GUEST BLOGGER: CYNTHIA ARNSDORFF, AHA GEORGIA ADVOCACY COMMITTEE MEMBER
Elementary students at Spout Springs School of Enrichment are on the move, and winning well-deserved accolades. While helping others, they are learning to help themselves. Attendance is up, disciplinary actions are down, and test scores have improved.
Participating for the first time in the American Heart Association's fundraiser, Jump Rope For Heart, the school in Flowery Branch, GA broke the Hall County record. Out of a student body of 825, more than 400 students donated and raised over $16,000. Jumping rope to slogans of Jump the Creek and Cross the Raging River, they learned the benefits of physical activity and a healthy lifestyle in preventing heart disease and strokes, while having fun.
Presented with the Gold Award from the National Healthy Schools Program they became the first elementary school in the southeastern region to hold this distinction. Quite a feat considering it was only their third year in the program; their first year they won bronze, and the second year silver. For such an outstanding accomplishment their State Representatives, Rep. Butch Miller and Rep. John Wilkinson, sponsored a resolution in the Georgia General Assembly to honor the school.
SR 446: A RESOLUTION commending Spout Springs School of Enrichment for being the first school in Georgia and the entire southeast to be named an Alliance for a Healthier Generation 2014-2015 GOLD National Recognition School.
Working with the Alliance to implement the program’s framework of best practices, the nutrition department and staff were offered technical assistance, professional development, tools, resources and national experts for support. Teachers now intersperse healthy activities with their lessons, improving everyone’s day, including their own.
To quote Tom Adam, their coach and a physical education teacher, “Working with the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program is life changing. For me, and more importantly our students and their parents, it has been nothing less than a culture change for our community”. Even the Parent Teacher Organization stopped selling unhealthy treats for fundraisers, instead promoting physical activity fundraisers.
Guided by their principal, Arlene Thomas, the school is living up to its mission to be a place of enrichment “where students are able to discover and develop their talents through active engagement in challenging and enjoyable learning experiences.”
Spout Springs School is setting a standard for change in our country where 23 percent of children get no exercise, and obesity is touching even the very young. By participating in the Alliance’s Healthy Schools program, and the American Heart Association's Jump Rope For Heart program, the school has shown you can transform motion into measurable results. Congratulations, job well done!