Activate Allen County: Healthy improvements at Spencerville schools

Activate Allen County and St. Rita’s Health Partners held their 2017/2018 Activated School Challenge Award ceremony in January. One of this year’s winners this is was Spencerville schools. Their project was coordinated by Susan Wagner, K-6 principal, and Sara Newland, food service supervisor.

The Activated School Challenge has provided Spencerville Elementary School an opportunity for a structured indoor recess environment. Upon hearing about the grant, school officials immediately went to work. Ms. Martinez, the recess monitor, surveyed the students and asked what type of indoor games they would prefer. It was important to provide an environment for indoor recess that got all the kids moving while also developing character skills that included sportsmanship and cooperation.

Ms. Martinez says that the grant has provided just that. “The students are learning how to cooperate with one another through healthy competitions that the games provide.” The games include cornhole, life-size Jenga, Connect Four, tic-tac-toe and ring toss.

The grant also allowed Spencerville Elementary School to purchase basketballs, a tumbling mat and a large speaker for dancing. Ms. Martinez stated, “Our indoor recess is now more fun and active, but in a much more structured way.”

The food service department was able to purchase equipment to cut and display fresh fruits and vegetables. Sara Newland, food service supervisor stated, “When fresh fruits and vegetables are made more attractive, students are more likely to choose them.”

Educational posters were also purchased and displayed in serving lines. The posters show students how much sugar is contained in some of the popular drinks and how much exercise it takes to work off fast food and junk food. Mrs. Newland stated, “I displayed the posters so the students could see them while they waited in the serving lines. The reactions to the amount of sugar in what they are drinking or how long they have to exercise to work off the food they choose has been a revelation. I hope this helps them make better decisions.”

Spencerville is setting an excellent example when it comes to providing students with a variety of physical activity opportunities inside, as well as promoting healthy eating that are sure to help students establish life-long healthy habits. Kudos to Spencerville schools for supporting active and healthy students.