America's Healthiest Schools: Juan Seguin Elementary School
Juan Seguin Elementary School - McAllen Independent School District, TX
Juan Seguin 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 the beginning of the year, students and staff at Juan Seguin Elementary School signed an oath to be healthy and active. By using resources provided by Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program, they have been able to make changes in order to support this oath and become a healthy school.
Students participate in the “100 Mile Club” where they work toward walking or jogging 100 miles in the morning before school. In this club they set goals, track their progress and earn rewards for meeting milestones. In order to increase physical activity during recess, the school provides new, exciting activities to reach students that might not be interested in the typical sports offered. Juan Seguin has also started offering recess before lunch, so that students can take their time while eating and can enjoy the variety of fruits and vegetables offered in the cafeteria. The school also received a grant which allows students an extra fruit or vegetable in the afternoons at no cost.
Staff members, too, are committed to staying healthy throughout the year. Teachers signed a similar oath to be healthy role models for their students, and they participate in a staff walking club after school.
These changes have a positive impact on the students, as teachers have been noticing better behavior. Bernardo Rangel, physical education teacher at Juan Seguin, is proud of the cultural changes he sees, saying, “Hearing kids talk to each other, using everything we taught them about healthy eating, and making the right choices at lunchtime, it’s beyond description."