Rally for Healthier Schools

SWAP-final-logoInspired by a groundswell of community interest, the Lexington Tweens Nutrition and Fitness Coalition is staging a second rally to Stand Up for a Stronger School Wellness Policy, scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 23 at 6:30 p.m. at the Lyric Theater at 540 E. Third St.

Refreshments and childcare will be offered at this rally, just like the one in august.

The September Rally will follow a Ted Talk format in which four local women will make seven-minute, compelling presentations on the following subjects:

  • End the Use of Food as Reward by Dr. Alicia Fedewa of the UK College of Education
  • Require Daily Recess for All Elementary School Students by Angela Stark, a Southern Middle School P.E. teacher and an ambassador for The Alliance for a Healthier Generation.
  • Include Healthy Food in School Celebrations by Tracey Thomas, national ambassador for The Alliance for a Healthier Generation
  • How to Be a School Advocate by Jessica Berry, the Family and Community Liaison for Fayette County Public Schools.

The first three subjects reflect the priority policies for the School Wellness Action Plan Team of the Tweens Coalition. The SWAP team will ask the Fayette County School Board to strengthen the wellness policy for all its schools.

According to both state and federal regulations, all schools are required to have school wellness policies.

Although some schools embraced the challenge and transformed their food and fitness cultures, others have wellness policies in name only.

The SWAP Team plan represents three years of work and includes input from parents and FCPS teachers and administrators including two school principals and Tresine

Logsdon, Energy and Sustainability Curriculum Coordinator, and Health & Wellness Coordinator Myron Thompson.

With such FCPS support, the SWAP Team is optimistic about creating healthy environments for children at all schools. The need for change is essential – despite much progress Kentucky ranks seventh in the nation in childhood obesity.

“If we are able to get a district-wide school wellness policy, then teachers and principals are more likely to follow it,” Coalition Chairperson Anita Courtney said. “As we educate parents about the policy they are better able to hold our schools accountable.”

A key part of the mission is to support teachers by offering professional development sessions on alternatives to food as reward and indoor recess activities to keep kids moving.

“All research shows that when kids get to move, they focus better,” Courtney said. “Exercise increases attentiveness, reading and math skills, memory and comprehension.

“By investing in recess, time in the classroom is likely to be more productive because kids will be less disruptive. All work and no play is not good for kids’ well-being.”

Info: Michelle Davis Castro, School Wellness Coordinator for the SWAP Team, at (859) 433-7211 by email: tweens.schoolwellness@gmail.com or visit www.tweenslex.org/school-wellness.