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Growing Healthy Schools Month

Growing Healthy Schools Month celebrates the health of students in public schools throughout the District. During the annual celebration, public schools collaborate with local community based organizations, District government agencies, farmers, athletes, and chefs to coordinate inspiring activities aimed at engaging students with topics concerning nutrition, the environment, and being active.

This year’s theme is “Healthy Schools, Every Day!”. We encourage schools to leverage Growing Healthy Schools Month to institutionalize healthy school initiatives throughout the school year.

Here are the ways you can get involved:

  • Administrators: Register your school for the month. Registration allows OSSE to better support teachers and staff with conducting activities. The registration deadline is Sept. 25, 2016 by 5 p.m.
  • Teachers: Work with your students to apply for the Growing Healthy Schools Month Contest and engage your students with school-based activities focused on the health of your students. The contest application and more information can be found here. The application deadline is Oct. 18, 2016 by 5 p.m.
  • Community Members: Volunteer to visit a school. We need chefs, gardeners, farmers, and athletes to share their passions with students. Please sign up to volunteer by Sept. 25, 2016 by 5 p.m.

About Growing Healthy Schools Month

Growing Healthy Schools Month has evolved over the years to encompass many components of student health. This annual celebration grew out of Growing Healthy Schools Week (2012-2014), which itself was the fusion of DC School Garden Week (2007-2011) and DC Farm to School Week (2009-2011). The growth of this celebration over the past eight years is a testament to the importance OSSE places on the heath of students in the District.

Growing Healthy Schools Month School-Based Activities

“Healthy Schools, Every Day!”
Growing Healthy Schools Month celebrates the health of students in public schools throughout the District. During the annual celebration, public schools collaborate with local community based organizations, District government agencies, farmers, athletes, and chefs to coordinate inspiring activities aimed at engaging students with topics concerning nutrition, the environment, and being active.

Below is a list of school-based activities that are being promoted and supported by OSSE during Growing Healthy Schools Month. Please indicate which activities your school will be participating in when you register your school by Sept. 25, 2016 by 5 p.m.
 
Host a Cooking Demo
There are many community based organizations that offer healthy cooking demos and teachers can also act as chefs for the day and prepare a healthy snack with their students. Select here for recommended activities and projects.

Connect with a Local Grower
While many students may have already experienced a farm field trip, we hope this month inspires you to plan something special that will take your farm-to-school program to the next level. Select here for recommended activities and projects.

Eat Local Produce
What better way to engage students then by tasting a delicious fruit or veggie that was grown locally? We hope this month inspires you to pay special attention to the foods indicated as “local” on the breakfast and lunch menus. Select here for recommended activities and projects.

Get Out and Garden
October is one of the best times to get students out in school gardens in the district. We hope this month inspires you to plan something special that will take your school garden to the next level. Select here for recommended activities and projects.

Promote Nutrition Education
Schools play an important role in childhood obesity prevention efforts, because children spend so much of their day at school. Because of changes in both federal and local legislation, school meals now include more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy, and limit saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium. Nutrition education promotion can help support these efforts by increasing awareness and acceptance of the healthier options available at school. It can also help lay the groundwork for healthy habits children will use for life. Select here for recommended activities and projects.

Read a Book from the Healthy Schools and/or Health and Physical Education Assessment Booklists
Read to students and the school community from books in the Healthy Schools Booklist (grades K-5) and/or the Health and Physical Education Assessment Booklist (grades K-12). Reading books that focus on positive behaviors can motivate students to adopt these behaviors. By encouraging reading of the books outlined in these booklists, you will not only motivate students to adopt positive behaviors, but will enhance their reading skills, helping them succeed academically and in life. Select here for recommended activities and projects.

Go on an Environmental Field Trip
While outdoor field studies can happen throughout the year, we hope this month inspires you to plan something special that will connect your students to the world around them. Select here for recommended activities and projects.

Host a Family Engagement Event
Family and community involvement are key to enhancing the health and well-being of students. We hope this month inspires you to plan something special that all families will be able to enjoy. Select here for recommended activities and projects.

Start a Healthy Fundraising Campaign
Fundraisers that do not involve selling foods or beverages send positive, consistent messages to the school community and promote healthy living. Additionally, active fundraisers provide students, staff, and families with opportunities for fun while increasing physical activity before, during, or after the school day allowing students get the recommended 60 minutes per day of physical activity. Select here for recommended activities and projects.

Get Active
Physical activity is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. Regular physical activity builds strong bones and muscles, decreases the risk of obesity, and promotes positive mental health. It is recommended that children receive at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per day. Select here for recommended activities and projects.

Teach a Standards-Based Lesson around Health or the Environment
While instruction in these topics can happen throughout the year, we hope this month inspires you to plan something special that will take your lessons to the next level. Select here for recommended activities and projects.

Sign up for DC Recycle Right
Participate in the DC Recycle Right Competition! The DC Recycle Right Competition Edition is designed to reward schools for recycling right, not recycling more. Students will conduct simple surveys to demonstrate that their school is “recycling right” in classrooms. Select here for more information.

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