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A School Learning to Make Healthier Choices

For staff and faculty at Thurgood Marshall, joining the Healthy Schools Program was a call to action. Since coming on board in the fall the school has committed itself to the process of creating a healthier school environment and to being recognized for their efforts. They have created a wellness council and an action plan and have dived in headfirst to creating a healthier school where students and staff are learning how to make healthier choices and their environment supports those choices.

Students are hearing more about the importance of healthy choices during the Wellness Wednesday and Feel Good Friday segments on the school TV program. They are covering different topics such as energy boosting foods, making smart fast food choices and calorie burning exercises. The school has also launched a “Water Wellness” campaign where students are learning about the connection between hydration, energy and school performance.

In Sarah Chaplin’s health education class, students are learning how to choose and track healthy goals for themselves such as drinking more water, eating more fruits and vegetables, getting more physical activity. The students are keeping a daily checklist of their personal goals and are periodically sharing their goals, challenges and successes with each other. Some students have shared their successes on the school TV program. They have reported that 92% of students in the class are drinking more water, 87% are eating more fruits and vegetables, 75% are moving more (at least 30 minutes a day) and 57% are resting and relaxing more to reduce stress.

The school cafeteria manager is working to ensure that all staff have extra training in providing reduced fat and sodium and portion controlled meals. Cafeteria changes have included using 50% whole grains, offering only non fried products and using no deep frying, offering fish each week and only lean protein. At least four fruits or vegetables are offered daily and at least one fruit is offered at breakfast.