Demystifying the 6-Step Process: Step 1 - Build Support
This post is authored by Tom Adam, Wellness Champion and Physical Education Teacher at Spout Springs School of Enrichment, GA
As Spout Springs School of Enrichment started on its quest to create and sustain a healthier and happier environment for our students and staff, we followed the Healthy Schools Program’s Framework to the letter. Here’s how we did it:
Our school’s success began with gathering support from our school staff and district to help us build a strong foundation. We assembled a dynamic School Wellness Team that didn’t look at changes as problems but as opportunities for improvement.
How did we find people to be on our Wellness Team? We gathered team members that seemed to already have some interest in wellness – such as a staff member that wore a 5k t-shirt; a teacher who taught Zumba outside of school; or a parent who came to school in fitness attire. I looked for folks who seemed like they cared, and/or that had strengths in areas like technology to help us complete the online Healthy Schools Program Assessment and Action Plan.
Who’d we pick to be on our Wellness Team? Our 16-person School Wellness Team consists of students, administrators, parents, teachers, and some area business leaders from wellness-oriented businesses. It’s essential that you also include the nurse, cafeteria manager and a district or county representative.
How do we get things done? We have four or five in-person meetings a year and then we have a smaller subcommittee that meets monthly with representatives from each grade level. In between our in-person meetings, there is a lot of communication between members to organize our wellness initiatives throughout the year.
What have we accomplished together? Our School Wellness Team completed the School Health Index to see where we were and what we could improve upon. We then created an Action Plan on the Healthy Schools Program website to implement these changes. This team is the real success story behind being a National Healthy Schools Gold Award-winning school for two years in a row!
We were fortunate that our district was initially supportive of our participation in the Program, but after we received our first National Healthy Schools Award, support and enthusiasm from the district level was even stronger.
Time after time we made changes and became a better school. We celebrated and bragged about everyone involved. At Spout Springs, we realized that we could do amazing things if we didn’t care who got the credit. We celebrated success, enthusiasm and flexibility. That is how Spout Springs changed the culture of our school and community.
Start building support by inviting team members. Remember to contact the Healthy Schools Program support staff at 888-KID-HLTH with any questions.