Schools earn cash for healthy students
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.
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.