will exercise. Increased exercise accompanied with a healthy diet will improve your overall quality of life and help you reach your optimal health potential.

Think about what your health potential could be and have conversations with your family, friends, and community on the barriers that may be getting in your way of being an even healthier you.

To learn more about some of the social demographics of our community, you can check out the Del Norte County 2013: Economic and Demographic Profile, found at http://dnltc.org/planningdocs/DelNorteCountyProfile2013.pdf

Why Breakfast Matters

posted Dec 16, 2013, 12:16 PM by BHC Staff

A recent report on school success focused attention on the importance of breakfast for student achievement. The review of over 50 studies found that skipping breakfast hurts a student’s alertness, attention span, memory, and math skills. Hungry students simply don’t learn as well as students who have eaten nutritious meals.

Unfortunately, many children do not receive adequate meals at home. According to Feeding America, almost 16 million children under the age of 18 live in food insecure households across the country. These students rely on free lunch at school, but can spend the first half of their school day hungry. Twenty million fewer students eat breakfast at school as compared to lunch.

Schools have responded by offering breakfast at school, and it works. The Del Norte County Unified School District offers universal free breakfast for all K through 8th grade students. There is no eligibility test and no sign-up required: ALL K-8 students can eat breakfast at their school just by walking into their cafeteria or MPR before school starts.

The benefits are tangible. Not only does a healthy breakfast help individual students learn better, studies show that it reduces chronic absenteeism and raises standardized test scores overall.

The universal free breakfast model used in DNCUSD is just one way to encourage students to take advantage of a school breakfast. Children arriving late to school whether on foot or on a school bus may not have time to eat breakfast before class starts. For this reason and others, many schools are moving breakfast time “after the bell” and serving the meal right in the classroom.

Teachers surveyed at schools offering breakfast after bell reported noticeable results:
  • 76% said their students were more alert during morning classes
  • 57% have seen improved attendance
  • 54% say discipline problems have decreased
Breakfast is a key ingredient in school success. Our local schools are working to make sure all students are ready to learn by serving a free breakfast. According to The Learning Connection report, the other piece of the puzzle is physical activity.

You can read the full report at http://www.actionforhealthykids.org/index.php. Information about breakfast after the bell programs came from a report from Share Our Strength, which you can read at http://www.nokidhungry.org/pdfs/NKH_TeachersReport_2013.pdf.

Del Norte and Adjacent Tribal Lands is one of 14 communities across the state working with The California Endowment through the Building Healthy Communities initiative to spread the message: health happens in schools, homes and neighborhoods. For more information visit www.bhcconnect.org.

Let's Talk About Health

posted Nov 19, 2013, 10:50 AM by BHC Staff   [ updated Nov 19, 2013, 10:51 AM ]

By Nanette Yandell, MPH

Originally printed in The Triplicate on November 16, 2013
Source: Dahlgren G. and Whitehead M. Policies and strategies to promote social equity in health. 1991. Stockholm Institute for Future Studies
How do you define health? 
In a conversation, when someone says hey want to talk about health, what do they mean?
Health may be referred to as lack of illness, 
weight in proportion with height, going to regular doctor check-ups, eating fruits and vegetables, being happy, and many others.
Health is most often thought of as physical. However, mental health status is just as important. This means finding healthy 
ways to express your emotions, decreasing stress in your life, building relationships, and being engaged with your community. When we discuss health, are we including all of the components of a person’s well-being?

Source: Dahlgren G. and Whitehead M. Policies and strategies to 
promote social equity in health. 1991. Stockholm Institute for Future Studies

The word health can also be used in terms not related to the body, such as a healthy economy. When you know how you define health, you can begin to understand what health means to you.

The way we define health influences the way we talk and think about our health. For instance, if we tell our friends we are going to “Get Healthy”, this can mean many things. Having a shared understanding of health provides a foundation that we can use in conversations to make decisions every day regarding healthy choices.

What determines health?

Have you ever wondered why some people are healthy and others seem unhealthy? Many factors influence our health and quality of life. The context of our lives influences our health outcomes. Understanding these influences allows us to expand our dialogue on health and examine any barriers.

Our sex and age play a role in health outcomes, at different ages men and women may have different diseases (WHO, 2013 http://www.who.int/hia/evidence/doh/en/). Determinants of health mean the things that make people healthy and not healthy. Some of these elements we can change easier than others. All of them require a conversation examining what influences our health.

Individual behaviors like smoking and drug use can be changed. Our social environments such as income and education also play a role in our overall health outcomes yet they are much more difficult to change. Higher income is associated with better health. Having a higher education often contributes to better health. Investing in our community schools and encouraging college attendance may help improve our community’s health over time. As we talk about health, we can include talking about these other factors that influence health decisions and outcomes.

Our physical environment such as where we live, work, and play also influence our health. Living in a walking community where you have safe water and clean air provide benefits to our overall health. Working in a healthy environment such as a place with no-smoking policies and healthy food choices is also a positive influence on our health.

We have a role to play in the way we think and talk about health. We can start by identifying our definition of health and talking with our families, friends, and neighbors about what health means to us. By engaging in health discussions we can find ways to improve our overall community health and enjoy the benefits that exist all around us.

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