Students and staff at Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) schools are celebrating after earning fifteen Healthy Schools certifications from Ophea. Ophea is a not-for-profit organization that champions healthy, active living in schools and communities and leads the provincial Healthy Schools initiative.
Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification recognizes and celebrates school communities for promoting and enhancing the health and well-being of students, school staff and the broader community. Participating schools complete the Six-Step Healthy Schools Process, which aligns with the Ministry of Education’s Foundations for a Healthy School resource. Through a point-based system, schools planned their Healthy Schools process over the course of the school year. Schools outline the steps needed to achieve certification and apply to be certified as a gold, silver or bronze.
“We are proud to be part of the 238 schools across Ontario that have been certified as being a healthy school,” says Paula Murphy, Superintendent of Education and Well-Being, SCSDB. “Our schools focused on many areas - physical activity, healthy eating, safety and injury prevention, growth and development, mental health and addictions – to support the SCDSB’s strategic goal of well-being.”
This school year, SCDSB schools earned seven golds, three silvers, four bronzes and one participant level certification. View the full list here: https://www.ophea.net/sites/default/files/pdfs/HSC/hsc_allschoolslist-board_14my18.pdf. Last year, SCDSB schools earned five certifications.
Here are highlights from some SCSDB schools that were successful in reaching certification with their initiatives this school year:
Baxter Central PS
Throughout the year, the school worked with community partners and the school council to implement healthy workshops and activities for students, families and the community.
The school’s goal is to help everyone feel healthy and included. The school held a healthy snack day, an anti-bullying assembly and an afternoon of activities that supported mental well-being for all students.
Students focused on mental health and participated in Mind Up wellness days, Building a Better Me day and anti-bullying initiatives. There is a whole school celebration taking place on June 5.
Nottawasaga & Creemore PS
The school focused on mental health by creating classroom calming corners, where a designated physical environment was designed to allow students to quickly access a quieter location to practice self-regulation and calming strategies.
In addition to the on-going involvement of the school's community grow and tower gardens, Worsley’s Healthy Action Team (WHAT) implemented many wellness initiatives including a kindness campaign, posters and healthy quote of the day. The school also plays music for the whole school during nutrition breaks, hosts primary dance club during fitness breaks and leads staff walks during each break. The school hosted a successful wellness evening that included interactive student projects as well as community partners promoting healthy living.
Bear Creek SS
The Staff Wellness Committee at Bear Creek SS, in collaboration with the student-led Kodiak Wellness Team and community partners, decided the priority health topic for the year would be substance use, addiction and related behaviours. The school provided learning opportunities to staff and students throughout Addictions Week, including a Truth and Consequences Conference for Grade 9s.
Shanty Bay PS
Students and staff were involved in many healthy activities over the course of the year, including a presentation of The Secret Life of Riley K, the Oro Kids Run for RVH Addictions and Mental Health, student-created book on Mental Health and Addictions –You are Never Alone and student Heart Healthy activities for Jump Rope for Heart.
Wyevale Central PS
The school received funding from the Ministry of Education to establish a disc golf course. Through a long-standing partnership between Tiny Township and a new partnership with the Ontario Disc Sports Association, the Wyevale Disc Golf Project led to many positive school-health related outcomes.
Minesing Central PS
Minesing's Student Voice Team invited feedback from students in every division to identify best learning practices. Based on student input, the school focused on the benefits of physical activity and created a Daily Physical Activity Challenge for all classes, tracking results in a school-wide competition.
W.R. Best Memorial PS
With support from the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, W.R. Best staff and students implemented the healthy PALS (Playground Activity Leader in Schools) program at recess to help increase physical activity.
Cathy Lethbridge, Principal of Well-being