Schools earn cash for healthy stu­dents

The Boyertown Area Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Michilea Patterson mpat­ter­son@21st-cen­tu­ry­media. com @MichileaP on Twit­ter

Class is back in ses­sion and sev­eral schools through­out the re­gion are head­ing into the new school year with some ex­tra cash they earned by mak­ing well­ness a pri­or­ity for stu­dents.

A to­tal of 23 schools in Berks, Ch­ester and Mont­gomery Coun­ties par­tic­i­pated in the Pottstown Area Health & Well­ness Foun­da­tion’s School Health Ini­tia­tive con­test dur­ing the 201617 school year. The four pub­lic school dis­tricts that en­tered the com­pe­ti­tion were Owen J. Roberts, Boyertown, Pottsgrove and Pottstown. A few pri­vate schools par­tic­i­pated as well.

Ru­pert Ele­men­tary School re­ceived $3,000 and a good­sized tro­phy for win­ning while 19 of the 23 schools that par­tic­i­pated in the con­test qual­i­fied for a $1,000 Well­ness Achieve­ment Award.

In ad­di­tion to Ru­pert Ele­men­tary School, the other fi­nal­ists of the com­pe­ti­tion were West-Mont Chris­tian Academy of North Coven­try Town­ship, West Pottsgrove Ele­men­tary School and Brooke­side Montes­sori School of Washington Town­ship.

The foun­da­tion has held the re­gional healthy com­pe­ti­tion for the last three years and the idea was adopted from the Med­i­cal Univer­sity of South Carolina’s Boe­ing Cen­ter for Chil­dren’s Well­ness. Through a part­ner­ship be­tween the lo­cal health foun­da­tion and the South Carolina well­ness cen­ter; schools in the Pottstown area are in­vited to par­tic­i­pate in the con­test which in­cludes earn­ing points by do­ing items on a well­ness check­list. The check­list has seven cat­e­gories in­clud­ing phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity, nu­tri­tion and es­tab­lish­ing a well­ness cul­ture in the school en­vi­ron­ment.

A to­tal of 335 well­ness check­list points was avail­able for schools to earn through­out the year. All four fi­nal­ists of the healthy school com­pe­ti­tion earned more than 160 points each but Ru­pert Ele­men­tary School won over­all with more than 200 points.

“The grand prize win­ner im­ple­mented al­most two-thirds of the check­list which is pretty im­pres­sive,” said Coleen Martin, the as­sis­tant direc­tor of schools and com­mu­ni­ty­based pro­grams for the Boe­ing Cen­ter in South Carolina.

There was a for­mal pre­sen­ta­tion about the Well­ness Achieve­ment con­test dur­ing this year’s Healthy Bod­ies, Healthy Minds In­sti­tute which was held two weeks ago at Pottstown Mid­dle School. The top four school fi­nal­ists gave pre­sen­ta­tion through videos and Pow­erPoints on well­ness ini­tia­tives they im­ple­mented through­out the year.

Ru­pert Ele­men­tary School Prin­ci­pal Matt Moyer said they fo­cused on build­ing on the cul­ture of health they had al­ready cre­ated. He said this was done through so­cial emo­tional learn­ing lessons, a walk­ing school bus, an in­door gar­den tower and more.

“We’ve de­vel­oped a cul­ture. It was top down, bot­tom up which we talk about in Pottstown all the time,” Moyer said adding that build­ing a healthy cul­ture in school be­gins with the prin­ci­pal.

“What we did wasn’t rocket science or any­thing like that, it was just con­sis­tent and per­sis­tent ef­fort,” he said.

To learn more about the well­ness check­list and the Boe­ing Cen­ter for Chil­dren’s Well­ness, visit aca­demic de­part­ments. musc.edu/lean­team/Well­ness-Check­list-Con­test. To learn more about the Pottstown Area Health & Well­ness Foun­da­tion, visit pottstown­foun­da­tion.org.

The Mer­cury is en­gaged in a long-term ef­fort, Fit for Life, de­signed to pro­mote healthy liv­ing. Visit the web­site at pottsmer­c­fit4life.com, like us on Face­book at www.face­book.com/Mer­cFit4Life and fol­low our ef­forts on Twit­ter @Mer­cFit4Life. Michilea Patterson is the Fit for Life re­porter and is funded in part by the Pottstown Area Health & Well­ness Foun­da­tion.

MICHILEA PATTERSON - DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Ru­pert Ele­men­tary School staff and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Pottstown Area Health & Well­ness Foun­da­tion and the Boe­ing Cen­ter for Chil­dren’s Well­ness in South Carolina pose for a photo. Ru­pert Ele­men­tary School earned $3,000 and a big-sized tro­phy for be­ing the grand prize win­ner of the School Health Ini­tia­tive con­test.

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