|Joan Atwood, principal at Creekview Elementary, is ecstatic with the Gold Medal Award her school received.|
Three area schools, Creekview Elementary, Castle Valley Center and Pinnacle Canyon Academy, received their Gold Medal School Bronze Level medal this month for their efforts to build a tradition of health.
The cornerstone of Gold Medal Schools (GMS) is the Gold Medal Mile, a route usually walked by students every day. Together with the rest of the Gold Medal Schools statewide, the three schools this year walked a total of more than 200,000 miles, or almost six times the distance to the moon and back.
"Gold Medal Schools is now in its fourth successful year throughout the State of Utah. The Price schools joined the program this year and the students show no signs of stopping. They have not only made their schools a healthier place, but their teachers and parents are also adopting healthier behaviors as a result," said Dave Cunningham.
This spring more than 140 schools are receiving Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Gold PLUS medals for their participation in GMS. More than 76,000 students will be honored in special assemblies across the state for their participation in the program.
Each school receives a plaque and a check to use for physical education equipment or resources for tobacco prevention. Now in 35 of Utah's 40 school districts, GMS encourages schools to establish policies that help both students and teachers to eat healthy, be physically active, and avoid tobacco.
Policies include allowing students at least 90 minutes of physical activity per week, promotion of a safe route to school policy, and a policy mandating a tobacco-free school.
This year, 25 schools reached Bronze level; 11 schools reached Silver; 44 reached Gold; 48 reached Gold PLUS Phase One; and eight reached Gold PLUS Phase Two.
Southeastern Utah District Health Department in conjunction with the State Health Department is in the process of recruiting more elementary schools to the Gold Medal School Program.
"We'd love to see all of our elementary schools involved with GMS. The program encourages Utah school children to learn healthy behaviors they can carry over into adulthood. Research consistently shows that children who participate in regular physical activity and eat nutritiously have higher academic scores." said Jessie Huff, program coordinator.
Earlier this week, GMS announced a major new partnership with Intermountain Health Care to expand into all Utah elementary schools and eventually middle and junior high schools as well. IHC will provide approximately $1.5 million to GMS over the next five years in conjunction with the new partnership. GMS is also a part of the A Healthier You Legacy Awards Program, a health challenge established during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. The program is offered to worksites, schools, communities, and college campuses. Each group may qualify for awards by introducing policies to improve opportunities for physical activity, nutrition, safety, and preventive health screenings.