The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation, recognized Curtis Elementary with a 2015 National Healthy Schools Award for transforming its environment into a healthier place. Curtis Elementary received this award at the Alliance’s 2015 Leaders Summit in Washington, DC, October 2-3, 2015.
To earn the National Healthy Schools Award Curtis Elementary improved its nutrition and wellness services and physical activity programs to meet or exceed stringent standards set by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program.
The Healthy Schools Program provides schools guidance, professional development, access to national experts, and evidence-based resources and tools to help them create and sustain healthy school environments. Schools are eligible for Bronze, Silver, or Gold National Healthy Schools Awards based on their level of achievement. The Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program has helped more than 30,000 schools increase quality physical activity, health education and healthy eating; and this year, 376 schools are being recognized with a National Healthy Schools Award.
As a recipient of the National Healthy Schools Bronze Award, Curtis Elementary has teachers, parents and staff on board with creating a healthier school environment for students by working with the Healthy Schools Program. Teachers are getting kids moving more in the classroom with physical activity breaks and at recess with activity cards that encourage more active play during the students’ 20-minute recess breaks. The cafeteria manager renamed fruits and vegetables options to make them more attractive to students and writes the healthiest meals at the top of the menu board to encourage students to make healthy choices. The healthy options are a welcome change for students. Assistant Principal Julia Henry said, “Students loved that teachers implemented activity breaks in the curriculum more often, and loved having more recess with fun activities planned.” Parents are kept in the loop through the school’s monthly newsletter, which provides wellness updates. Principal Terri Bird said, “I am pleased that we can encourage and share nutrition and physical exercise information. It helps build strong, healthy, and happy students.”
“We applaud the achievements of our 2015 honorees and hope that schools across the country follow the example of Curtis Elementary, said Dr. Howell Wechsler, Chief Executive Officer, Alliance for a Healthier Generation. “These schools demonstrate a commitment to the health of their students, which is particularly important because research shows students’ health has an impact on their academic and lifelong success.”
To further strengthen the Healthy Schools Program, the Alliance brokers and implements voluntary agreements with industry leaders to provide schools better access to healthier foods, beverages, and physical activity. Additionally, the Alliance’s landmark agreement with the American Beverage Association has contributed to a 90 percent reduction in calories from beverages shipped to schools between the 2004-2010 school years.
The Alliance launched its Healthy Schools Program in 2006 with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. To become a healthier place for students to learn and staff to work, any school in the United States can enroll and receive assistance and support, at no cost. Find out more at HealthierGeneration.org.
About the Alliance for a Healthier Generation
In response to the rapid increase in childhood obesity rates over the last three decades, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation was founded to serve as a catalyst for improving children’s health. The Alliance works with schools, companies, community organizations, healthcare professionals and families to build healthier environments where children thrive. The Alliance’s current work directly impacts more than 20 million children, with a focus on low-income and minority populations who are at increased risk for obesity and other diseases. Millions more young people benefit from system changes initiated through partnerships between the Alliance and the corporate sector.