Grant Co. Middle School's partnership with the local health department and local fitness group takes a multipronged approach to improve student health, from providing healthier snacks to improving school walking paths

Grant County News, Williamstown, Aug. 10, 2017

NKY health dept., GCMS work together to help students, staff to eat better, move more

This spring, Grant County Middle School completed a two-year project in collaboration with the Northern Kentucky Health Department and Fitness For Life Around Grant County (FFLAG) that shaped their school environment by connecting wellness to education.

“All children deserve to attend school in a healthy environment,” said DaNelle Jenkins, a health educator who focuses on Coordinated School Health at the health department. “Changes to the school environment can transform how we live, work and play.”

To achieve improved health, the wellness team at Grant County Middle School worked with the health department to create more opportunities for students and staff to move more and eat healthier, such as:

• Developing a school health team

• Making improvements to the 1,650 footlong walking paths on school grounds

• Providing students and staff with opportunities for exercise

• Providing healthier snacks

• Promoting the use of non-food fundraisers

Additionally, the team at Grant County Middle School focused on wellness policy development, which can create environments that support active lifestyles and healthy eating long-term.

“Improving health at our school is a journey, but we are excited to be on a path to wellness,” said Tyler Mullins, Youth Services coordinator, Grant County Middle School. “We know that health and the ability to learn go hand-in-hand, so by improving nutrition and offering our students the ability to be active, we’re also creating a school environment that promotes learning.”

Grant County Middle School’s efforts have been acknowledged by other organizations as well.

The school received a gold level recognition from Fitness for Life Around Grant County, and was honored for its worksite wellness activities by LiveWell NKY.

The recent collaboration between the health department, FFLAG and Grant County Middle School was part of the REACH School Health Incentive Funds project and the Starting with Children initiative.

Work to improve school health throughout Northern Kentucky will continue in 2017 with four additional schools being chosen to receive aid in transforming their wellness practices.

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