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Kaiser Grant Alliance for a Healthier Generation Healthy Schools Award

MADERA UNIFIED SCHOOL District’s (MUSD) 23 comprehensive schools are among 518 schools nationwide to earn a spot on the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s 2020 list of America’s Healthiest Schools. MUSD is the only district in California to have all of its comprehensive schools recognized with the bronze award for the commitment to quality health education, physical education, nutrition services, health services, employee wellness, community engagement, and policy creation.

“I could not be more excited for Madera Unified and all of our partners who helped collaborate in order to achieve this distinguished accomplishment,” said Marty Bitter, MUSD Director of Athletics. “It has always been our goal to create an environment that is safe, active, and healthy for our students, staff, administration, families, and community.”

MUSD has focused on empowering employees to establish healthy habits and role model good behavior for students. Students and their families have been encouraged to make healthier choices in school and at home.

“We are so proud of Madera Unified for taking the steps as a district to encourage students, staff, and teachers to embrace a healthier lifestyle[…] we know better health leads to educational success,” said Wade Nogy, Senior Vice President and Area Manager of Kaiser Permanente Fresno.

Individual schools utilized a recently updated district wellness policy focusing on the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model to set specific goals to enhance school health. Goals met prior to the COVID-19 pandemic included: 1) More activities at recess to get students moving, 2) Community gardens that provide families with access to healthy fruits and vegetables, 3) Physical activity equipment available for staff use during breaks, 4) Weekly “Walk-and-Talks” for school employees, 5) Credentialed PE teachers at every elementary school, and 6) Newly installed sidewalks to enhance pedestrian safety near MUSD schools, like George Washington Elementary.

“The changes are making a difference in the overall health and wellness of students,” said Jaime Brown, TSA PE Health and Nutrition. “This has been something positive for us to focus on as we deal with the pandemic and changes to the way the school year looks. We are extremely honored to be recognized with this award.”

For nearly 15 years, The Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s annual recognition program has honored schools that are implementing best practices that support children’s learning and development, including meeting or exceeding federal standards for nutritious school meals and providing regular opportunities for students and staff to be active throughout the school day. It remains one of the country’s longest-running, nationwide recognition programs honoring schools for achievements in nutrition, physical activity, and wellness.

— Jaime Brown, PEP Grant Coordinator, TSA PE Health Nutrition

Community garden at James Madison Elementary School
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