Bridge Creek Elementary Students are Eating Better, Moving More at School

by Bridge Creek Elementary School, Elgin, SC

Since 2013, the staff at Bridge Creek Elementary School in Elgin, South Carolina have leveraged the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s expertise to implement healthier physical education, nutrition and wellness policies to the great benefit of their students. The efforts have paid off: the school achieved a National Healthy Schools Bronze Award in 2017, earning a spot on the list of America’s Healthiest Schools.

The school’s success has been a team effort. Parents, faculty, and staff set up quarterly wellness meetings, which allow them to share ideas and discuss solutions to school wellness challenges. By using Healthier Generation’s Smart Food Planner to find recipes and products, plan meals and afterschool snacks, and by discouraging the use of food to reward or celebrate students’ accomplishments, teachers have significantly decreased the amount of unhealthy foods and beverages available throughout the school day.

To get students moving, Bridge Creek added a ten-minute run at the beginning of each physical education class, and turned the run into a contest for students. The active learning environment at Bridge Creek is especially important for students who face barriers to staying healthy outside of school; the majority of Bridge Creek’s students are African American and more than half are considered high need, qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch. These factors put students at increased risk of developing health problems later in life.

“The Healthy Schools Program helped us decide what to focus on around school wellness,” said Physical Education Teacher Lindsay Belville. “The Program not only has given us ideas and suggestions for improvement, but also has highlighted what we currently do well.”

The impact of Bridge Creek’s success in the Healthy Schools Program has extended beyond the school environment. “Our healthy school success impacts the confidence of our students and staff, leading to higher achievement on test scores, and a greater excitement for student learning and growth,” said Lindsay.