Wake Schools Working on Wellness
On October 13, 20 schools in Wake County kicked off a special 4-year effort that includes technical assistance to focus on wellness within their schools. The principals at each of these schools signed an agreement with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to be part of the Healthy Schools Program (HSP) and receive in-person and individualized support from NC HSP Program Manager Shauvon Simmons-Wright.
The Alliance, working in partnership with AHA and Wake County Public Schools, sought out to serve 20 schools in Wake County to help them comply with local and state wellness policies and promote physical activity and healthy nutrition to activate brain functions to improve students’ academic performance and to support a healthy work-life balance for staff. For their part, the schools have assembled teams of staff and parents who will work alongside Simmons-Wright.
“The HSP provides real tools and solutions by taking a comprehensive approach and helping schools improve access to healthier foods, increase physical activity opportunity before, during and after school enhance nutrition education; establish school employee wellness programs and more,” said Simmons-Wright.
AHA has been working with Simmons-Wright for several years; AHA uses three of the 8 modules in the Health Schools Program for its Brains and Bodies Award. With Simmons-Wright’s support and technical assistance, more schools in Wake County will be upping their wellness game.
Schools that have won AHA’s local award may now go on to win national recognition through the Alliance by completing all of the modules, and schools that have struggled previously to reach Brains and Bodies Award status are now looking to win that award, perhaps national recognition, and above all, create a culture of wellness at their schools that will benefit students for years to come.
Because change does not happen overnight, Simmons-Wright will work with these schools for four years, providing a series of in-person and online trainings, as well as individual technical support as needed. “I’m meeting each school team where they are in their wellness; together we’ll work from the ground up if needed, or we’ll strengthen areas that have been holding them back,” she said.
The Alliance is providing all the training, support and evidence-based resources no cost to the schools. With the Alliance’s support, these schools will better be able to leverage local and national grant opportunities to further their efforts.