April Feature Healthy School: Newtonbrook Secondary School | Ophea.net

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April Feature Healthy School: Newtonbrook Secondary School

Thursday, April 25, 2019 - 10:19

We are excited to have 357 registered Healthy Schools, representing 55 school boards across the province for Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification 2018/19 school year! You can find out if schools from your board have registered by viewing the Registered Schools List.

Every month until June, we’ll be sharing the experiences of select registered Healthy Schools who have been active on Twitter using #HSCertES; bringing you their success stories, challenges, and ideas to support you in making your school a healthier school. Newtonbrook Secondary School is our April Feature Healthy School. We caught up to Jennifer Fox to learn about their experiences with Healthy Schools Certification. Check out our Q&A!

Who is on your school’s Healthy Schools team (e.g.: students, public health professionals, teachers, admin, and/or community partners)? What do these different members bring to the team?
Students, Toronto Public Health (Donna P.) who supports our programming with expertise, various hands on activities and prizes!, Teachers; Coop, Phys.ed., and Aquatics who assist in the program coordination along with student voice, our Student Success teacher who supports in providing insight for programming and messaging from a student-need perspective, TDSB Equity Lead (Amita Handa) who trained our students in equity, implicit bias and privilege so we could run workshops in our Grade 9 classes, QSA (Pride Club), students from our cooking class who cook healthy lunches for our school through our Café Brook, and our Breakfast Club group who provide a hot breakfast and/or grab and go snacks. We have also connected with community partners who support our team throughout the year with specific activities, they include; Jack.org (we are a Jack Chapter – we work with Jack.org to spread the word about metal health and that we ALL have mental health and the steps we can take to achieve/maintain it), Common Compass who provided a certification in teen Mental Health, MADD Canada who came in do to an assembly as well as a “weed out the risk” day of in-class workshops, and finally the St.John Ambulance Therapy Dogs come in twice a year just prior to final exams for our “de-stress yourself” exam-prep week.

What is your Healthy Schools priority health topic? What lead you to choose this topic?
Our Healthy Schools priority area is Mental Health and Well-Being. We put together a survey and polled students in our school to determine that this was the highest area of need.

How does your school team encourage students and staff to make healthy choices? Share an example.
We have taken many approaches to engage our school as a whole (staff and students). Students have taken a leadership role to organize, promote and lead each activity/initiative. We have encouraged students and staff through activities such as our school app, Instagram, Twitter, school website, assemblies, guest speakers, posters, events, contests/raffle, P.A. announcements, classroom visits, surveys, “Random Acts of Kindness” button campaign, Spirit weeks, de-stress yourself: exam prep week, awareness weeks and etc. **We are busy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tell us about a success, no matter how big or small, that your Healthy Schools team has had this year. Who was involved? What changed in your school?
Together with our Nurse Liaison, Donna P., and amazing Student Mental Health Committee we put on a Healthy Habits week in connection with March’s Nutrition Month. We polled students to see what healthy habits they have (via a rainbow illustration: Red - Healthy Eating; Orange - Exercise; Yellow - Sleep; Green - Well-Being; Blue - Healthy Relationships; Teal - Work Habits, Purple - Hydration), to promote healthy habits as contributing factors of well-being, and to determine our focus for April’s activity. We also included our Café Brook students who made (from scratch) healthy snacks and meal alternatives that are free from preservatives and lower in salt and sugar. Samples were given out and included desserts, pizza, and potato salad. Our campaign promoted “BUY FROM BROOK” rather than going to the mall and purchasing fast-food. A raffle was drawn for 2 gift certificates for Subway sandwich. It was a huge success!

Does your Healthy Schools team have any upcoming events or activities that they’re excited about?
MENTAL HEALTH WEEK!!! This is a week of events (in May) put on by various clubs and committees in our school to approach well-being in solidarity and strength in numbers. The week will be jam-packed with events and activities to appeal to the diverse interests of our students – from art, music, dance, running, exercise, yoga, games of all sorts, human bingo, and a JACK.org talk the following week with activities for all grade 10s to help support them in this transition year from being junior high school students to senior level high school students.

Jennifer Fox
ACL of Health & Physical Education and Healthy School Team Leader
Newtonbrook Secondary School

Looking to make your school a healthier place? Check out the HS Certification Guidebook. To see what healthy schools are up to follow #HSCertES on Twitter!