Getting Hearts Pumping With Healthy Schools Pilot Program

A new and exciting Healthy Schools Pilot Program is getting students hearts pumping!

Keely Ihry, SEEC Healthy School Program Coordinator

The South East Education Cooperative’s Healthy Schools Program is focusing on increasing the opportunities students have to be physically active while at school and improving the school nutrition environment.  This program was developed to reduce overweight and obesity in children, and also increase the capacity of local schools and communities to sustain healthy environments for their children.

The SEEC put the call out to its member schools during the Fall of 2016 to find 10 individual school buildings to take part in this exciting pilot project. Each school building was asked to make a three-year commitment to the program, designate a Physical Activity Leader (PAL), establish a Wellness Team, complete different school assessments, and collect data that would support an overall evaluation plan.  After promoting and marketing the program, 11 schools jumped on board to make up the SEEC’s Healthy Schools Pilot Program!  The pilot schools include:

  • Barnes County North
  • Bennett Elementary School, Fargo
  • Carl Ben Eielson Middle School, Fargo
  • Central Cass
  • Griggs County Central
  • LE Berger Elementary School, West Fargo
  • Liberty Middle School, West Fargo
  • Litchville-Marion
  • Maple Valley Elementary School
  • Montpelier
  • Sheyenne High School, West Fargo

An incredible incentive for these pilot schools was a set of 24 innovative Adidas ZONE wrist-based heart rate technology and software from Interactive Healthy Technologies (IHT). Funding was made possible for these devices and software through the Dakota Medical Foundation. The devices easily track student performance and measure the effectiveness of K-12 physical education classes. The IHT software will enable teachers to measure the impact of all components of their curriculum at the student, classroom, building, district and state levels. It can also help correlate increase in moderate to vigorous physical activity, physical literacy and fitness to improved academic performance.

While this pilot program is focusing on 11 pilot schools, professional learning opportunities are open to all SEEC member schools. One exciting training offered last October was Smarter Lunchrooms – Healthy Students, Not Healthy Trash Cans which equipped school staff with evidence-based tools to nudge children towards healthier options in the lunchroom.  Interested in learning more about Smarter Lunchrooms? Click here!  We are here to help.

A few other SEEC opportunities are also on the calendar that may appeal to your School Wellness goals:

  1. N.D. Afterschool Summit – focus on Social and Emotional Learning Click here to learn more.
    • The After School Network, another one of SEEC’s programs, supports and advocates for high-quality, out-of-school-time programming, resources and services. The Afterschool Network is hosting their 2nd Annual After School Summit on February 22nd.  Knowing that social emotional learning and support is definitely a current hot topic, this Summit is not one that you will want to miss!  There will be a number of different presentations on programing and supporting social and emotional learning.  Registration closes soon so hurry!
  1. Healthy Schools Summit. This FREE Summit will be held on Thursday, March 30th at Dakota Medical Foundation in Fargo.
    • The day will kick-off with keynote speaker Michelle Hillier from Groove EDGEucation. The Groove is a movement-based approach to teaching, where students learn through an equal engagement of the physical, cognitive, social and emotional self.
    • Then participants will move into a Physical Activity Leader (PAL) During the PAL training participants will start to create a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP) action plan.  The CSPAP provides a variety of school-based physical activities to enable all students to participate in 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each day.  The 5 components include: Physical education, Physical activity during the school day, family and community engagement, staff involvement and physical activity before and after-school.
    • BONUS EVENTFree SchoolsAlive! Family Fun Night – Wednesday, March 29th 6 – 7:30pm at Concordia’s Olson Forum Gym. Learn more by checking out our Facebook event!

It takes strong coordination across all five components of the CSPAP to develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to be physically active for a lifetime. This is why the SEEC works collaboratively with other programs to increase the health of all students.

Healthy, active students are better learners!  The Healthy Schools Program strives to increase the health of all students, and when a culture of health is built, schools will start to see an increase in academic performance, reduction of classroom behaviors and improved cognitive skills and attitudes in their students.

“You can’t educate a child who isn’t healthy, and you can’t keep a child healthy who isn’t educated.” Dr. Jocelyn Elders.

The Healthy Schools Program is an opportunity sponsored by the South East Education Cooperative, and supported through grants provided by the ND Department of Health, ND Department of Instruction and the Dakota Medical Foundation. 


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