What if school leaders, educators, parents and community members came together to develop a “Playbook for Healthy Learning” to energize and motivate schools to create a healthy school environment for all children? Recently, Action for Healthy Kids partnered with Southeast United Dairy Council and North Carolina PTA to do just that! Participants spent a day in Charlotte, to get a game plan on how to create healthier school environments.
Morning sessions began with NC Public School Forum presenting the Roadmap to Need and sharing the reality of our children’s health and the many needs within our communities. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) shared some great innovations they are putting into place to foster healthy students, including the district’s move to offer universal breakfast. Every child attending CMS receives a free breakfast. Way to go CMS! Lastly, the importance of school breakfast for all children was emphasized. Free breakfast resources are available on the Department of Public Instruction’s website, available here. Take a moment to read the Wellness Impact and The Learning Connection: What You Need to Know to Ensure Your Kids are Healthy and Ready to Learn, both linking good nutrition and physical activity with student success. Russ McHenry, a PE teacher and former Fuel up to Play 60 (FUTP60) program advisor of the year, finished the morning session with an energizer. He had attendees moving, dancing and laughing!
Later, a panel of experts presented on how schools can take action, through programs like FUTP60, to foster healthier school environments. Panel participants included Carolina Panthers player and breakfast eater, Ben Hartsock, and a FUTP60 student ambassador and teacher from Central Middle School whose school was a grand prize winner of the FUTP60 Make Your Move Campaign. See their winning video here.
It is my hope that the participants of this event learned lots of healthy eating and physical activity “plays” to record in their playbook and share with schools across North Carolina. By working together we have the best chance of creating healthy school environments for ALL children!
Kelly Langston is the North Carolina Action for Healthy Kids State Coordinator and the North Carolina PTA President-Elect. She just completed two terms as the Guilford County Council of PTAs president and two terms as the chair of the Guilford County School Heath Advisory Council. Kelly works with various community non-profit organizations and school systems to encourage collaboration and was recently awarded the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in public health at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and will graduate in May 2014.