State Department of Health grant helps strengthen school district policies

As part of an effort to strengthen district policies regarding tobacco, nutrition and physical activities, Wayzata Public Schools is participating in the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) funded through a grant from the Minnesota Department of Health.

The work on the SHIP grant has been coordinated through the special services department. A district Wellness Committee was formed with fourteen representative members from curriculum, secretarial, custodial, administrative, culinary, Home Base, health services and the community. The following three initiatives were selected by the committee:

  • Tobacco-free schools
  • Non-food classroom rewards
  • Staff physical activity

The tobacco initiative focuses on increasing awareness and enforcement of Wayzata Public Schools’ tobacco-free campus. As part of the grant, new signage was installed by the buildings and grounds department and window decals were placed on entry doors at each building to remind visitors and staff that there is no tobacco use within buildings or on district grounds. Additional written and verbal announcements are included at athletic events and fine arts programs throughout the district.

The second initiative for nutrition, focused on using non-food rewards in the classroom. A pilot program was developed and volunteer teachers were selected to participate from each elementary school. The participants implemented the use of non-food rewards in their classrooms from October 2010 through December 2010. The next step is the implementation of non-food rewards in classrooms across the district. This initiative does not impact classroom celebrations, daily snacks or special education student programs.

The third initiative focuses on increasing staff physical activity. Walking maps have been designed for each district building to encourage staff to walk during their breaks. To kick off the staff physical activity initiative, the Wellness Committee sponsored a district-wide four-week “Walking Challenge” and a breakfast in February.

Funding provided by the SHIP grant was used to purchase the Tanita Body Composition Analyzer. This is a medical grade tool for Body Mass Index (BMI), fat percentage, bone mass, Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and hydration. The equipment produces a printout for each participant and may be mounted on a sheet that explains the readings.

The Wellness Committee will continue to meet after the SHIP grant ends in May 2011. Follow-up will continue with these initiatives and exploration of new options will permit the committee to move forward as to seek ways to promote a healthier way of life for students and staff.


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