I’m happy to report that year two of Driven to Better Health was a huge success in promoting healthier lifestyles in Wisconsin schools. Over 125 schools signed up to participate, agreeing to implement programs and activities that encourage and sustain healthy eating and regular physical activity.
To say I’m proud of what these schools accomplished over the four-month program would be an understatement! It was so inspiring to see each and every school’s effort to make Wisconsin kids the healthiest in the nation. I am so proud to be a part of this program and I know that because of leaders in these schools, kids and families are making healthier choices!
Four schools have been selected as finalists in the 2016 Driven to Better Health school-based contest, with the winning school receiving a personal visit from me. We made these final selections based on a number of factors, but it was the creativity and the overall reach of the programs that won us over. After careful consideration, I’d like to say …
Congratulations to Brooklyn Elementary for winning this year’s Driven to Better Health challenge!
Here are the finalists, in alphabetical order, along with a few of their wellness efforts:
Brooklyn Elementary School (Oregon)
- Documented all of their school community’s activities on a Brooklyn Elementary Driven to Better Health Facebook page
- Started a running club that has lead to more focused classrooms on the days the students participate.
- Created prominent graphs to show how the school was doing in its healthy eating and exercise activities throughout the Driven to Better Health program
- Sent out a Driven to Better Health newsletter to parents to update them on past, current and future DTBH related events
- Held a “Beat the Winter Blues Fest” for the community and families to stay active in the frigid Wisconsin winter
Osceola Elementary (Osceola)
- Created a classroom physical activity challenge with the goal of reaching 4,400 minutes during the four days of the week and kept track of their progress using a cute bulletin board. The school exceeded its goal, reaching a total of 4,850 minutes. Osceola compared its disciplinary data pre- and post-Driven to Better Health implementation and reported a decrease in the number of incidents requiring disciplinary action.
- Created a walking trail for students to use at recess and created a punch card for students to fill up to earn foot charms. The school partnered with a local Subway to provide a healthy lunch for students who turned in the most cards.
- Initiated a before-school walking program for teachers every Monday morning to help staff get more physical activity, provide an opportunity to collaborate, and feel great before the start of the week.
Sandhill Elementary School (Stoughton)
- Started using desk cycles during literacy stations and as an activity when the weather doesn’t allow for students to go outside
- Created an interactive nutrition display with changing questions near the front door that allowed families, staff and community members to learn about nutrition
- Over 200 students and their families participated in creating a “Healthy Food Rainbow” bulletin board displayed near the cafeteria promoting the importance of including a variety of fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet
Summit View Elementary (Waukesha)
- Held a schoolwide “Eat a Rainbow” week where students were encouraged to try all different- colored vegetables. For the five days, all teachers included lessons and materials about the color of the day and parents incorporated each day’s color in their child’s lunch. Students were then quizzed on what they learned about each vegetable, and a majority of students reported they “LOVED” the vegetables.
- Started a schoolwide garden by planting over 18 raised vegetables beds with fresh produce used during health and wellness activities. Extra produce was donated to the located food pantry — Food Pantry of Waukesha County.
- Over 70 students practiced over the course of a few months, and then participated in an all-day swim meet.
It was an inspiring second year for Driven to Better Health, thanks to the excitement and effort all the schools brought. Thanks again to all the schools that participated. I’m also making a special visit to one lucky family who signs up for the family portion of Driven to Better Health this summer. To learn more about the summer family program, visit driventobetterhealth.com.
– Donald Driver, guest blogger, Green Bay’s all-time leading receiver, Dancing with the Stars champion and four-time children’s book author