With $25,000 the Keller school district won recently in the Baylor Regional Medical Center at Grapevine’s Lifestyle Improvement Challenge, district officials plan to encourage families to adopt healthy habits.Steve Newton, hospital president, announced the win at the August school board meeting.“At Baylor Regional Medical Center at Grapevine, we want to recognize efforts that improve families’ quality of life, health and wellness and have a positive impact for children’s futures,” Newton said.Keller competed against Birdville, Carroll, Hurst-Euless-Bedford and Northwest schools to see which district could get the most students engaged in health improvement activities and host the biggest events focused on health and wellness. “We’re honored to win,” said Cindy Parsons, KISD director of health services.Keller hosted and/or participated in events designed to encourage physical and mental health throughout the 2013-14 school year: the anti-bullying initiative R.O.C.K. (Reaching Out with Character and Kindness), the Dallas LOVE Project to focus on unconditional love as a tribute to John F. Kennedy on the 50th anniversary of his assassination, the Keller ISD Mini-Triathlon, the Community Health and Wellness Fair at KELLERfest, and the School Walk for Diabetes.The Ninth Annual School Walk for Diabetes was a huge event, raising more than $73,000 for the American Diabetes Association. School nurses coordinated the event and added several other wellness activities to the day.“We had a huge turnout,” Parsons said.Parsons plans to use the funds for resources, materials and incentives that promote physical and mental health. This month, the district is kicking off a new initiative to engage families at home to urge them to make small improvements: Taking the First Step Together.Each week, schools will focus on different aspects of health: exercise, nutrition, hydration and positive mental attitude.Nurses and counselors will distribute information on activities families can do to make small healthy changes, like going for a walk or turning off the TV or computer to play a board game together, Parsons said.Healthy habits will also be a focus in schools. Last week, a group of KISD employees created a video to show teachers how they can use exercise in the classroom. “Healthy children learn better,” Parsons said.
Sandra Engelland, 817-431-2231 Twitter: @SandraEngelland