Monday, October 16, 2017

Wilchester Elementary Earns Active Schools Award

As Wilchester students and parents walked and rolled to school, students and staff dressed up displayed handmade posters for an impromptu pep rally.

Wilchester Elementary School has recently received the Let’s Move Active Schools National Award for increasing physical education and activity in a K-12 school.

Only 12 Houston-area schools won the national recognition from Active Schools, a collaborative of 42 separate health, education and private sector groups. Nationwide, about 450 schools won the award.

To earn its award, Wilchester had to meet significant benchmarks in five areas: physical education; physical activity before and after school; physical activity during school; staff involvement; and family and community engagement. Award recipients receive a large display banner, a certificate and a congratulatory letter.

“The administrators, teachers, staff and parents in these schools understand that physical education and physical activity are a must-have for students to reach their full potential in school and life,” Active Schools Executive Director Charlene Burgeson said in a press release. “They use creativity and determination to overcome challenges and provide students with the movement opportunities they need and deserve.”

Research studies show that youth who are active do better, she also said. Physical activity not only helps kids stay healthy and strong, but it can also contribute to higher academic test scores, improved attendance, better class behavior, greater leadership skills and a lifetime of other healthy habits.

“Wilchester Elementary is honored to be recognized with this award,” said Principal Rian Evans. “I am so proud of the work of our staff and students in creating and active and healthy learning environment inside and outside of school.”

And work they did! Health Fitness Specialist Paula Baker said that the entire school community should be celebrated for their efforts to qualify for and then receive the Let’s Move national award. Special efforts included:
  • Creation of the first Kids School Health Advisory Committee (KSHAC) with about 20 Wilchester students who helped to promote an active, healthy lifestyle
  • KSHAC projects included WildCash Bucks to reward students who ate fruits and vegetables (GO Foods) at lunch, with Friday student drawing for prizes that reflect healthy lifestyles, as well as participation in the promotion of Walk and Roll  to School on the first Friday of each month
  • Kids Teaching Kids, a Healthy Snack initiative being initiated this school year
  • Participation in America Recycles Day, a plastic bag recycling project, where students teamed up with the Wilchester PTA Recycling Committee to find a creative recycling use for plastic bags, such as juggling
  • Advanced Movers field trips to Stratford High School
  • With PTA, students and staff participate in Walk and Roll on the first Friday of each month; healthy lifestyle prizes were also awarded to participants
  • Morning “dance parties” were held in the gym before school on some days
  • Brain Breaks using online tools were promoted and used by many teachers
  • The Wilchester PTA Garden Committee helped students learn about garden topics, including raising and eating healthy organic foods
“It took organization and the compiling of documentation to be recognized,” said Health Fitness Specialist Baker.  “The motivation to live healthy, increase physical movement throughout the school day, and honor a healthy lifestyle, stemmed from many sources and people. The whole Wilchester community is commended for coming together as a team to promote a positive lifestyle in their youth!”

To learn more about Active Schools and this award, please visit


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