Representatives from 18 campuses in McAllen ISD (the most of any school district in the state and second most in the nation) were recognized as America’s Healthiest Schools at the Texas Alliance for a Healthier Generation (AHG) Leaders’ Summit held October 6-7 in San Antonio.
In addition, Wilson Elementary was recognized for achieving Gold Level status – one of only 10 schools in the United States to reach that goal. McAllen ISD staff (Albert Canales, Corina Saenz, Regina Reyna and Mario Reyna) also led a session for secondary staff at the event attended by school districts from across the state. McAllen ISD’s Health and Physical Education Coordinator, Mario Reyna, was acknowledged for his support by the CEO of AHG, Dr. Howell Wechsler and during the keynote address by the incoming Executive Director for the Texas Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (TAHPERD) Rose Haggerty.
“McAllen ISD is truly a great leader, not just in the Valley, not just across Texas, but across the entire United States of America,” Dr. Wechsler said during a visit to McAllen ISD in August. “The fact is McAllen ISD is one of the greatest success stories in terms of a school district promoting the health and wellness of its schools.”
In addition to the help from PE Coaches, the district’s Child Nutrition Services has contributed by serving healthy meals to students. McAllen ISD students receive free breakfast and lunch each school day. In fact, McAllen ISD Child Nutrition will be presenting on an AHG national webinar on November 2. The topic will be Nutrition Standard Implementation to Meet AHG Award Levels.
Over the past two years, McAllen ISD has had all 32 of its eligible schools reach the Bronze, Silver or Gold Level in the AHG’s listing of America’s Healthiest Schools. Fewer than 10 school districts in the country have had every campus earn a National Healthy Schools Program award.
McAllen ISD also has two Gold Level schools, the highest award. These are Sanchez Elementary, which won in 2016, and Wilson Elementary, which won in 2017. In 12 years, fewer than 50 schools in the nation have won the Gold Level award.
In either 2016 or 2017, all 32 eligible schools in McAllen ISD reached the AHG threshold. The McAllen ISD schools on this year’s list include:
• Achieve Early College High School
• Lamar Academy
• McAllen High
• Memorial High
• Rowe High School
• Cathey Middle School
• De Leon Middle School
• Morris Middle School
• Castaneda Elementary
• Fields Elementary
• Garza Elementary
• Gonzalez Elementary
• Houston Elementary
• Milam Elementary
• Perez Elementary
• Roosevelt Elementary
• Thigpen-Zavala Elementary
• Wilson Elementary
These schools are creating healthy learning environments where students are eating better and moving more, the AHG said on its website.
In McAllen ISD, all eligible schools have achieved national recognition under Let's Move! Active Schools for four years in a row and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation (including two Gold Level schools) for three straight years.