Healthy Schools Support Learning: McAllen High School

McAllen High School - McAllen Independent School District, TX

On October 2, 2015, at the 2015 Leaders Summit in Washington, DC, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation will recognize McAllen High School as one of 376 schools that have transformed the school environment into a healthier place as part of the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program.

The Healthy Schools Program, a national, school-based childhood obesity prevention initiative, has worked with more than 30,000 schools to increase quality physical activity, health education, and nutrition.

The Program is particularly important as 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: they perform better on tests, get better grades, attend school more often and behave better in class.

“Our district chose to be more stringent than Federal guidelines in à la carte offerings for elementary school students because of our mission to introduce healthy eating habits to children as soon as they become our students.” 

- Albert Canales, Principal

“The Alliance for a Healthier Generation set the foundation to achieve wellness goals among staff, students, parents and community to value an active and healthy lifestyle,” said Albert Canales, principal. McAllen High School found success this year in promoting a healthy lifestyle using resources provided by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, in addition to several initiatives of its own. The school used FITNESSGRAM testing, Fuel up to Play, the SPARK physical education curriculum, and classroom physical activity breaks including Go Noodle to get kids moving and keep them active throughout the school day.

Students were encouraged to drink more water and eat more fruits and vegetables through ongoing daily announcements. Staff members were also encouraged to adopt healthier lifestyle practices, by making healthier choices during staff meetings and tracking their steps to increase activity using district-issued pedometers. “I was surprised with the interest that the pedometer project generated,” said Greg Kiger, physical education teacher.