America's Healthiest Schools: Bunnell Elementary School

Bunnell Elementary School - Flager County School District, FL

Bunnell Elementary School was named one of America’s Healthiest Schools by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. The school met stringent standards set by the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program for serving healthier meals and snacks, getting students moving more, offering high-quality physical and health education and empowering school leaders to become healthy role models. Aside from home, kids spend most of their time at school, making schools important places to influence kids’ behavior and lifelong health habits. Research shows that healthy students learn better.

At Bunnell Elementary School, the entire community is working together to create a healthy environment by increasing physical activity and making smarter food choices.

The school offers multiple opportunities for both staff and students to get moving throughout the day. Twice a week, students participate in the walking and running club led by teachers before school. The school also participates in “Girls on the Run,” which inspires girls to gain confidence through physical activity and to work towards completing a 5K by the end of the program. The fall session of Girls on the Run was so successful that Bunnell added another session in the spring.

Staff are setting a healthy, active example for their students by making use of the school’s fitness room for everything from yoga and dance to strength training. Staff also partnered with a sixth grade student to create an afterschool program, H.E.A.L.T.H., which focuses on nutrition and fitness by bringing health professionals from the community to teach students more about the importance of making healthy choices.

In addition to H.E.A.L.T.H., Bunnell Elementary has created other opportunities to talk about the benefits of a healthy diet at school. Taste tests of healthy breakfast and lunch items have inspired students to try more of the available healthy options and students are enthusiastic about spending time in the school’s garden, learning about where their food comes from. “The most effective tool is the Alliance’s 6-Step Process,” said Cathie Zanella, the school’s health education teacher. With the support from Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Bunnell Elementary staff have been able to meet and exceed their wellness goals.