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Columbia Heights Public Schools Implements Change to Chill™ with new Partnership with Allina Health

Columbia Heights Public Schools (CHPS) has partnered with Allina Health to implement their teen mental well-being program Change to Chill™ (CTC) to its schools for the 2021-2022 school year. Initially, the program was only going to be implemented at the high school, but the District secured a $10,000 Prairie Care grant to expand CTC to all five schools.

The partnership includes Change to Chill trainings for school staff, tailored communications for parent engagement, funding for a “Chill Zone,” and a summer internship opportunity for two students at the high school.

“[Student mental health is a priority]; we need to enhance our response to students in real time by providing tools and resources for staff to implement when students exhibit a crisis,” said Director of Special Education John Fry.

First launched during the 2018-2019 school year, the CTC School Partnership provides selected schools with year-long support from Allina Health, centered around student leadership, stress management and mental health training sessions for school staff, outreach and engagement with guardians and a $1,000 grant to put toward creating a “Chill Zone” – a space created by student interns to de-stress and relax before returning to class.

This year, the focus of school partnership will be to continue meeting the unique needs of schools in their responses to the pandemic. Change to Chill staff are working with students to create new, tailored content, and utilizing its online platform to support distance learning through videos, worksheets, audio meditations and more. Students and teachers also receive support to incorporate different stress management elements into classroom and virtual learning.

“We know when teens have the resources and support to stress less, they are more resilient and able to live fuller and happier lives," said Susan Nygaard, manager of Allina Health's Community Health Improvement. "Change to Chill works as a preventive measure to equip teens with tools and resources to better manage stress and anxiety."

“Providing a CTC space and the strategies associated with the space will enhance what we are able to offer our students. Columbia Heights Public Schools provides students with mental health support that is based on student needs and best practices,” Fry noted.

For more information, contact the Student Services Department at 763-528-4414.