AHA fosters and supports community efforts to make healthy eating and physical activity the way of life in Wake County.
2016 Health & Wellness Recommendations to WCPSS School Board
In its 2015-2016 Annual Report, the School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) presented 7 commendations and 3 recommendations to the WCPSS School Board on June 21. AHA Director Sara Merz addressed the Board during the public comments at the meeting and thanked SHAC members and the Board for their support of healthy, active students. Highlights of the healthy food and physical activity access items are below.
The SHAC commended AHA’s Brains and Bodies Award as well as the Sneakers and Spokes Award winners for the 2015-2016 school year for their achievement in student and staff wellness.
The SHAC also commended the WCPSS School Gardens Work Group –a community partnership comprised of WCPSS Academics and Facilities, NC State University, United Way, Syngenta, Poe Health Center, Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, NC Cooperative Extension and AHA—for its work to advance edible school gardens at schools. As part of this work, NC State design students worked with Leesville Rd. Elementary to create design templates for possible use in WCPSS school gardens.
Wake County Commissioners Sig Hutchinson, Matt Calabria, and John Burns with WCPSS Board Member Monika Johnson-Hostler and AHA Director Sara Merz at the Capital Area Food Network’s Food Security Summit, one day after the SHAC report to the School Board. The SHAC commedned WCPSS Board and staff involvement to address food insecure students in Wake County.
Five WCPSS schools have funding and technical assistance through a John Rex Endowment grant to UNC Highway Safety Research Center, AHA, WakeUP Wake County and WCPSS for safe routes to school model programs, and SHAC also commended Olive Chapel Elementary’s 10-year anniversary of a monthly walking school bus and Scotts Ridge Elementary opened with a daily walking school bus to support an active school culture.
SHAC commended the Welnet Fitness Data Collection & Growth Model; the data collection application is available to all healthful living teachers, and personal fitness goals are stressed.
SHAC commended work to improve food security among students, including the increase in the number of Universal Breakfast programs from 12 to 15 this past school year; participation in Summer Food Service Programs (from 0 to 11 schools), a dedicated food resource (pantry, backpack buddies, etc.) at 10 schools with >50% free and reduced lunch student population, and WCPSS staff participating with community members on the Food Security Task Force. Food security was the focus of the June 22 Capital Area Food Network’s summit: “Moving Beyond Hunger—Food Systems for Food Security.”
The SHAC recommended increased attention to Wellness Policy 5125, specifically using the current opportunity of policy migration to increase school-level awareness and compliance with the Wellness Policy Updates of the policy. SHAC also recommended that the School Board allow SHAC input on the Policy and Rules & Procedures of the updated policy.
SHAC also recommended researching the implications of increasing the Healthful Living graduation requirement from 1 to 2 credits.