Mission Consolidated Independent School District (CISD) and Alton Elementary School have received national recognition for creating healthier schools. The awards were given out during the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s (Alliance) National Leaders Summit, held September 30-October 1 in Washington, D.C.
To earn awards, the schools and district had to meet or exceed stringent standards set by the Alliance’s Healthy School Program for serving healthier meals and snacks, getting students moving more, offering high-quality physical and health education, and empowering school leaders to become healthy role models. Mission CISD is one of only five participating districts in the country to have every eligible school in the district receive a 2016 National Healthy Schools Award. Schools can earn awards at the bronze, silver, or gold level, based on the standards they achieve. Each Mission CISD school earned a bronze award, with the exception of one. Alton Elementary School earned a silver award. This places all Mission CISD schools among the 328 Healthiest Schools in America.
In addition to being among the healthiest schools in America, all Mission CISD schools have earned a 2016 Let’s Move! Active Schools Award. Consequently, Mission CISD was selected to receive the 2016 Let’s Move! Active Schools District Award, based upon strong, district-wide support of creating active schools. The award was presented by the executive director of Let’s Move! Active Schools and a vice president of NIKE.
“I am very proud of what our schools have been able to accomplish in only the second year of working with the Alliance,” said Dr. Ricardo Lopez, Mission CISD superintendent. “This has required a major shift in how we approach many things, including changing mindsets of students, parents, and staff. It is exciting to me knowing that more of our schools are shooting for higher levels of achievement this next year because it helps build a healthier community as a whole.”
“Healthy schools are better schools-it’s that simple,” said Dr. Howell Wechsler, CEO of the Alliance. “Research tells us students who attend healthy schools perform better academically, have better attendance, and their behavior improves.”
The Alliance was founded by the American Heart Association and Clinton Foundation to work to empower kids to develop lifelong, healthy habits. More about the Alliance, and the list of the Healthiest Schools in America can be found online, https://www.healthiergeneration.org/.
According to the Alliance, award-winning schools are serving as best-in-class examples of a nationwide movement to create healthier environments for kids. All recognized schools:
● Meet or exceed updated federal nutrition standards for school meals, which include increased fruits and vegetables, whole grain-rich items, and meals lower in saturated fat
● Offer school breakfast to their students every day
● Meet or exceed snack and beverage requirements for the federal Smart Snacks in Schools standards
● Implement district wellness policies and report progress annually
● Provide students with at least 60 minutes of physical education per week and ensure activity throughout the school day
In addition to receiving the national awards during the leaders summit, school and district attendees took advantage of opportunities to attend breakout sessions designed to help schools continue to build on their successes. Craig Verley, director of public relations for Mission CISD was also asked to participate in one session to share how the district used tools provided by the Alliance in developing the district wellness policy and the plan to implement the stringent requirements of the Alliance program.
The Let’s Move! Active Schools is a part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative. More information about it, and the national awards, can be found online at, http://www.letsmoveschools.org/.