Saturday, March 20, 2010

Wesley Chapel Elementary School Wins National Recognition

Wesley Chapel Elementary School (WCES) has received the Bronze National Recognition Award from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation for creating a healthier environment for students and staff. WCES has improved the nutrition in its school lunches, promoted physical activity before, during and after school, and focused on stress reduction and relaxation techniques for students and staff, resulting in a healthier, more energetic and more dynamic school population. Nearly one in three children and teens in the United States is obese or overweight. In response to the epidemic, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation – a joint partnership of the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation – established the Healthy Schools Program in 2006 to help schools develop and implement policies and practices to promote healthy eating and increase physical activity. The Healthy Schools Program is supported by funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), which has committed $28 million to the program. “We know that healthy students learn better,” said Ginny Ehrlich, Executive Director of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. “The Healthy Schools Program takes a comprehensive approach to helping schools create healthier environments by working with them to improve access to healthier foods; increase physical activity opportunities before, during and after school; enhance nutrition education; and establish school employee wellness programs. Through these systemic changes, schools are not only teaching their students the academic skills they need to succeed, but healthy habits for life.” Schools participating in the Healthy Schools Program are eligible to earn bronze, silver, gold or platinum awards based on their range of healthy eating and physical activity programs and policies. The rigorous program criteria – known as the Healthy Schools Program Best Practice Framework – were developed in consultation with a panel of experts, including representatives from the American Heart Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, RWJF and others. WCES has met these stringent standards, positively impacting healthy eating and physical activity behaviors among students and staff. “This program has helped us to analyze what we’re doing correctly here at the school and what we can do better. The wellness center that we’ve built has been a real morale booster and has brought the staff together,” commented Christopher Gorman, the physical education teacher who spearheaded the project. “Plus, it has supported us to deliver teacher-led P.E. Teachers bring their students here and they work through the stations, changing stations when the music changes. There’s cardio, a punching bag and other exercise equipment. The stations are different every month, so it makes it fun for the kids.” The Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program offers free support to more than 7,800 schools and provides more than 4.8 million students increased opportunities for physical activity and healthy eating. “We are grateful to Chris for leading this effort,” noted John Abernathy, principal of Wesley Chapel Elementary School. “The biggest thing we have been able to demonstrate is how to be a role model for students, because this is not only for students but for adults, too. We received a great response from the community, parents, staff and students. Our school has become immersed in nutrition, exercise and leading a healthy lifestyle,” he added. Any school in the United States can enroll in the Healthy Schools Program and receive free assistance and support in creating a healthier environment. Additionally, any individual who cares about helping a school in his or her community become a healthier place may join the Healthy Schools Network for immediate access to tips and tools to support a healthier school. Find out more at HealthierGeneration.org. For more information, contact: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (813) 794-2306

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Chasco Middle and Wesley Chapel Elementary Schools Win Bronze

Chasco Middle School and Wesley Chapel Elementary schools received the Bronze National Recognition Award from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation for establishing a healthier school environment for students. Chasco Middle and Wesley Chapel Elementary schools are only two of the many Pasco County schools participating in the Healthy Schools Program sponsored by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation was created in May 2005 when the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation joined forces to create a healthier generation and help reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity. Schools participating in the program are eligible to earn bronze, silver, gold, or platinum awards based on their range of healthy eating and physical activity programs and policies. Food and Nutrition Services supports the efforts of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, and sells only snacks and beverages that meet the Alliance for a Healthier Generation nutritional guidelines. Congratulations to Chasco Middle and Wesley Chapel Elementary schools for making their schools a healthier school environment and earning the Bronze National Recognition Award from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

2010 Pasco Academic Challenge Recap

On February 25, 2010, Curriculum and Instructional Services hosted the annual Pasco Academic Challenge held at Pasco Hernando Community College West Campus. All twelve of the District’s high schools were in attendance for the full-day event, whose questions were centered on the theme of famous Broadway musicals. Teams were randomly selected to compete against each other in three preliminary rounds with the four top-scoring teams meeting in the championship round. In the end, Land O’ Lakes High School garnered the honor of representing the District School Board of Pasco County at the statewide Commissioner’s Academic Challenge to be held in Orlando. J.W. Mitchell High School took the second place position with River Ridge High School placing third. Wesley Chapel High School earned an honorable mention. Congratulations to all who participated and best of luck to the Land O’ Lakes High School team of Victoria Dahl, Shaina Maldonado, Victoria Greiner, Brittney Warrick, Dawson Friedland, Christina Reinhardt, and their faculty sponsor and team coach Douglas O’Brien.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Career Academies Growing Rapidly

Pasco’s high school career academies are thriving! New academies this school year include the Academy of Energy at Anclote High School, the Academy of Engineering at River Ridge High School, the Building Technologies Academy and the Academy of Health at Pasco High School, and Wesley Chapel High School’s Academy of Automotive Service Technology. Enrollment at the academies is growing, with students at River Ridge registering for the Academy of Engineering in numbers significantly higher than expected. More than 80 students at the Academy of Health at Gulf, Pasco, Zephyrhills, Mitchell, and Ridgewood High Schools are ready to take the upcoming Certified Nursing Assistant Exam, which when passed, will position them for employment opportunities after graduation. Expansion plans for the next school year include adding a teacher at the Engineering and the Building Technologies Academies and refurbishing an additional classroom for Ridgewood’s Academy of Health. The District’s Career and Technical Education, Curriculum and Instructional Services, Transportation and Student Services departments will continue to collaborate so that Pasco high school students have high-quality educational choices through Career Academies.

Pasco’s Outstanding Volunteers for 2009-2010

While all of this year’s 23,000 registered volunteers in Pasco schools are outstanding, three were selected as Most Outstanding for 2009-2010: Youth: Tashyana Plantilla, a senior at River Ridge High School, volunteers at Moon Lake Elementary and River Ridge Middle Schools, is Key Club Treasurer and National Honor Society Vice-President, organizes annual charities, tutors students, and is a community volunteer. Adult: Mari Blank was PTA President for two years at Sand Pine Elementary School, mentored the PTA at Double Branch Elementary School, served on the Pasco Council PTA, started a Reading Buddy program, and serves on the District Vision Committee. Senior: Ronald Bechdolt volunteers at Mittye P. Locke Elementary School (MPLES) where his granddaughter attends. After dropping her off, Ron volunteers every day helping students and teachers. Ron is a valued part of the MPLES family. Congratulations and a sincere THANK YOU to Tashyana, Mari, and Ronald for their dedication to others!

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