Located in an urban neighborhood, Philadelphia’s Anne Frank Elementary is the largest elementary school in the 220-school district, with 1,200 students.
Among Anne Frank's massive student body, 65 percent are eligible for free or reduced priced lunches and all students are getting their recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day.
Currently 26.5% of youth in Pennsylvania are overweight or obese. Anne Frank is trying to change that.
If we can keep kids healthier, then they’ll live longer, and what better lesson is that?
Changing Food Culture
Mickey reached a turning point when, on the Friday before a holiday weekend, parents of students in one classroom sent five sets of cupcakes for birthdays that fell over the long weekend. “I was looking at this thinking, ‘This has got to end.’”
Eliminating "TV Dinners"
Mickey is working on shifting lunch away from what he calls “TV dinners" - meals prepared off-site and brought to school.
Salads, Salads, Salads
Salads have been added from the local high school a few days each week and full-service meals have been requested.
Hear From Students
Improved healthy food consumption was first on Anne Frank's to-do list. Next, they sought to get its students and staff moving more by offering a variety of physical activities so students and staff could pick and choose the ways they would like to move.
Mickey instituted a before-school walking club in the schoolyard and after-school yoga and kickboxing classes for parents, students, and teachers.
For the past several years, staff participates in dance practice held before school starts! The “troupe” even performed at the school’s spring concert.
School health is not isolated to the campus. Last fall, the school hosted a 5K color run, which attracted 360 participants, including 75 adults.
Mickey's Steps to Success
Don’t forget to look at the big picture.
"We all want our students to be better in reading and math. But we believe that if we prioritize the health of the student it will increase their interest in school. You stimulate the body, and you stimulate brain activity.” A true educator, he added, “If we can keep kids healthier, then they’ll live longer, and what better lesson is that?”
Last year’s data shows one out of three kids in the district—and one out of four at Anne Frank—is obese. Komins is eager to study this year’s numbers when they are available, to see if his school’s healthy changes have had any positive effects. He’s hopeful.
The Alliance can give you small steps that are certainly attainable, because if we could attain them, any other school can attain them. - Assistant Principal Suzanne Sicardi