Can a lifelong commitment to health begin in elementary school?
Braham Elementary School is one of 10 elementary schools in Minnesota and western Wisconsin communities that have the opportunity to answer that question as they participate in a novel partnership with Allina Health.
Braham Elementary School has been selected as a School Health Connection site for the 2012–13 school year, which includes a $10,000 grant to promote healthy activities.
“Working together as a team with Allina Health to improve the well-being of our students at Braham Elementary is an exciting adventure, one that is guaranteed a positive level of success,” said Judy Adams, Braham Elementary School assistant principal.
School Health Connection will provide all 10 schools with direct access to Allina Health caregivers, including a consulting physician from a nearby Allina Health clinic who will help school staff respond to health issues affecting their school.
The program will also provide online learning tools, teacher training and a health fair for the entire school community that will be based at each school. This event will also include health screenings for teachers and parents as a means to model healthy behavior for children.
“Building a culture of good health is an important part of our mission, and getting our young people engaged early is crucial to that endeavor,” said Kenneth H. Paulus, president and CEO of Allina Health. “The partnership of neighborhood caregivers with neighborhood schools is long overdue. We have some serious work to do to turn back the growing tide of obesity in our communities, and time is of the essence.”
The other selected schools are:
• Lafayette Charter School, Lafayette, Minn.
• Lakes International Language Academy, Forest Lake, Minn.
• Lincoln Center Elementary School, South St. Paul, Minn.
• Loring Community School, Minneapolis
• Park Brook Elementary School, Brooklyn Park, Minn.
• Parkside Elementary School, Buffalo, Minn.
• St. Bridget Parish School, River Falls, Wis.
• Shakopee Area Catholic School, Shakopee, Minn.
• Wilson Elementary School, Owatonna, Minn.
“Young people who engage in healthy activities get better grades and feel better about themselves,” said Michael Marshall, MD, president of Allina Clinics. “Schools can play a critical role in helping establish those healthy behaviors that lead to academic—and lifelong—success. The schools we selected are committed to using the resources we provide to not only enhance the health and fitness of their students, but also to engage the families of their students—making this a true community health improvement effort.”
The 10 selected elementary schools were chosen through a competitive application process. More than 80 schools submitted applications.