At Curtis Elementary, twice is nice!
The Tigers have earned two national honors they are celebrating; the distinction as one of America’s healthiest schools and winning the Let’s Move! Active Schools Award, part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative to incorporate more physical activity into a child’s school day.
This is the second year Curtis has been recognized at the national level by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. In 2015, the Tigers were awarded the National Bronze award. Now, they have moved up to silver, making Curtis one of only three schools in Louisiana to earn this level.
The Let’s Move! Active Schools Award is the nation’s top physical education and physical activity distinction for K-12 schools and celebrates a school’s commitment to providing students with at least 60 minutes a day of before, during and after school physical activity.
The wellness team at Tiger has certainly proven that health and wellness can be incorporated into the school day without taking away from academics. How do they do it? It takes the entire school community working together to create a healthy school environment.
“We hosted a Tiger Trek Challenge, based on a student’s idea, to see which class could walk, run and bike the most miles in a month,” explained Julia Henry, Assistant Principal at Curtis.
Before school, teachers, administrators, students and parents also participate in the Curtis Tigers Running Club.
“We have seen a decrease in behavior among students who participate in morning exercise with the Tiger Running Club,” added Henry.
Administrators regularly join the students in their physical education classes to encourage participation and movement. The school also hosted a special hour-long recess event, at which parents and community members were invited to join students in active games at school. A school-wide celebration in conjunction with Rescuing Recess has been scheduled for Friday, October 28 at Curtis. By getting everyone involved, students are more excited about physical activity and have healthy role models to look up to.
Another popular way Curtis got everyone moving was the school’s two-month faculty wellness challenge. Staff placed the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Fitness Break cards around school, inspiring faculty to perform short work-outs throughout the day.
Students have also started to make healthier food choices at school, thanks to incorporating more fruits and vegetables into meals and snacks.
“We commend Curtis Elementary’s model work around enhancing physical education and physical activity opportunities and inspiring students to go from zero to 60, both in the classroom and in life,” said Charlene R. Burgeson, Let’s Move! Active Schools Executive Director. “Curtis is leading the way in this generation-changing movement that is transforming our nation’s schools into active and healthy hubs.”
Principal Terri Bird said, “I am very proud of our Curtis Tigers because students, parents, teachers and staff have all worked together to meet the wellness challenge. This challenge has created increased conversation around nutrition, exercise and good health. Plus, we are having fun together!”