Special to The Sun
Edmond is one of 26 school districts to be awarded a Healthy Schools Incentive Grant from the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust.
The Oklahoma TSET Board of Directors, earlier this month, approved a $20,000 grant for Edmond. Grant funds are used to support coordinated school health.
The school district plans to use the money to purchase equipment to conduct hearing and vision screenings, an additional defibrillator at each high school and health-related curriculum for elementary schools. In addition, the grant money will be used to pay for required annual training for district nurses.
This is the first year for the Healthy Schools Incentive Grant Program and a total of $189,000 in grants was awarded to school districts across the state. Edmond and Jenks are the only 6A schools in the state to receive Incentive Grants.
School districts were eligible to apply if at least 50 percent of their school sites were certified by the Oklahoma Certified Healthy Schools program. Individual schools within the district were required to be certified through the Shape Your Future Certified Healthy Schools Program, a partnership between the Oklahoma Academy for State Goals, the Oklahoma Turning Point Council, the State Chamber and the State Department of Health.
The grant criteria focus on school districts strengthening their local wellness policies to involve stakeholders, setting goals for nutrition education and physical activity, implementing nutrition guidelines and publicly reporting progress toward implementation. Tobacco-free campus policies are a prerequisite for the grants.
“We are pleased so many Oklahoma school districts are working to make their schools healthy places to work, learn and play,” said Tracey Strader, TSET executive director. “Edmond Public Schools is enacting policies that make a difference in children’s lives. This grant highlights the achievements of the district and its efforts to make the healthy choice the easy choice.”
TSET was created by a constitutional amendment in 2000 as a long-term strategy to ensure that settlement payments from a 1998 multi-state lawsuit against the tobacco industry are used to improve Oklahoma’s health status. The funds are placed in an endowment to ensure a growing funding source for improving health for generations to come. Only the earnings from the endowment are used.