What is the Healthy Zone School Recognition Program®?

The Healthy Zone School Recognition Program® is designed to recognize schools that have excellent health programs (Exemplary Healthy Zone Schools) and to support schools looking to improve health programming (Healthy Zone Schools). Schools are invited to participate in the program after going through a competitive selection process. Schools participate in the program for three years, during which eligible Healthy Zone Schools are given the chance to apply to become Exemplary Healthy Zone Schools. It is a goal of the program to support all schools in achieving their health goals and to help each Healthy Zone School become an Exemplary Healthy Zone. During their time in the program, schools receive support from the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and The Cooper Institute® as well as share best practices.

What is a Healthy Zone School?

A Healthy Zone School is a school that is committed to changing the health of its students, parents, and teachers, but may not have the resources and/or expertise in certain areas necessary to do so. These schools need assistance to make their school an optimal environment for promoting healthy behaviors. All schools in the program will start out as a Healthy Zone School and have the opportunity to be promoted to an Exemplary Healthy Zone School after completing year one of the program.

What is an Exemplary Healthy Zone School?

An Exemplary Healthy Zone School is a school that has established healthy policies and activities for students, teachers, and parents. It is a leading example for other schools and individuals in their community to create environments that are optimal in the promotion of healthy behaviors.

What do I need to do to qualify for the program?

Each level of the program has different requirements. To be selected as a Healthy Zone School, your school must show that it has made significant efforts to create a healthy environment, and also has a supportive staff that is willing to make the necessary changes to establish an environment that promotes healthy behaviors. All schools will begin the program as Healthy Zone Schools. After the initial year in the program, schools that complete an application for promotion and meet all program requirements will be promoted to Exemplary Healthy Zone Schools.

What are the benefits of becoming part of the program?

Schools that are part of the Healthy Zone program will receive guidance from The Cooper Institute® and United Way of Metropolitan Dallas to implement activities and health promotions. Schools will also receive the incentives listed in the following table:

Healthy Zone School

  • Healthy Zone Signage
  • FitnessGram® license and webhosting
  • Tablet
  • $1,000 in funding for Physical Education equipment
  • Up to $5,000 in funding for activity promotions over the program 


Exemplary Healthy Zone School

  • Healthy Zone Signage
  • Media attention and recognition
  • FitnessGram® license and webhosting
  • Tablet
  • $1,000 in funding for Physical Education equipment
  • Up to $5,000 in funding for activity promotions over the program 
Can any school apply for the Healthy Zone School Recognition Program®?

Yes! Any school located in Dallas, Collin, Rockwall, and Southern Denton counties are welcome to apply. Schools can be of any level (elementary, middle, or high school) and/or type (public, private, charter). Schools that are located on more than one campus must complete one application per campus. At this time, districts are not able to apply for the program.

Who should complete the Healthy Zone School Recognition Program® application?

Many individuals at your school may be able to provide the information needed to complete the application. We recommend that you work collaboratively with your wellness team to ensure the information is accurate and comprehensive. 

How can I apply for the program?

Go to to complete the application and submit it. You will receive an email informing you whether or not your school has been accepted into the program.

What is the application process for the Healthy Zone School Recognition Program®?

Schools apply online at A selection committee panel, reviews each application and selects schools to participate based on the school’s physical education, nutrition policies, health best practices, and activities. The application period begins in late fall and closes in early spring. 

What does the selection committee consider when selecting schools for the program?

The selection committee considers all parts of the application when selecting schools to participate in the program. In addition to the four sections of the application (physical education, nutrition, health best practices, and activities), the committee also reviews short essays submitted. The short essays give the schools the opportunity to differentiate themselves and to indicate health goals. The selection committee also considers demographics and location. Space in the program is limited so it is important that applicants are thorough when completing the application. 

How are schools selected for the program?

Interested schools will be required to complete an application that provides the selection panel with a profile of their school that highlights physical education, nutrition, health best practices, and activities. The panel will review applications and program highlights to determine each school’s eligibility.

What are the program expectations?

Schools selected for the project will be expected to collect FitnessGram® data (a state requirement of all public schools in Texas) in the fall and spring of the first year and in the spring of the second and third year, complete project surveys, and attend trainings throughout the program. In addition, an annual district level contract must be signed.

How long does the Healthy Zone School Recognition Program® last?

Each school selected for the program will stay in the program for a minimum of 3 years, as long as they continue to fit the criteria and complete project requirements. Schools that continue to comply with program requirements will be designated as Healthy Zone alumni.

If I apply and do not qualify, can I apply again?

Yes, you are welcome to apply one time per school year.

Can schools who are chosen for the program apply again when their term is over?

No. After three years, schools that continue to comply with program expectations will be designated as Healthy Zone School alumni.