Award program helps 14,000 students participate in health and wellness activities.
The Sussex County Healthy School Awards InitiativeExternal was piloted in 2015 to recognize Sussex County school districts that are promoting health and wellness for their students, faculty, staff, and communities. The initiative is a collaboration of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Obesity Program and the Sussex County Health Coalition.
The Healthy School Awards Initiative provides mini-grants to districts with proven track records on wellness programs. These districts have demonstrated that they have plans to put these funds to constructive use. For instance, the Woodbridge district offers noncompetitive physical activity during each school day. The district’s goal of 150 minutes of physical activity per week (following the SHAPEExternal recommendations) is written into its District Wellness Policy. Students can get physical activity in physical education classes, other classes (Take 10, Adventure to Fitness, Nemours Energizers program), recess at the elementary level, and after-school programs and clubs.
About 14,000 students have benefitted from the health and wellness activities funded by the Healthy School Awards initiative. To date, five school districts have received awards totaling $13,000. One of these school districts, Woodbridge, has written the National Standards for Physical Education (NAPSE) recommendations for physical activity into its district wellness policy, started a Safe Routes to School program, and routinely opens its facilities to staff and community after hours for community fitness classes. Weight rooms can be used by employees.