Staff training and professional development for school wellness potentially reaches more than 268,000 students in 50% of the state’s school districts.
To help strengthen school wellness policies in the state, the Mississippi State Department of Health’s Office of Preventive Health and the Mississippi Department of Education’s Office of Healthy Schools (OHS) staff partnered to provide professional development (PD) courses for schools on creating of school health initiatives.
“Improving School Health” was a series of six, one day, regional PD events across the state. Topics covered included: wellness policies, health councils, the Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP), the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model (WSCC), school nutrition, and asthma.
The trainings impacted over 300 staff and administrators representing roughly 50% of Mississippi school districts and 268,700 students. Additionally, these events were certified to allow attendees to earn continuing education credits for their participation. As a result of the training, staff and administrators made improvements to school health environments, including adding walking trails to school campuses, teaching health and wellness lessons during physical education classes, implementing the Presidential Youth Fitness Program, and adding an additional 15 minutes of physical activity at the beginning of each school day.
In partnership with funding from the Bower Foundation, the Move to Learn initiativeExternal in Mississippi integrates five-minute movement breaks into the classroom. To date, OHS staff have been to 104 schools and reached over 25,000 students in promotion of Move to Learn.