The Richmond Register

October 3, 2013

Two county elementary schools recognized for healthy initiatives

Second year in a row for Shannon Johnson

Register Staff Report

MADISON COUNTY — Shannon Johnson and Kingston elementary schools were two of 267 schools from around the country to be recognized for transforming their campuses into healthier places for students and staff.

This is the second year Shannon Johnson was recognized by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation Healthy Schools program, founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation.  

This year, the school was awarded “silver” after having achieved “bronze” status last year. Kingston Elementary was awarded “bronze” status this year for its first recognition.

SJE students “are staying more active during recess and physical education with the addition of two new games that they’ve learned: Hawk’s Nest and Nine-Square-In-The-Air,” according to an Alliance press release.

The school has adopted healthier ways to celebrate events and purchased a smoothie machine to help, the release stated.

Students also can make healthy choices at lunch to earn stickers and compete against other classes to sit  at the “All-Star Café” for lunch. The winning class receives a new playground ball.

The SJE Wellness Council reported that they’ve seen an increase in fitness scores, better choices being made by teachers, students and parents, and more families out biking, walking and playing tennis. The council also has received positive feedback from parents.

At Kingston Elementary, students are moving before, during and after the school day, according to the Alliance release.

The school opens early for open gym time before school and there are more lessons integrated into the school day that involve movement.

After school, students may participate in the “Skills and Drills” club or the “Try a Bite” program which educates students on healthy foods and gives them an opportunity for tasting.

The Kingston Wellness Council launched a healthy snack initiative for school celebrations and purchased a smoothie machine to make fun, healthy snacks on-site.

“Having an effective wellness council at our school this year has empowered the students at our school to make better choices in their life,” said Tina Stegemoller, school librarian.

To earn the national recognition award, the schools improved their nutrition services and physical activity programs to meet or exceed stringent standards set by the Healthy Schools program.

The program provides professional development to schools with on-site and virtual trainings with school health experts, access to a customer support center, science-based resources and success stories.

The services are provided at no cost to more than 18,000 schools nationwide to help reverse the childhood obesity epidemic.

Schools are eligible for bronze, silver or gold awards based on their level of achievement.

Kingston and Shannon Johnson were recognized at the Healthy Schools program forum at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Ark.