Seven schools recognized for promoting healthy habits among students and staff

September 13, 2008

COLUMBIA, SC – September 12, 2008 – Seven South Carolina public schools have received Healthy Schools awards for their efforts to promote wellness among students and staff, State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex announced today.

The South Carolina Healthy Schools Awards are a joint effort of the State Department of Education and the Department of Health and Environmental Control. The awards are given to schools that demonstrate a coordinated team approach to improving student health and provide evidence of achieving best practices.
“We congratulate these outstanding schools,” Rex said.  “Their administrators, staff and students all recognize the importance of developing and practicing healthy habits.  In addition to providing excellent examples for schools searching for ways to promote children’s health, these programs showcase successful strategies that adults are using as well.”

Jennie Moore Elementary School and Drayton Hall Elementary School in Charleston County and Hunt Meadows Elementary School in Anderson School District One each achieved status as an eight-component award winning school.  Richmond Drive Elementary School in Rock Hill School District met six of eight components of the coordinated approach to school health, and Wren Elementary School in Anderson School District One met five of the components.  Both Tamassee-Salem Elementary School in Oconee County and West View Elementary School in Spartanburg School District Six met three of the eight components.

It’s no secret that healthy children learn better, said DHEC commissioner Earl Hunter. We’re pleased to be part of a program that not only recognizes this important concept, but also works to promote behaviors and activities in our schools that can improve health and learning opportunities for children. These award winners are wonderful examples of the vision we have of healthy people living in healthy communities.

To be designated a Healthy School, schools must show a coordinated team approach to improving student health and provide evidence of achieving best practices in at least one component of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Adolescent and School Health Eight-Component model of Coordinated School Health.  The components are: health and safety policies and environment; health education; physical education and physical activity; nutrition services; health services; guidance, psychological and social services; health promotion for staff; and family and community involvement.

Eight Component Winner
Jennie Moore Elementary School – Charleston County School District
Principal: Karen Felder

At Jennie Moore Elementary School, the local Bi-Lo’s “Taste it Tuesday” gives students the opportunity to try fruits and vegetables they would not normally be exposed to, while presenting lessons on nutritional values. The school also partners with a local pediatric practice to take referrals from any family in the school needing a pediatrician.  “Tickets for Good Health” encourages and rewards students seen practicing healthy eating and good hygiene habits.  Staff health promotion initiatives include health screenings, stress management, a walking program using pedometers, and the “Moore for Less” weight management program. The school has also developed a healthy snack list. The number of children bringing in healthy snacks and lunches has increased, and 68% of teachers who responded to a survey believed that children were practicing healthier snack time and lunch time habits.  Additionally, 65% of parents surveyed have changed their habits and are purchasing and trying healthier foods as a family, and more than half of the teachers report using their pedometers regularly.

Eight Component Winner
Drayton Hall Elementary School – Charleston County
Principal: John Cobb

Physical activity and nutrition education are integrated in all areas of the curriculum and school environment at Drayton Hall Elementary.
The school offers salads every day to students and staff, and the fat content in foods served has been reduced by 30 percent. Nutrition education posters and models are displayed in the cafeteria. “Get out and Get Active” logs and periodic surveys are used to assess physical activity participation. The data shows a 12 percent increase in the number of students involved in team sports or activity classes outside of school, and more students are using their activity logs. A “Fitness Wall of Fame” highlights student success and encourages physical activity.  Faculty and staff members award tickets to students who model healthy behaviors. These students become a member of the “Healthy Bobcat Club.” Tickets are placed in a drawing each day for a school “spirit rag.”  Many fitness activities are offered to teachers and staff onsite. The school has a point system to record physical activity.  Teacher incentives include time off from PTA night or “leave early” passes. The school also reports fewer tardies and truancy referrals, an increase in staff and student physical activity, and increased parent involvement.
Eight Component Winner
Hunt Meadows Elementary School – Anderson One
Principal: Nancy Prince

Each school day at Hunt Meadows Elementary begins with a morning TV broadcast that includes a five-minute classroom cardio workout where everyone participates.  The morning show also features a daily health tip. The school has a unicycle and juggling enrichment program for 4th and 5th graders, and over the past eight years, more than 350 students have mastered unicycle riding.  A healthy snack list posted on the school’s web site contains a calorie count for all items served in school, and nutrition education posters are displayed in the cafeteria.
 Breakfast and aerobic exercise are offered and encouraged in the classroom, and all students are offered 150 minutes of physical education and recess a week.  Dental screenings and education are offered to all first graders, and the Anderson County Dental Clinic provides weekly fluoride swish treatment to participating students.  The school has seen the time it takes to respond to an emergency drill decrease from four minutes to two minutes. There is 100 percent staff participation in blood borne pathogen training and personal safety seminars. 

Six Component Winner
Richmond Drive Elementary School – Rock Hill School District Three
Principal:  Patrick Maness

Richmond Drive Elementary School supports student health in a variety of ways.  The school has embraced providing healthy foods for celebrations and fundraising with healthy items. 
The principal supports the “Girls on the Run” program and runs the five-K race with them.

Five Component Winner
Wren Elementary School – Anderson One
Principal: Rhonda Tunstall

Wren Elementary School provides 75 minutes of physical education weekly to all students and works to implement state and national standards for physical education instruction. Administrators and staff have also implemented a program called “Pedaling Across the Palmetto State” to integrate physical education and social studies concepts.

Three Component Winner
Tamassee-Salem Elementary School – Oconee County
Principal: Myra Dillard

Tamassee-Salem Elementary School no longer gives candy for rewards. The staff now provides non-food items such as special pencils and stickers.
The school also supports student and faculty in fitness activities by providing an equipment check-out program.

Three Component Winner
West View Elementary – Spartanburg 6
Principal: Shawn Wooten

West View Elementary School’s theme for 2007-08 was “West View
Wildcats: Fit for Life!”  The administration promotes both student and faculty health.  The principal leads 5-10 minute ¬faculty meeting workouts, weekly fitness trivia for teachers and provides healthy snacks. In addition, the school is developing a fitness track for school and community use. Faculty members use logs to track student physical activity participation during the school day in addition to physical education instruction.