Calling All PHS Wellness Champions! Register Now!


The PHS Wellness Champion Gathering will be held on Friday, November 4th from 9:00am to 3:00pm ET. Attendees can register to participate online via Zoom, or in-person in Ann Arbor, and choose to attend the entire day or individual sessions. Four compelling speakers will discuss wellness issues that face our current student body. Topics will include: (1) middle school vaping prevention, (2) adolescent body image and weight related communication, (3) adaptive and inclusive physical education, and (4) American Academy of Pediatrics policy recommendations for screen time.

PHS will be launching our new vaping module at this year’s event. This module will be free for all PHS schools. SCECHs will also be available at this free event. Please register to attend here. If you have any questions, please contact Melissa Boguslawski, PHS Program Manager, at
We look forward to seeing you there!

Macros, Micros, & Phytos!


In our previous newsletter, we highlighted the importance of hydration. How are your increased hydration habits going? Believe it or not, water is a nutrient, and the most important nutrient our bodies need to survive and thrive. But there are many other nutrients our bodies need as well. As the current pandemic has shown, our daily lifestyle choices can greatly impact our current and future state of health, which can directly impact our bodies’ ability to counteract disease, in addition to other public health efforts, such as vaccination, mask wearing, hand washing, and social distancing. In this newsletter, we’re going to highlight the importance of healthy eating with nutrient-dense foods that contain macronutrients, micronutrients, and phytochemicals.

Macro means “large” so our bodies need larger amounts of the macronutrients, which include protein, carbohydrates, and fats. There are healthy and non-healthy options within each of these categories, so we want to focus on consuming more healthy proteins (beans, nuts, soy, fish, eggs, chicken, turkey), healthy carbohydrates (whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fat-free milk), and healthy fats (the unsaturated kind found in nuts and seeds, olive and canola oil, fish, and avocados).

Micro means “small” so our bodies need smaller amounts of the micronutrients, which include vitamins and minerals. It is best to get your vitamins and minerals from healthy food choices instead of supplements whenever possible. Examples of vitamins include vitamin A, B, C, D, E and examples of minerals include zinc, iron, selenium, and potassium. Eating a variety of foods from each of the 5 food groups (fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy) can help you achieve the amounts you need.

Phytochemicals are healthy chemicals that are found only in plants. Plant foods not only offer great fiber and water for our bodies, but various phytochemicals that can supercharge our health. Examples are beta carotene in carrots and sweet potatoes, lycopene in tomatoes and watermelon, and isothiocyanates and indoles found in cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli and cauliflower).

This holiday season, put your best fork forward, and choose foods and snacks that maximize your nutrient intake. And don’t forget that glass of water too! Happy Holidays from PHS!

PHS Awarded Safe Routes to School Grant


Project Healthy Schools, in collaboration with Programs to Educate All Cyclists (PEAC), received a one-year grant from the Michigan Fitness Foundation to implement the Safe Routes to School program within 8 PHS schools located within Detroit and Ypsilanti. PEAC is a non-profit organization located in Ypsilanti, MI that advocates for transportation equity for Michiganders with disabilities. Their travel training programs teach people how to ride bikes and public transit safely and independently.
The purpose of the Safe Routes to School grant is to provide middle school students with increased bike literacy and bike education through targeted programming efforts after school, or during Physical Education class, so they know how to safely ride, maintain, and fix a bicycle. The grant will also provide opportunities for students to increase their physical activity during the day and have safe transportation options to and from school. Students also can earn a bike through various programming opportunities based on the school’s participation with the grant or borrow a bike through an established bike library. Please join us in congratulating the following schools with their participation in this exciting grant opportunity in partnership with our friends at PEAC:

  • Summit Academy North Middle School
  • Paul Robeson Malcom X Academy
  • Dixon Educational Learning Academy
  • Hope of Detroit Academy
  • University Prep Art & Design Middle School
  • University Preparatory Science and Math Middle School
  • Washtenaw International Middle Academy
  • Ypsilanti Community Middle School
Student Major Dorsey participates with the bike education program at University Preparatory Science and Math Middle School.

Apple Tasting Events Celebrate our New Schools


The 2021-2022 school year brings 6 new schools to the Building Healthy Communities: Engaging Middle Schools through Project Healthy Schools program, a partnership between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the University of Michigan. As a celebration, all new schools held an apple tasting event during the fall semester. The apples were graciously donated by the Michigan Apple Committee, a long-term supporter of the PHS program. Each school received 3 varieties of Michigan-grown apples, an apple cutter, and tasting ballots. Events were held during the school lunch period, where students and staff were invited to sample 3 apple varieties and vote on their favorite apple.

These events brought awareness to the schools of the BHC:PHS program, the work of the Michigan Apple Committee, and the rich diversity of Michigan-grown apples. They also provided both students and staff the opportunity to learn which type of apple they liked best. Schools can use the voting results to provide their favorite apple more often within their lunchroom and school menus. Please join us in welcoming the following schools to the BHC:PHS program this school year:

Stevenson Middle School – Westland, MI
Grand Rapids University Preparatory Academy – Grand Rapids, MI
Pathfinder Middle School – Pickney, MI
Boyd W. Arthurs Middle School – Trenton, MI
Woodley Leadership Academy – Saginaw, MI
Great Lakes Learning Academy – East Lansing, MI

Students Taniya Radden and Tanis Keaton participate with the Apple Tasting Event at Grand Rapids University Preparatory Academy.

