Nearly 25 million young people in the United States of America are either obese or overweight, putting this generation at risk of being the first in American history to live shorter lives than their parents. They are also more likely to suffer from illnesses such as type 2 diabetes and asthma, have social problems, and miss more school than their average weight peers.
Schools have the power to shape the lifelong health and well-being of children and adolescents, and School Districts have an exciting opportunity to help schools address the childhood obesity crisis by partnering with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program. Participation in the Healthy Schools Program is an excellent way to complement other ongoing efforts surrounding the implementation of The School District of Palm Beach County’s Wellness Promotion Policy (2.035) as well as an opportunity to be recognized nationally for our efforts.
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation was founded by the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation in 2005. The Alliance launched the Healthy Schools Program in February of 2006 with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Healthy Schools Program provides tools, resources, and support to more than 14,000 schools nationwide in the following seven content areas that address school health improvement:
- default_titleSchool Meals
- default_titleCompetitive Foods & Beverages
- default_titleHealth Education
- default_titleEmployee Wellness
- default_titlePhysical Education
- default_titleStudent Wellness
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- default_titleNational recognition for small victories and big successes.
- default_titleCustomized Support to help create a healthier school environment through a liaison available in person, by phone or email.
- default_titleImplementation support and tools that are robust and informative to help schools achieve lasting change.
- default_titleNetworking opportunities with schools across the country on the quest for a healthier school.
- default_titleA Resource Database with quality resources and grant opportunities for every school’s efforts to implement healthy changes.
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- default_titleAny school can enroll in the online program and receive electronic and telephonic support and access to resources at no cost. We are excited to report that 34 schools from the district not participating in the onsite support program have enrolled in the Healthy Schools Program by creating an account online at www.healthiergeneration.org to receive access to the Alliance’s free tools and resources.
- default_titleOnsite support schools receive support from a dedicated Relationship Manager from the Alliance for Healthier Generation. Relationship Managers guide the School Wellness Councils through needs assessment and action planning steps, broker local, state and national resources into the schools, and showcase school successes. Participating schools attend two technical assistance trainings a year to support their efforts to improve nutrition, physical activity, and staff wellness.
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- default_titleDesignate a school-level contact for the Healthy Schools Program
- default_titleBuild and maintain a School Wellness Council that meets at least once every other month
- default_titleEnsure that School Wellness Council representatives participate in all technical assistance sessions
- default_titleComplete the Healthy School Inventory
- default_titleDevelop and implement an annual Action Plan that is aligned with the Healthy Schools Program Framework
- default_titleCommunicate regularly with our Relationship Manager
- default_titleParticipate in Healthy Schools Program evaluation activities, as requested
- default_titleCommit to participating in the Healthy Schools Program for multiple school years
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- Elementary Schools (14):Banyan Creek, Berkshire, Clifford O. Taylor/Kirklane, Crosspointe, Forest Hill, Hagen Road, Heritage,
Manatee, Meadow Park, Pine Jog, Plumosa School of the Arts, Orchard View, Pine Grove, and South Olive
- Middle Schools (4):Carver Community, Odyssey, Okeeheelee, and Palm Springs Community
- High Schools (4):Atlantic Community, Forest Hill Community, John I. Leonard, and Santaluces Community
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In addition to the technical assistance training provided to onsite schools in 2011-2012, a national expert from the Alliance also trained afterschool program staff from 11 Palm Beach County elementary schools. Afterschool program staff received supplies and resources on how to incorporate physical activity, nutrition education and afterschool gardens in afterschool activities.
*Chart represents percentages of schools that have submitted a recent (last 12 months) Healthy Schools Program Inventory.
*Chart represents percentages of schools that have submitted a recent (last 12 months) Healthy Schools Program Inventory and have met at least Bronze level criteria in each wellness category.
*Three or more schools have selected the following action items for their action plans.
Policy and Systems Action Steps:
Palm Beach County Schools Honored by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation
Five schools from The School District of Palm Beach County have earned a National Recognition Award from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. This school year, the Alliance will recognize Berkshire Elementary School and South Olive Elementary School with the Bronze National Recognition Award for transforming their campuses into healthy places for students and staff. They join Hagen Road Elementary School that received this award in 2010 and Banyan Creek Elementary and Crosspointe Elementary that received this award in 2011.
To earn this award, these schools worked hard to make significant changes in the areas of healthy eating, physical activity and staff wellness by meeting or exceeding stringent standards set by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program, to help them reverse the national trend in childhood obesity. Representatives from Berkshire Elementary and South Olive Elementary will participate in an award ceremony later this year in Little Rock, Arkansas, at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center.
This recognition represents all the work that these schools, the School District, and its partners are doing to make our community healthier. We would like to especially thank our Wellness Champions, Karen Jones from Berkshire Elementary and Ulrike Vernachio from South Olive Elementary.
Schools are eligible for Bronze, Silver, or Gold National Recognition Awards based on their level of achievement. These National Recognition Award winners join 249 other schools from across the nation receiving this honor for their healthy achievements. Congratulations!
Thank you…Wellness Champions for your support and promotion!