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Latonia Elementary & Other NKY Schools Honored by Health Department

The Northern Kentucky Health Department will award 11 Northern Kentucky schools with either a gold, silver or bronze level Award of Excellence in School Health. The schools will receive the award during the second annual coordinated school health symposium, “Healthy Schools, It Takes A Village,” at 2:20 p.m. on Wednesday, June 5, at Scott High School, 5400 Old Taylor Mill Road, in Taylor Mill.
 
“The awards program is one way the Health Department can help motivate and empower schools to create a healthy environment for students, staff and faculty,” said Lynne Saddler, MD, MPH, district director of health. “Presenting the awards at the coordinated school health symposium is a perfect opportunity to recognize the excellent work of these 11 schools among their peers. The conference provides educators, school administrators, parents, health/nutrition professionals and community leaders with an opportunity to network and share best practices, evidence-based programs, and policy-related tools to improve the school environment.”
 
To be eligible for the awards, schools completed a comprehensive application form that assessed the areas of physical activity and nutrition, staff wellness, and school environment that enhances emotional and mental health and student safety.
 
Schools could win awards at one of three levels: bronze, silver or gold, based on the number of points they earned towards the award criteria.
 
“The Awards of Excellence in School Health are designed to promote a progressive approach, meaning that a school receiving a bronze level award in the past must attain silver level status to get funding this time,” said Saddler. “Of the 11 schools to receive this year’s award, five showed improvement from the award level received in previous award cycles: Grant County High School in Dry Ridge (silver to gold), Longbranch Elementary in Union (bronze to silver), Sherman Elementary in Dry Ridge (silver to gold), Southgate Public School in Southgate (bronze to gold), and Walton-Verona Elementary in Verona (bronze to silver).”
 
Some innovative activities were noted by the reviewers of the award applications, such as:
 
Bronze level awards (one school)
 
Latonia Elementary in Covington: Physical activity is built in to the students’ school day at least twice a week, with a Monday Mile walking program and the Take 10 program, a curriculum that incorporates 10 minutes of physical activity in to classroom work. Further, 71 percent of Latonia students attend after school fitness clubs.
 
Silver level awards (seven schools)
 
Dry Ridge Elementary in Dry Ridge: The school has changed its rewards program, so prizes are not sugary/unhealthy foods, but rather activities, like pajama day and extra recess. Fruit and vegetable trays are requested as snacks for in-class parties and celebrations. Dry Ridge also has a 100-percent tobacco-free campus, which prohibits the use of tobacco by anyone on school grounds and during any school activity—on-site or off.
 
Fort Wright Elementary in Fort Wright: Students at Fort Wright get 30 or more minutes of physical activity during the school day via planned physical activity, recess, morning exercises and weekly physical education classes. Additional activity is available through after-school programs like Girls on the Run, exercise club and basketball teams. Fort Wright also builds students’ self-esteem, with an award program for students who complete service learning projects and the One-to-One program, a mentorship program for community members to help students with reading skills.
 
Hillard Collins Elementary in Florence: Besides using evidenced-based health curricula, the school revised its wellness policy to require healthy foods for classroom parties/snacks and classroom incentives. Teachers now use a bead reward system as immediate behavior incentives in class.
 
Longbranch Elementary in Union: The school provides emotional support for children by offering group counseling programs focusing on students of divorced parents, students having difficulty making friends, or students struggling socially in the classroom. To improve nutrition, Longbranch eliminated unhealthy options from its cafeteria and requires healthy snacks for classroom activities.

Source: Northern Kentucky Health Department via KY Forward