Is There too Much Sugar in Your Family’s Beverages?


Have you read a good beverage label lately? Labels can tell us exactly what is in a product, such as added sugar. Many of us don’t realize how much sugar there is in some of the beverages we drink. Sport’s drinks, for example, have become a staple after many types of athletic contests. But are they really better than water? If you looked at most sport drink labels, you would see that they typically have 8 ½ teaspoons of sugar (per 20 ounces)! And soda generally has over 16 teaspoons of sugar in every 20 oz. bottle. Is this really what we would like our families to drink?

While there may be some instances where different beverages are acceptable, you should generally encourage your family to drink more healthy beverages like water, fat free milk, or 100% juice. You can even “spice up” a glass of water by crushing cool summer fruits in it (think: infused lemon water as an example).

Remember that your children look to you to lead by example. So, reach for a healthy beverage the next time you would like something to drink, and your healthy modeling will have your family following suit! “Drink more water” –it’s what’s good for you.

Welcome Grace James to the PHS Team!


The PHS team is thrilled to introduce our newest team member and Wellness Specialist, Grace James. Grace is joining PHS with a master’s degree in health service administration, a bachelor’s degree in public health education and she is also a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). Her previous work includes working in COVID-19 response for public and private K-12 schools and she has worked with school-aged populations for eight years. She’s a great fit with the PHS team with interests in cooking, gardening, and walking her dog Lucky – she even worked on her bucket list and went skydiving this past summer! Grace will be working with our new PHS middle schools for the 2021-2022 school year as well as supporting the ongoing health and wellness efforts of Project Healthy Schools. Welcome to the PHS community, Grace!

PHS Unveils New Wellness Grant Program!

PHS schools who have completed at least two years in the program (and who are not supported by other PHS grants) are specially invited to apply for a PHS wellness grant in the school year 2021-22. This exciting opportunity provides schools with up to $800 in funds twice per year to support school-wide wellness initiatives that can positively impact the health and wellness of students and staff and your school environment.

The fall application is open from August 1st thru September 30th and awards will be announced by October 15th. The winter application will be open from December 1st thru January 31st and awards will be announced by February 15th. Invited schools can apply to both of these opportunities with the potential of receiving up to $1,600 total for the 2021-2022 school year. Once awarded, schools will need to report the success of their wellness grant by visiting the PHS Portal and completing the Step 4 and Step 5 reporting requirements where they describe their wellness initiative(s) and provide two success stories with two supporting photographs of the wellness grant in action.

The PHS team looks forward to reviewing your applications and supporting your school’s health and wellness needs with this new funding opportunity!

Project Healthy Schools New Manager, Melissa Boguslawski


I am thrilled for the opportunity to introduce myself as the new Program Manager of Project Healthy Schools. What a wonderful summer it has been already! I come to PHS with over ten years of school-based health experience and have traveled around the country working alongside schools in Michigan, Mississippi, Indiana, and Florida. This proud Michigander is excited to finally be back on Michigan soil and is ready to serve our students across our great state! My education background includes a PhD in Health Behavior and a minor in Education Law and Leadership, a Master of Public Health degree, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Exercise & Health Science. I’m excited to have the opportunity to bring my work and education experience to PHS to help support the ongoing and future efforts of Project Healthy Schools.

The team at PHS has been working hard to prepare for the upcoming school year, and we are excited to be back with our returning PHS schools as well as the newest schools who will be joining us for the first time. Our wellness coordinators have done outstanding work in terms of taking on new initiatives with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and have made updates to our PHS curriculum. We’re excited for you all to see the updates! The PHS team has been a tremendous support during my transition to my new role, and it is no wonder why you all back this outstanding program! I am looking forward to meeting you all in the future, whether virtually, via e-mail, or, hopefully, in person. Thank you for your continuing support of Project Healthy Schools!

Schools Eligible for Mini-Grant Funds

Examples of the FitDeck Exercise playing cards in which students com-plete different physical activities based on the cards’ suggestions. 

Beginning in the Fall of 2020, Project Healthy Schools ran a pilot program with several schools in which the schools, after completing their first three milestones (forming a Wellness Committee, conducting School Wellness Assessments, etc.) were able to apply for a wellness-based mini-grant of up to $1000 dollars!
The program went very well, with several schools participating. Some of the grants applied for and received were those for an outdoor garden, scooters and 9 Square (see the Bryant Middle School article), Kitchen Aid stand mixers, FitDeck Exercise playing cards (see below) and more.

More schools than ever will be eligible for these wellness mini-grants beginning August 1, 2021. Contact for more information! 

Shining Star Bryant Middle School


Bryant Middle School, in Dearborn, Michigan, is one of the Project Healthy School’s Shining Stars this year. The PHS program at the school, led by P.E. teacher Eric Quine, uses the “9 Square game” for some of their PE classes.

“ The kids come into the gym, see the setup and get very excited”, Quine says. “ The game is catching fire at Bryant Middle School. This equipment has allowed us to introduce new games to the kids, and we are very thankful!”

In addition to 9 Square, the school has purchased some scooters for use in their PE classes. This purchase has allowed them to play games such as scooter soccer, scooter basketball, and they also put on some flat-out competitive scoot-er races!

Nice job Eric and Bryant Middle School! Keep up the good work!
NOTE: Bryant was able to purchase these items with a mini-grant from Project Healthy Schools.