Four local schools – Pittsburgh Brookline, Langley, Phillips, and Manchester – have been named among America’s Healthiest Schools by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, with the prestigious National Healthy Schools Bronze Award for their efforts to create healthier school environments for students and staff.
Through a school-health partnership with UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, all schools participate in the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program – one of the nation’s largest school-based obesity prevention initiatives – and have been successful in making changes to better support the health and well-being of all students in all schools.
The four award-winning schools earned their distinction by successfully meeting a rigorous set of criteria for serving healthier meals and snacks, getting students more physically active throughout the school day, implementing district wellness policies, and empowering school staff to become healthy role models.
“Children spend the majority of their day at school. What happens there can have a significant impact on their health and well being”, said Anne Marie Kuchera, director, Community Health, UPMC Children’s. “Schools that implement health-promoting policies and practices are helping their students to develop habits they will carry on outside of the school day and throughout their lives.”
In addition to working with UPMC Children’s, schools collaborate with other local partners such as Grow Pittsburgh to establish school gardens, Pittsburgh Three Rivers Marathon (P3R) and Girls on the Run to increase physical activity, and the University of Pittsburgh’s Schools on the Move to implement classroom physical activity breaks for students. Partnerships with Adagio Health Power Up and Common Threads expand beyond students to also improve nutrition education and cooking skills among school staff and families.
“Congratulations to each of our schools named among America’s Healthiest Schools,” said Superintendent Anthony Hamlet Ed.D. “Our efforts to create positive and supportive school cultures aim to meet the holistic needs of our students – including their general health and well being. We are grateful for our partnership with UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh to meet this goal.”
The Healthy Schools Program is a project of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Any school can sign up to receive Healthy Schools Program resources and tools, at no cost. UPMC Children’s provides training and technical assistance to local schools that are interested in participating in the program.