Center for Rural School Health & Education

The Center for Rural School Health & Education (CRSHE, pronounced "crush") in the University of Denver Morgridge College of Education is dedicated to partnering with rural schools to improve health and education outcomes. CRSHE projects are created and implemented in close collaboration with community partners and resources are developed in response to expressed community needs and interests.

All CRSHE initiatives embody principles of social justice, racial equity and community engagement, and contribute to the vision of all children, youth and adults in rural communities living healthy, meaningful lives. We conduct research to identify tailored solutions to achieve health and education equity in rural schools and communities.

50+ We work in partnership in over 50 school districts across Colorado.

100+ We average over 100 educators in each of our virtual professional development series.

2000+ We've assisted schools in developing & implementing over 2000 wellness practices.

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Who We Are

We believe in communities.

With partnerships in over 50 school districts across Colorado, we fully embrace community-driven solutions and research. Our Center is built on a foundation of long-term, collaborative partnerships. Our role is to help partners identify key priorities and to then provide support and resources to help address those needs using the latest best practices and community-identified solutions. Our vision is for all children, youth, and adults in rural communities to live healthy, meaningful lives.

CRSHE lives its vision by partnering with rural schools and communities in Colorado to achieve equitable health and education outcomes. With most of our work happening face-to-face and in schools, we have strong relationships in the San Luis Valley and across Colorado.

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At CRSHE, we value developing trusting partnerships with rural schools. To do that, we spend time visiting rural schools, getting to know school leaders, teachers, and staff, and talking to community members. We have partnerships dating back to 1999.

Dr. Elaine Belansky Director of the Center for Rural School Health & Education

Our Work

We strive for equity.

In our work with rural schools, we honor the voices, priorities, knowledge, values, histories, and cultures of communities. We prioritize spending time in schools and communities to learn first hand from youth, families, educators, and community partners. Our services include strategic planning, grant writing and management support, research and evaluation, as well as training and technical assistance.

Our impactful work extends across the areas of comprehensive health and wellness planning and implementation social-emotional health for students, teachers, and service providers; and workforce development for professionals working with children and families.

Our team has expertise in public health, community engagement, K-12 education, youth and educator mental health, racial equity, adolescent development, implementation science, and curriculum and instruction.

Our Expertise

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Racial Equity

We apply a community engaged approach to everything we do and are building capacity toward racial equity and justice efforts.

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Convening & Facilitating Partner Meetings

We bring together diverse voices to identify key priorities for groups and schools and facilitate conversations around community-driven solutions.

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Family School Partnerships

We believe in engaging family, school, and community partnerships to improve student health, wellness, and education outcomes while working toward and promoting equity.

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Student & Educator Mental Health

We support schools and communities in planning and implementing student and staff mental health initiatives with ongoing technical assistance, evaluation support, data collection and analysis, strategy revisions, and equity professional development.

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Are you partnered with CRSHE or curious about the resources a partnership can provide?

Explore partner resources.

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CRSHE Publication Featured in The Rural Educator

CRSHE faculty, Drs. Ben Ingman, Nick Cutforth, and Elaine Belansky highlight the potential for service learning curriculum to promote learning, relationship building, and democratic citizenship in rural schools in a recently published article entitled, "The Potential of Service Learning in Rural Schools: The Case of the Working Together Project."

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ECHO-DU Creates Communities of Practice

ECHO-DU is part of a global model for providing virtual professional learning to professionals. While most ECHO sites around the world focus on healthcare, ours is one of the few focused on the P-20 education system.

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DREAM Working to Promote Equity

Developing Resiliency and Equitable Approaches to Mental Health (DREAM) is an equity-focused project designed to promote the mental health of rural educators, students and families. 

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