A total of 355 schools nationwide were selected based on a rigorous set of criteria—from availability of nutritious foods to access to high quality physical education opportunities. In South Carolina, 32 schools received recognition this year. In Spartanburg, the following schools are being recognized through this national award: Boiling Springs Intermediate School and Oakland Elementary School in District 2, Clifdale Elementary School in District 3, Arcadia Elementary School, Lone Oak Elementary School, R.P. Dawkins Middle School, and Woodland Heights Elementary School in District 6, and Jesse Boyd Elementary School in District 7. Cowpens Elementary School in District 3 achieved the two-year distinction in 2018.
Seven of these schools are participating in the Mary Black Foundation’s Healthy Schools Initiative (SHSI), which began in 2016 and provides funding and assistance to schools to develop environments, policies, and practices that improve healthy eating and active living.
Highlights from the Spartanburg Healthy Schools Initiative
Below are a few highlights from the last three years of the Initiative:
Boiling Springs Intermediate School
Leveraged SHSI funds to match a KaBOOM grant to build a large accessible playground on their campus. This play area is being used for PE classes, recess, and before- and after-school play. It is also accessible to the community during non-school hours. Two teachers were trained in active classroom techniques and now serve as trainers for their own school and district, as well as across the region.
Oakland Elementary School
Developed an extensive outdoor area that includes a paved walking loop, a wooded nature/STEM trail, a sensory garden for younger students, and an outdoor classroom. This amenity is accessible to the community during non-school hours. Oakland also has integrated wellness messaging into the school community through the daily news program, family events, staff initiatives, and active recess programming.
Clifdale Elementary School
Promoted community wellness and school pride through their Color Run, a highly popular event that brought the entire community together. Clifdale also upgraded their basketball courts and outdoor track area. Additional equipment was purchased for use during PE classes and before- and after-school play opportunities, which are available to all children.
Arcadia Elementary School
Built a paved walking path extending almost a half mile through the school grounds, which is being used for PE classes, recess, outdoor learning opportunities, and staff wellness. Wellness Wednesdays give teachers a chance to focus on extra nutrition, physical activity, and social and emotional learning lessons. Arcadia also engages families in wellness by offering lunch and learns, breakfast and learns, and an annual Family Fitness Night.
Lone Oak Elementary School
Using SHSI funds to connect literacy and wellness by offering numerous family events throughout the year. Books and Breakfast, Literacy Luau, and Family Literacy Night are just a few that promote healthy eating as well as reading. Lone Oak is one of several schools that uses the GoNoodle brain break program to encourage better learning through physical activity in the classroom.
R.P. Dawkins Middle School
Built a quarter mile paved walking track that circles playing fields and a school garden area. The track area continues to be developed and serves as an outdoor amenity to the community during non-school hours. The wellness committee also created a comprehensive fitness room that is available to all students and staff. Dawkins is one of several schools that held Rethink Your Drink campaigns to promote the healthy habit of drinking water throughout the day.
Woodland Heights Elementary School
Holds healthy cooking demonstrations and classes for families, staff, and students, as well as healthy food taste tests in the cafeteria. Indoor and outdoor school gardens provide a fun way to teach about the importance of eating fresh produce. Woodland Heights focuses on modeling healthy behaviors for kids by supporting wellness through staff wellness challenges and family fun and fitness events.