CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Malcolm Price Laboratory School-Iowa's Research and Development School (MPLS) at the University of Northern Iowa has received a bronze Healthy Schools Program National Recognition Award from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. The alliance's Healthy Schools Program supports more than 10,000 schools across the U.S. in their efforts to create environments where physical activity and healthy eating are accessible and encouraged.
MPLS has implemented several healthy changes at the school since 2009, including a revamp of its meal service, new physical activity programs and the creation of a wellness committee composed of teachers, nurses, administrators, parents and students. The school's Grassroots CafÃ© has a record number of students and faculty eating school lunches made from foods that are both healthy and locally grown.
Shelley McCumber, physical education instructor at MPLS, says that joining the Healthy Schools Program has encouraged MPLS to take a look at its overall school wellness, not just one or two specific programs. "We are teaching and modeling for students the importance of a balanced and healthy lifestyle," said McCumber. "We want our students, parents and community members to recognize the value of educating the whole child."
McCumber says that one of the most extensive implementations was the School Employee Wellness Program. Faculty received weekly emails providing information on wellness, including nutrition and healthy recipes, mental/emotional health topics, and physical activity. Additionally, staff members tracked their total steps taken each week and displayed the total on the "Walk Across America" school bulletin board. "We realized that teaching our students about wellness is not enough," said McCumber. "We need to model these healthy active lifestyles."
Founded in 2005 by the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation works to positively affect the places that can make a difference in a child's health: homes, schools, doctors' offices and communities. The goal of the alliance is to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity by 2015 and to empower kids nationwide to make healthy lifestyle choices.
For more information, contact Shelley McCumber at 319-273-7872.