Monday, July 24, 2017

Bronx Health REACH Hosts Two Successful End-of-Year School Trainings

Twenty-nine people participated in two Bronx Health REACH professional development trainings held on June 8th.

On June 8th, twenty-nine teachers, school counselors, and parent coordinators from Bronx School Districts 7, 8, 9 and 12 attended our training, "Beyond the Champion: Laying the Foundation for a Successful Wellness Council and Healthier Culture.” Training participants received an introduction to the building blocks of a successful wellness council as a starting point for creating a more health-oriented school community. During the training, participants shared ideas about how to implement wellness in the classroom and as a school-wide effort. Participants came up with some fantastic ideas to improve wellness in their schools including healthy “family-style” meals where teachers would join students in the lunchroom and model healthy eating behaviors. One teacher also suggested incorporating quick physical activity breaks at the beginning of the class to help calm students before starting the lesson.

At the end of the training, participants received a one page checklist  to assess the strengths and gaps in their school wellness programming. Bronx Health REACH also invited participants to attend our quarterly wellness council meetings for school staff to network and share wellness ideas and resources across school districts. Join our Bronx Wellness Council Network by emailing Moria Byrne-Zaaloff.

After a tasty, healthy lunch of roast chicken, corn  salsa, rice and beans and salad, some of the teachers who attended the morning session were joined by a new set of teachers for the second session with Dr. Marissa Burgermaster. This session was about nutrition and food and integrating nutrition lessons into the classroom curriculum. Dr. Burgermaster discussed how to incorporate nutrition and food literacy into existing lessons that motivate students to adopt an active lifestyle and healthier eating habits. Teachers completed the course with a nutrition education toolkit and plenty of activities to adopt for classroom use. Unable to attend? You can download a copy of the toolkit.

If you have questions about the toolkit, either of the trainings, or would like Bronx Health REACH to come to your school to talk about nutrition education lesson planning or wellness councils with your teachers, please contact us for more information.

Guidelines to Develop a Culture of Wellness in your School:

Schools participating in the federal lunch and/or breakfast program are required to start implementing a wellness council by June 30th. Below are a few simple steps on how to get started.

1. Engage with school leadership. Work with your leadership committee and PTA  to include wellness on the monthly meeting agenda. Let them know that when children have a nutrient-poor diet and insufficient exercise, they are more likely to have higher absentee rates and struggle in school.

2. Find a policy issue leadership can agree on. For example:  (elimination of vending machines/replacing products with smart snacks, changing food sold in school stores, promotion of/access to drinking water, in-school fundraisers, classroom/school celebrations, etc.)

3. Develop a strategy to reach this goal. Determine what your school's policy issue is, and create a plan that makes the most sense for your school community.

4. Write a proposal (with action steps to launch and implement your policy issue campaign) and share with the PTA and principal.

5. Launch campaign

6. Review challenges/successes through an assessment. Celebrate any successes!

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