Healthy Schools program continuing in Monett

Saturday, September 1, 2018
Students at Monett Elementary School are pictured working in a campus garden and harvesting produce, part of the Healthy Schools/Healthy Community initiative. Contributed photo

Wellness director continuing programs started under grant

Although the Monett school district's participation in programs funded for five years by the Missouri Foundation for Health's Healthy School/Healthy Communities grant has concluded, physical activities efforts promoting healthy lifestyles have continued.

Alex Severs, who has been kept on as the district's wellness coordinator, a position created under the grant, announced new efforts started with the beginning of school.

"Walk to School events will continue," Severs said. "Dates for the 2018-2019 school year will be September 17th - 21st, October 1-5 and 22-26, April 8-12 and 23-26, and May 6-10. Routes will be at Broadway and Ninth Street for downtown, Cox Monett and North Park.

"Our before-school program the Morning Mile at Monett Elementary will continue, the program resumed on Aug. 20. All the student learning gardens will also continue. Students are already harvesting summer produce."

The school district shaped its wellness policy to promote better health among its employees. Severs reported the campus champions program, naming an individual to lead by example and coordinate support activities, would continue and expand this year into the high school.

"The champion assists the district wellness coordinator in promoting a healthy school environment and aids in the efforts to strengthen and support wellness activities and policies within assigned school building," Severs said. "The champion engages staff, students, parents and other partners for school wellness committee meetings and related activities."

Also continuing are the employee wellness initiatives. The annual Employee Health Pair, which partnered with a professional development day, will be held on Nov. 5 at the high school.

"Highlights of the healthy changes made in Monett include a partnership with the City of Monett that helped improve pedestrian transportation efforts, and established safe routes to school for students via Walking School Bus events," Severs said. "In addition, efforts have included creating or revitalizing before and after school programs such as the Morning Mile, Cubs on the Move, Cubs on the Run, Training Team, Power Hour and more. There have also been Farm to School efforts in the form of taste tests and school gardens that allow for integration of classroom curriculum. Another key component to a healthy school is employee wellness so the Monett school district also created and implemented an employee wellness program that encourages staff to act as healthy role models.

"For Monett, a district wellness policy represents the sustainable piece to the wellness puzzle. The policy was drafted for the 2016-2017 school year, and adopted June 29, 2017."