Creating A Stronger School Wellness Policy at Northmont Elementary with Fire Up Your Feet
One of the fun things about starting down the path to school wellness is that each step leads you to new discoveries and ideas for creating a healthy, active school. For Iris Hix, a parent at Northmont Elementary School in La Mesa, CA (outside of San Diego), it all started when she learned about her school receiving a Safe Routes to School grant about a year ago. Soon after, Iris and her family got involved with a weekly walk to school each Friday, with students and families meeting at a nearby park and picking up other walkers along the route.
This spring, Northmont participated in Fire Up Your Feet for the first time. When Iris visited the website and began browsing the resources, she learned about school wellness policies and realized she wasn’t even sure if Northmont had a policy of its own. As a parent, Iris knew she was in a good position to take action, so she read up on all the resources and started doing more research of her own. She found that the school did have a wellness policy, but it was “hidden beneath paperwork” and in need of some updating.
Iris’s research informed her about about the Healthy Kids Act and its implications on the federal and local levels, and the role that parents and the community play in creating a strong wellness policy. She learned about the Farm to School program and made connections with the child nutrition director in Northmont’s school district. Now, she is working with a team of people to revise the policy and strengthen the wording.
“We have made other connections with local groups that work in the wellness policy field, and our PTA is working together to invigorate our school wellness policy,” said Iris.
Northmont won a $1,000 challenge award thanks to strong participation in the spring Fire Up Your Feet challenge. And the rewards go beyond the money. Thanks to the involvement of parents like Iris, the PTA and the supportive principal and staff, students at Northmont will benefit for years to come from having a strong, community-centered school wellness policy that promotes physical activity and healthy eating.
“We walk and bike to school, Run for Fun, dance and play hard to stay happy and healthy. Now we are starting to coordinate this wellness effort, we will work to make healthy choices into habits and make changes in our school community that everyone at Northmont Elementary will be FIRED UP about!!!” said Iris.