The Edmond Sun

March 15, 2013

Edmond, Deer Creek schools receive healthy certifications

Patty Miller
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — For first time in 200 years, today’s youth may not live as long as their parents is a statement that is gaining more and more attention as Oklahomans look to their schools to help change this trend.

All public school districts nationwide receiving federal funding for food programs are required to implement a “Wellness policy” to promote student health.

Before applying to become a Certified Healthy School the school must be in compliance with both federal policy on school wellness and state school mandates. In addition, the school should have a 24/7 Tobacco-free Schools Policy.

Edmond and Deer Creek schools rose to the top as Certified Healthy Oklahoma Schools were named recently. Of the 432 schools that applied, 315 received certification and 17 are from the Edmond area including two from Deer Creek and 15 from Edmond schools.

“Schools receiving Basic, Merit and Excellence scored high enough on the criteria to meet that standard,” said Neil Hann, Oklahoma State Department of Health.

Deer Creek schools listed include Deer Creek Elementary, Excellence; and Deer Creek Middle School, Basic.

Edmond School District’s elementary schools receiving certification include: Cross Timbers and Will Rogers receiving “Excellence,” the highest level of certification.

Schools receiving “Merit” certification include: Centennial, Charles Haskell, Northern Hills, Orvis Risner and Russell Dougherty.

Schools receiving “Basic” certification include: Angie Debo, Clegern, Sunset and Washington Irving.

Edmond middle schools receiving “Excellence” certification include Central and Cimarron.

Edmond Memorial High School received “Excellence” certification and Edmond North High School received “Merit” certification.

The award is based on the school’s availability of health education, Physical education, health services, nutrition services, counseling and social services, healthy and safe school environment, health promotion for staff and community involvement being offered at the school site.

“I am very proud of the progress the Edmond Public Schools has made over the past several years in offering healthier meals and vending machine offerings as well as incorporating nutrition education into our middle school curriculum,” said school board member Kathleen Duncan, who long has been a proponent of offering healthier choices for the district’s students.

“We have come a long way since the days of offering our students sugar-coated funnel cakes and glazed donuts for breakfast and deep fried French fries, foot-long hot-dogs and other high fat, high calorie foods with almost no nutritional value.”

Duncan said until several years ago the school vending machines were loaded with 20-ounce bottles of pop containing 69 grams of sugar, candy bars, cookies and high-calorie chips, which many of the district’s students purchased for lunch much of the time.

“The comments such as ‘Let them eat funnel cake and drink sugar-laden sodas if they want to’ have stopped as school leaders, along with the rest of the nation, have realized the importance of addressing the dramatic rise in our obesity and Type II diabetes cases,” Duncan said.

In 2010, the “Oklahoma Certified Healthy Schools Act” was passed as a voluntary certification recognizing schools that promote wellness, encourage healthy behaviors and establish safe and supportive environments.  

“I am very grateful for the strong support this effort has received from our superintendent Dr. David Goin and his staff,” Duncan said. “I know they agree with me that we must keep making progress in offering our students more physical education, more nutritional and attractive food offerings and increase our nutrition curriculum at all levels as much as we can.”

The Certified Healthy School program is administered by the Oklahoma Healthy Schools Advisory Committee and is a partnership of Oklahoma Academy for State Goals, Oklahoma State Chamber, Oklahoma State Health Department and Oklahoma Turning Point Council. To access the guidelines and application documents to become a Certified Healthy School, go to: http://www.okturningpoint.org/chp/chs/chs.html.