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Going back to school just got healthier; Oregon schools recognized as Nation’s healthiest

OREGON — The Oregon School District has been recognized with the Let’s Move! Active Schools National Award and the National Healthy Schools Award from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

Only 323 schools were recognized nationally by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation as America’s Healthiest Schools. Five Oregon schools earned the distinction by successfully meeting a rigorous set of criteria for serving healthier meals and snacks, getting students moving more, offering high-quality physical and health education, and empowering school leaders to become healthy role models.

The Oregon School District was recognized with the Let’s Move! Active Schools National Award. The following schools in the district were recognized as America’s Healthiest Schools by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation: Brooklyn Elementary, Netherwood Knoll Elementary, Oregon Middle, Prairie View Elementary, and Rome Corners Intermediate School. (Oregon High School received the two year award in 2016.)

The Let’s Move! Active Schools National Award is the nation’s top physical education and physical activity distinction for K-12 schools and celebrates the Oregon School District’s commitment to supporting students to be active at least 60 minutes per day. Only 453 schools across the country achieved this prestigious honor in 2017. A school must also have met significant benchmarks in five areas: physical education, physical activity before and after school, physical activity during school, staff involvement, and family and community engagement.

“We are being recognized for our commitment and success with the healthy schools initiative. A healthy student is the foundation for lifelong health and success at school. We work every day to find new and innovative ways to program wellness. Hats off to our students!” said Dr. Brian Busler, Oregon School Superintendent.

Why is school health so important? Healthy eating and regular physical activity not only help kids stay healthy and strong, but can also lead to higher test scores, improved attendance, increased focus, better behavior in class, enhanced leadership skills, and a lifetime of healthy habits.

“We know that healthy children are better learners and we are committed to transforming our schools to support this vision. Our initiatives include active classrooms, making it safer for students to walk and bike to school and promoting healthier fundraising,” says Amy Miller, Oregon School District Community Education Director & Wellness Coordinator.

Oregon School District started this work several years ago after completing the national Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Assessment. This tool enables schools to look at school practices and policies around health and wellness – and serves as the “application” for both this national award and the Wisconsin School Health Award. School District or school-based wellness teams can use the tool to identify and prioritize changes to make their school healthier.

“We support schools around Dane County to complete the Healthy Schools Assessment,” says Julia Stanley, Program Manager at the Healthy Kids Collaborative of Dane County. “We help schools identify best practices – such as active recess or smart lunchrooms that can impact their entire student population. We hope all Dane County schools will participate in the Healthy Schools Assessment – launching initiatives to create healthier students. We envision a county where all schools are recognized as the healthiest in the state and country.”

The Healthy Kids Collaborative of Dane County, based at American Family Children’s Hospital, is made up of over 190 organizations working to improve the physical activity and nutrition environment for children and families in Dane County.

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