Fernbank Elementary School Wins National Healthy Schools Silver Award

Fernbank Elementary School - Avondale Estates, GA

Fernbank Elementary School make wellness a top priority, and the result is a student body that is healthy and successful in the classroom. The school has offered daily physical education classes for the past ten years, but added a morning physical activity period where students choose between free play in the gym or an exercise DVD in the cafeteria. The physical activity options continue after school, when students can pick from running, walking, golf and yoga clubs. The school is also focused on providing healthy options for students in the cafeteria. The cafeteria staff hosted a tasting event that fed over 650 students using only produce grown by the students in the school’s garden. Classroom celebrations at Fernbank don’t include unhealthy treats, and all snacks are required to follow the USDA’s Smart Snack in Schools standards. Fernbank modified its food-centric fundraisers to be consistent with the healthy messages provided to students during the school day. The ‘Donuts before Dawn’ fundraiser became ‘Smoothies at Sunrise,’ using greens grown in the school garden. The school helped staff members become role models for students by creating a fitness room for teachers and promoting health screenings. The healthy changes at Fernbank resulted in a decrease in the number of students referred to the school nurse. “The Healthy Schools Program has helped us create a healthier and happier environment for students and staff,” said Principal Jason Marshall. “We have created a successful environment for our children to learn.”