By Mitch Craib – St. Albans City School Stewardship Coordinator
ST. ALBANS CITY – St. Albans City School and RiseVT, a statewide health promotion organization, both have the same goal; the excellent health and wellbeing for students. With this mission in mind SACS has partnered with RiseVT since the Spring of 2015.
What does partnering with RiseVT mean? It means that many classrooms and learning communities try to follow health promoting suggestions offered by RiseVT. RiseVT outreach staff member,Jessica Frost, supplies teachers with checklists, handouts and demonstrations of healthy actions that can be completed in the classroom on a regular basis. These include things like taking daily exercise-related brain breaks, promoting healthy drinks like water over a variety of sugary drinks, and healthy snacks that involve unprocessed fruits, vegetables and whole grain products. Whenever possible, she provides examples of how to combine movement and academics. Equally important, Jessica offers informative and non-judgemental instruction on consumption of low sugar foods, and forms of fun and effective exercise. All of the options promoted by RiseVT and Jessica are within the capacity of both students and teachers. This year more than half of the classrooms are finding ways to incorporate RiseVT instruction into their curriculum.
What are the incentives for students and teachers to participate? The most important motivation for engagement is the fact that students feel better and do better academically in school when they get regular exercise and access to healthy food. Another reason for participation is that there are one to three instructional visits by Jessica Frost to their classrooms over the school year. Staff and students have noticed that Jessica has a fun and easy way of relating to kindergarten through eighth-grade students while engaging them in informative movement and learning experiences. Finally, there is the bonus of small volumes of RiseVT swag. Those classroom groups who complete anywhere from 6-12 of 15 healthy options can win classroom-owned recess kickballs, buff neck warmers, classroom wellness gift cards, T-shirts and community-wide recognition. Bronze level swag and recognition comes with the completion of six options. Silver level requires completion of nine options, and Gold level depends on completing 12 options.