Hall County Schools are focusing on the health of their students, and the nation is taking notice.
Fifteen of the 36 schools in the county were recognized in Washington, D.C., last week by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.
“We’re real proud,” said Tom Adam, wellness champion for Spout Springs School of Enrichment, who went to D.C. to accept the award Oct. 3. “We’re proud of all our schools.”
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program is an initiative to create and sustain healthy school environments, according to its website. The program provides tools and an action plan to integrate healthy habits into the school day.
The alliance recognized 357 schools from across the U.S. at the nation’s capital, with 40 of those schools coming from Georgia and of those 40, 15 are from Hall County.
Awards were given at the bronze, silver and gold levels. Spout Springs was the only Georgia Gold Award winner.
In Hall, healthy habits include smart snacks, top-notch health programs and consistent recesses, according to Adam.
Each school has a wellness action plan and a “wellness champion,” like Adam. Many teachers have their students take “brain breaks” to get up, stretch and be active for a few minutes.
It was the second year Spout Springs was named a Gold Award winner, and it ranked in the top 10 healthiest schools in the nation.
“We have a great wellness council that are involved in this,” Adam said. “Our staff has really bought into it too. We did it for the kids, because we’re worried about childhood obesity and the fact that this generation, even with our advancements in medicine, may not live as long as the generation before. That’s kind of scary.
“We did it for that, but we’ve gotten a lot of other things from it.”
Adam said when a school adopts wellness initiatives, students’ test scores and behaviors improve.
Spout Springs has a number of initiatives, including a community wellness night each January and a “Seminole Sprint” fundraising run each October. This year’s race took place Friday and drew crowds of parents, families and supporters.
Adam said while it’s nice to receive national recognition, the support and response received locally is the most encouraging.
“We have gone through nothing short of a culture change in our community,” he said. “Everybody supports what we are doing. The kids love it, the parents support it, as do the staff, the board and our superintendent Mr. (Will) Schofield.
“The thing is, everybody is on the same side on this issue. It is a great thing.”
Hall County Schools recognized by Alliance for a Healthier Generation
- Spout Springs School of Enrichment
- Flowery Branch Elementary
- McEver Arts Academy
- White Sulphur Elementary
- Chestnut Mountain Creative School of Inquiry
- Chicopee Woods Elementary
- Friendship Elementary
- Oakwood Elementary
- Riverbend Elementary
- Sardis Enrichment School
- Sugar Hill Elementary
- Tadmore Elementary
- Wauka Mountain Multiple Intelligences Academy
- East Hall High School
- North Hall High School