Wellness: a way of life at Thomasville City Schools
Thomasville City Schools was ahead of the curve when it started its wellness program in 2006. Plans are to keep it that way.
A recent audit of the school system's wellness program shows a culture change across all four campuses. From increased physical activity during the school day to healthier fundraiser options, the TCS wellness program has become more of a way of life than simply meeting a state standard.
“We have had a real focus of the health and wellness of our students for a long time,” said Mary Jane Akerman, TCS wellness coordinator. “We put a policy in place and now we're living up to it.”
During the most recent audit of the program, members of a districtwide council visited different campuses to see implementation of wellness policies. Liberty Drive students were seen taking a break from learning by doing jumping jacks. Children at Thomasville Primary School showed off their favorite exercise video – “Chickenfat” video. Getting students more active during the school day is a key component to the program.
“We wanted an opportunity to go into the schools and see some of the great things that are happening with our wellness policy and also areas of improvement as well,” said Superintendent Dr. Maria Pitre-Martin. “We need to remember that as we are teaching our classes that children actually learn better when they're up and moving around. There is so much research out there on the fact that our brains need this activity from time to time, even if it's just getting up and walking down the hall. It really does help all of us to think better. Our students like to be up and engaged and doing as opposed to sitting.”
Pitre-Martin credits the staff with embracing the initiative and taking a proactive approach in helping identify areas where health and wellness can be improved. Staff and students are taking it upon themselves to eat healthier and stay active. Fundraisers featuring unhealthy foods are disappearing, as well as donuts at staff functions. School offices also have information on nutrition and drug use prevention available to parents.
“We want to promote good health,” said Akerman. “We walk the walk. We actually do in our schools what we say is in our wellness policy.”
Later this year, TCS will organize a committee to examine how its wellness policy can be improved or expanded. In addition to its community partners, Akerman seeks input from parents and other members of the community.
“Is this the best policy we can put in place,” Akerman said. “We have a continued commitment to looking at how we can improve our policies. We want to make sure we're getting public input on that. We've come so far but there is more that can be done.”
To join the wellness committee, call Akerman at 870-1627. To see the complete wellness policy for TCS, visit http://goo.gl/3Y5ZKu.
Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or firstname.lastname@example.org.