January 7, 2016
Demystifying the 6-Step Process: Step 3 - Develop Your Action Plan
This post is authored by Matt Dykstra, Physical Education Teacher at Ezra Millard Elementary School, NE
Once Ezra Millard Elementary School completed the Healthy School Program’s Assessment, we moved onto developing our Action Plan. To put our plans in motion, we first needed to create a school wellness policy that would encompass all of our wellness initiatives. Based on the Assessment, our Action Plan goals were to: 1) increase physical activity in our students, 2) introduce healthier snacks in school, and 3) promote a culture of wellness with our staff as role models.
Creating our Wellness Policy to Guide our Action Plan
The principal and I began researching what a school wellness policy would look like in our building. We knew that our first step was to develop a wellness council consisting of parents, students, staff and administrators. We also needed the support from our entire school staff, our school leadership team and our school improvement team.
After the Wellness Council completed the initial draft of our wellness policy, we needed buy-in from staff and parents to turn our wellness initiatives into a reality. We communicated and shared the policy with our entire school community and showed them the research on why creating a healthy school environment was a best practice for our students. For example, we shared research with our staff about why we should eliminate sugary rewards in the classroom and about the effects of physical activity breaks on student learning.
The process didn’t happen overnight. We had to be patient with our plan so that the policy could meet the needs of our staff and students. We overcame our challenges by educating our school community and slowly implementing the changes one at a time.
Sustaining the Action Plan
What kept us going was the knowledge that this generation’s children are expected not to outlive their parents. We knew that we needed to take action to better shape the future of our students and staff. We are inspired to continue implementing our Action Plan in order to create a culture of wellness in our school.
If you’re just getting started: Don’t give up! Wellness may always be an on-going process at your school. We are constantly trying to better our existing wellness policy and striving to create an even better climate and culture in our school. Celebrate your successes and build upon even your small victories. Set achievable goals, use the many resources available to you through the Alliance's Healthy Schools Program website and keep striving to reach your ultimate goal…health and wellness for the next generation.
Click here to get started on your Action Plan or update your existing Action Plan. Reach out to the Healthy Schools Program support staff at 888-KID-HLTH with any questions.