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Three NEISD schools honored with national health award

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation, recognized Lee High School, Harris Middle School and Lopez Middle School for transforming their campuses into a healthier place for students and staff. The three schools earned the Bronze National Recognition Award based on their latest achievements in promoting a healthier future for students.

Lee, Harris and Lopez were three out of the 267 schools from around the country honored at the Healthy Schools Program Forum at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. To earn the National Recognition Award, all three campuses improved nutrition services and physical activity programs to meet or exceed stringent standards set by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program.

Lee High School banner

Lee High School proudly displays their healthy award banner in one of its main hallways.

The first thing that the newly formed school wellness council at Lee did was sit down with the cafeteria manager to learn more about the district and federal guidelines for the meal program and to see what changes, if any, could be made. Then the group started a student “healthy generations” committee to help solicit student feedback and ideas. These groups were able to assist in designing the new school cafeteria and gave thought to how they could encourage students to make healthier choices. Healthier snacks are available at staff meetings now and the group is also working on plans to create a staff fitness room. The wellness council reports that next on their list is going for the Silver National Recognition Award from the Alliance.

Harris displays banner

(L to R) Assistant Principal Jeremi Nieholff, PTA member Amy Brown, Coach Chris Flores and Art teacher Karen Fox hold up their healthy schools program banner.

“Wellness Wednesday” is a well-known event amongst the students and staff at Harris. There has been a noticeable increase in the amount of participation in “Wellness Wednesday” and teachers along with students are encouraged to attend. Students are also keeping active by participating in the walking group that takes place during lunch. Adding more fun to their mission, the school hosts a festival that includes a health and wellness expo along with health screenings. The school’s wellness council has also reached out to high school athletes to help with local events, encompassing the entire local community.

Lopez displays banner.

Students at Lopez show how proud they are to be one of the healthiest schools in the nation.

The wellness council at Lopez chose “Go the Extra Mile” as its theme for 2013-2014 as they seek new ways to improve eating and increase physical activity. Lopez encouraged healthy meals for students via healthy choices in their cafeteria, engaged students in daily physical exercise during P.E., brain breaks during class, and outside play at lunch. The campus provided a workout center for staff to use exercise equipment to further their healthy lifestyle goals. A daily dose of nutritional facts of fruits and vegetables were given by students during the morning announcements. Health education classes analyzed nutritional values of several fast food items and compared them to healthy foods. Additionally, students compared different forms of exercise and how many calories are burned per hour.

“We applaud the achievements of our 2013 honorees,” said Howell Wechsler, Chief Executive Officer of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. “Their successful efforts to get students and staff eating better and moving more prove that schools are great environments to promote both health and academics.”

The Healthy Schools Program provides professional development to schools such as on site and virtual trainings with school health experts, access to a customer support center, science-based resources, and success stories—at no cost—to more than 18,000 schools nationwide to help them reverse the childhood obesity epidemic.

Posted on October 14, 2013