March Feature Healthy School: Huntsville Public School
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. Huntsville Public School is our March Feature Healthy School. We caught up to Shaun Vaillancourt to learn about their experiences with Healthy Schools Certification. Check out our Q&A!
1. 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?
Our Healthy Active Team was established in 2014 and is made up of student leaders who are passionate about being active and promoting a healthy lifestyle to all students in our school. We also have a teacher advisor, an administrator as well as members of our local health unit and school council supporting our initiatives. In order to achieve maximum impact, each member/group contributes by bringing their expertise and resources to the table.
2. What is your Healthy Schools priority health topic? What lead you to choose this topic?
Our focus this year is the importance of fostering healthy habits in order to maintain good mental health. We selected this topic based on the evidence we collected from our school climate survey.
3. How does your school team encourage students and staff to make healthy choices? Share an example.
Our Healthy Active Team promotes healthy choices in our school by providing a variety of initiatives targeting primary, junior, and intermediate students, and staff. This includes assembly presentations, play days, bulletin board displays, parent engagement nights, healthy food fairs, and fitness programming using community facilities.
4. 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?
One highlight thus far includes the implementation of a 9 week fitness program for our grade 8 students. We have been taking our students into the community to expose them to a variety of fitness activities including ‘learn to run’, yoga, aquabiking, etc. in order to encourage students to be active as a healthy strategy to cope with stress and anxiety.
5. How have students been engaged as leaders within your school community as a result of Healthy Schools Certification?
Our school has adopted Feed All Four (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual well-being) as a vehicle for student success and engagement. The Ophea Healthy School
Certification has allowed us to access grants and special projects such as the Canadian
Tire Hero of Play program, which in turn has sparked student leadership and initiatives. As leaders, students have generated ideas, and collected data and feedback in order to organize and deliver healthy/active events in our school.
6. Does your Healthy Schools team have any upcoming events or activities that they’re excited about?
The student leaders of our Healthy Active Team and myself (teacher advisor) will be presenting at the upcoming Ontario Healthy Schools Coalition Conference. The goal of our presentation is to teach provincial educational stakeholders the importance of fostering a Feed All Four philosophy in schools through the adoption of a Healthy Active Team.
Healthy Active Team Leader
Huntsville Public School