The 2019 Fall Wellness Champion Gathering will probably be most remembered by attendees for the 10 inches of snow that fell in Ann Arbor on November 11. Despite the snow, 23 PHS wellness champions from across the state gathered at the Michigan League to network; hear the latest PHS updates; share best practices; and learn about hot topics in school health, such as vaping and Farm to School.
After a welcome by cardiologist and PHS Founder Kim Eagle, M.D., Lena Gray from the U-M’s MHealthy Tobacco Consultation Services provided an enlightening Vaping 101 presentation. She talked about what vapes look like, the prevalence of vaping among youth, the impact it has on teen health, and how to talk to students about the dangers of vaping. She also provided attendees with links to a number of online resources to share with students who want to quit vaping.
Next, Susan Lahti, the wellness champion at Boyne City Middle fall Wellness Champion Gathering.
School, shared the health education best practices taking place at
her school. The PHS lessons are taught in the fifth grade at this K – 8 school. Lahti, the fifth-grade math and science teacher, often gives students additional projects related to the lessons, such as creating a bulletin board showing the healthy goals set by their families, or having students create and film skits that incorporate the advertising tricks and techniques learned in the Assessing Advertising lesson.
Now in their fourth year of the PHS program, Boyne City holds several district-wide initiatives, including an Apple Crunch Day, both bike and walk to school days, staff vs student games, staff wellness events, and more. Grade-level specific wellness initiatives such as fall and spring hikes, a visit to a farmer’s market, an exercise day, and a field day are held for fifth graders. In addition, the fifth graders help tend the school garden and hoop house and use the vegetables for food tastings. Three- and four-year-olds in the district’s early learning program help harvest the produce during the summer. The school also started a Youth Advisory Committee that brings ideas to the Board of Education for approval. So far, at the committee’s request, the board provided water bottles for all the students and installed water bottle filling stations. They also approved modifications to the school lunch menu to substitute healthier choices.
The day concluded with a self-care presentation by Jill Castro from U-M’s Faculty and Staff Counseling and Consultation Office, followed by a Farm to School presentation by PHS Coordinator Jana Stewart and Neha Shah, a teacher in the Ann Arbor Public Schools.