Let’s Move! Active Schools, Part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative, Honors Westside Intermediate School in Hebron with the Let’s Move! Active Schools National Award
Let’s Move! Active Schools, a sub-initiative of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, has honored Westside Intermediate School in Hebron with the Let’s Move! Active Schools National Award for 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 for its outstanding efforts in creating an active school environment.
The award celebrates a school’s commitment to integrating at least 60 minutes of physical activity before, during and after the school day. Only 525 schools across the country achieved this prestigious honor. Westside Intermediate received a banner, certificate, and congratulatory letter from the First Lady to proudly showcase its school-wide dedication to improving children’s health and academic performance.
“As the principal of Westside Intermediate School, I am very pleased with the support from parents, students and staff who helped to make the Grab and Go Breakfast Program, Directed Play and Brain Break activities a success for all students,” said Westside Intermediate Principal Jason Miller. “As a result of these initiatives, students were more focused on the importance of healthy eating and increasing their physical activity to improve their overall academic success and physical well-being. We’re going to continue with last year’s focus to make Westside Intermediate School a Healthy, High-Achieving School. Already this year, we’ve started Workout Wednesdays, with students arriving before school to participate in fitness activities like cross country that will give them a boost for the day.”
During the 2014-2015 school year, Westside Intermediate worked to increase the percentage of students who ate breakfast at school by offering the Grab and Go Breakfast program so they could begin their day in a healthy way. The percentage of students eating breakfast increased by 104%. Westside Intermediate served as the kickoff site of Wicomico County Public Schools’ Maryland Breakfast Challenge, helping shine the spotlight on the importance of eating breakfast to support academic performance. Westside Intermediate staff and students were leaders of the county-wide Fuel Up to Play 60 initiative; with generous support from the Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association, Wicomico had the only district-wide Fuel Up program in the country.
Eating right and being active is important for every student. Research shows that students who eat a healthy snack and who participate in a Brain Boost every few hours are more focused on learning and have better retention of information. “We implemented ‘Brain Breaks’ during class which allowed them to get up and move to increase brain stimulation,” Miller said. Directed Play was also incorporated into the master schedule in which students had 30 minutes of recess and 15 minutes of Directed Play on non-Physical Education (PE) days and 15 minutes of Directed Play on PE days. By incorporating Directed Play into the schedule, students received 180 minutes per 6-day cycle of physical activity beyond their PE classes. Students were also allowed to bring a healthy snack to be eaten during the school day to keep the brain and body well fed.
The Let’s Move! Active Schools collaborative works together to transform the physical activity and physical education culture in America’s schools. By streamlining the selection of programs, resources, professional development and funding opportunities and delivering each school a customized Action Plan, Let’s Move! Active Schools results in children moving for the nationally recommended 60 minutes a day. Studies show that active kids do better: Physical activity not only helps kids stay healthy and strong, but it can also lead to higher test scores, improved attendance, better behavior in class, and enhanced leadership and interpersonal skills.
Westside Intermediate has been a leader in Active Schools, spearheading a comprehensive effort to help students develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to be physically active for a lifetime. Westside Intermediate has been a Fuel Up to Play 60 Touchdown School for the past two years. As a result of our increase in breakfast participation through the Grab and Go Breakfast Program, Ravens NFL Player John Urschel visited Westside Intermediate to share his success story and the importance of doing well in school, eating healthy, and being physically active. Westside Intermediate School also partnered with East Salisbury Elementary School during the 2013-2014 school year to implement Playworks, a national non-profit effort to ensure that schools are doing their best to incorporate healthy, inclusive play into recess so that students return to the classroom energized and ready to learn.
“The Let’s Move! Active Schools National Award is the nation’s top physical activity and physical education distinction for K-12 schools,” said Charlene Burgeson, Let’s Move! Active Schools Executive Director. “We commend Westside Intermediate for its exemplary work around and commitment to active learning environments. The school’s faculty, staff and students are paving the way to a healthier, higher-performing and more successful generation of youth.”
To earn a Let’s Move! Active Schools National Award, a school must have met significant benchmarks in five areas: physical education; physical activity before and after school; physical activity during school; staff involvement; and family & community engagement.
ABOUT LET’S MOVE! ACTIVE SCHOOLS
Let’s Move! Active Schools is the national solution to ensure 60 minutes of physical activity a day is the new norm for schools. Powered by a national collaborative of leading health, education and private sector organizations, Let’s Move! Active Schools helps schools develop a culture in which physical activity and physical education are foundational to academic success. Let’s Move! Active Schools National Collaborative: Action for Healthy Kids, Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Athletes for Hope, BOKS, ChildObesity180, GENYOUth Foundation, GoNoodle, Good Sports, Kaiser Permanente, KIDS in the GAME, Let’s Move!, NBA FIT, NIKE, Inc., Partnership for a Healthier America, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, Safe Routes to School National Partnership, SHAPE America, SPARK, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, USA Track & Field. Find out more at www.letsmoveschools.org.