The Healthy Schools Summit brings together superintendents and their leadership teams from various school districts across San Antonio, inviting them to share best practices and discuss some of the successes, goals and challenges facing San Antonio schools in the areas of health, fitness, nutrition and social media. These summits lay the foundation for a series of other school opportunities to address health and wellness in San Antonio schools.
2014 Healthy Schools Summit
SPARK Parks, Breakfast in the Classroom, and community gardens were some of the ideas presented to educators during the Healthy Schools Summit hosted by the Mayor’s Fitness Council. While most people started their New Year making resolutions to eat right and exercise more, over 150 of these school and community leaders committed to take these and other messages of healthy living back to thousands of students in San Antonio’s schools.
Madison High School’s Agriscience Magnet Program (AMP) campus was the setting for a day full of information and exhibits, including tours of the campus by Madison FFA students. A LEED certified facility, Madison’s AMP campus provides high school students with hands-on instruction in agricultural, animal, plant, and environmental sciences. Last year, the FFA chapter brought home a National Championship in Veterinary Science from the FFA National Convention.
District 4 Councilman Rey Saldana kicked off the conference with a story about his own fitness journey to City Hall, jogging from the district to downtown to file. “Several months ago, for the first time, San Antonio dipped below the state average obesity rate, from 35% to 28%,” said Saldana, talking about the healthy living programs of the Council. “We really do rely on our partners and our school districts for getting that message across.”
Mary Ulmann Japhet, San Antonio Sports executive and immediate past chair of the Council, explained how the Healthy Schools initiative fits into the overall goals of the Council. “The very first steps are with you guys, working with our kids in our schools,” she said, referring to the SA 2020 vision of a healthier city. “Together we can make this one of the healthiest cities in the nation by 2020.”
Shifting focus to food security, keynote speaker Jeremy Everett of the Texas Hunger Initiative provided some spiritual insights about the problem of hunger throughout Texas and the rest of the country. Everett talked about some of the breakfast programs such as Breakfast in the Classroom and Grab and Go.
Studies have shown that while students perform better in school with a healthy breakfast, some may not start their day with this important meal. Everertt said that through implementation of the programs, they have seen districts with 30-35% participation rates increase to 90-95%.Focusing on family and community school based healthy initiatives, three community leaders presented overviews of programs geared towards education, fitness, and healthy eating.
Dr. Bryan Bayles, curator at the Witte Museum, gave a preview of the latest exhibit, currently under construction. The H-E-B Body Adventure will give kids an opportunity to learn more about fitness and health through a series of interactive activities, tracked through a personalized POWERPass.
SPARK Parks have become one of San Antonio’s newest partnership ventures, bringing combined resources to help build new parks and playgrounds at schools in San Antonio. George Block, chair of San Antonio Sports, explained the value these new parks bring to communities across the city.
Holly Stojanik of Dairy MAX offered some different approaches to make sure as many students as possible have access to healthy snacks through a partnership with the NFL called Fuel Up To Play 60.
Shifting to collaborative approaches to wellness, a panel of district wellness leaders from the San Antonio ISD, Northside ISD, and Harlandale ISD talked about ways they have implemented the PE and Wellness components of Texas House Bill 5.
Laura Esparza of the Active Living Council explained the Active Living Plan being promoted by the Council and how it could apply to districts and students. Michelle Smith of the Austin ISD discussed ways their district is working to increase parental engagement in the programs.
Turning to the impact students can have on their community, two student-led initiatives were presented. Estrella Hernandez, a returning Student Ambassador, explained about her project, We Walk, a mobile application to help get kids moving in San Antonio. Since first introducing this application to the Council, Hernandez has added new features to provide information about nutrition.
Taking a cue from an earlier presentation on food security, students and their teachers from Harris Middle School told how they turned a barren patch of turf beside the school into a thriving community garden.
Built and managed entirely by students, the garden has not only provided income to expand but also sparked interest with some students in horticulture. Since the school is a feeder to Madison High School, the garden serves as a good preparation for those targeting the AMP at Madison.
Probably the best outcome of the Summit was the opportunity for educators and organizations to connect with each other about how they were promoting active and healthy living with their students. Through this forum for sharing ideas, schools could learn best practices for fitness and nutrition.
Keynote Speaker Jeremy Everett
Jeremy Everett is the Director of Baylor University’s Texas Hunger Initiative, which is a capacity building, collaborative project dedicated to developing and implementing strategies to end hunger and reduce poverty through policy, education, research, and community organizing. Jeremy has worked for international and community development organizations as a teacher, religious leader, community organizer, and organic farmer. Jeremy earned a bachelor’s degree from Samford University, a Master of Divinity from Baylor University, and is completing his PhD. in Social Work from Baylor University. Jeremy is also a Fellow of the University of Texas LBJ School’s Strauss Center for International Security and Law.
2014 Summit Participants
- Adventure to Fitness
- Action for Healthier Kids
- American Heart Association
- San Antonio Sports
- American Lung Association
- Dairy Max--Fuel Up To Play 60
- Junior League of San Antonio
- UHS School-Based Health
- Methodist Health Care Diabetes Prevention Program
- SA Food Bank Healthy Cooking/Gardening Curriculum (Download Activity Kit)
- Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service-Expanded Food & Nutrition Education Program
2013 Healthy Schools Summit
Dr. Margo Wootan
Mayor’s Fitness Council Keynote Speaker. Dr. Margo Wootan presented on how Healthy Schools Support Learning. Dr. Wootan is the Director of Nutrition Policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), one of the country’s leading health advocacy organizations that specializes in food, nutrition, and obesity prevention. Dr. Wootan received her B.S. in nutrition from Cornell University and her doctorate in nutrition from Harvard University’s School of Public Health. Wootan co-founded and coordinates the activities of the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity (NANA) and the Food Marketing Workgroup. She has coordinated and led efforts to require calorie labeling at fast food and other chain restaurants, require trans fat labeling on packaged foods, improve school foods, reduce junk food marketing aimed at children, and expand nutrition and physical activity programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Wootan has received numerous awards and is quoted regularly in the nation’s major media. To review her presentation and learn how to incorporate national best practices, click HERE.
Jeffrey S. Davenport – Principal of Nora Forester Elementary (NISD)
A Principal’s Success with Fostering a Healthy Campus. Click HERE
Dr. Mary Longloy - Principal of Redland Oaks Elementary (NEISD)
A Principal’s Success with Healthy Fundraising, Engaging Parents, Students, and Communities. Click HERE
Susan Galindo – Board of Trustees, President (NESID)
NESID Right Bits, Implementation of Healthy Concessions for entire NEISD school district. Click HERE.
2013 Summit Participants
- San Antonio Parks and Recreations
- San Antonio Food Bank
- San Antonio Sports
- San Antonio Walks!
- Dairy Max
- The Health Collaborative
- ¡ Por Vida!
- Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP)
- Texas AgriLife Extension Service
- Bike Texas
- Appdiction Studios – Stop Bullies App
- Action for Healthy Kids
- Any Baby Can
- American Lung Association