Rolesville Schools Win Healthy Schools Awards

May 2016

WCPSS Board Chair Benton & Supt. Merrill Congratulate Winners

Advocates for Health in Action (AHA) announced eight 2016 Brains and Bodies Award recipients and 10 Sneakers and Spokes Award recipients — individual Wake County schools going above and beyond to support healthy environments and behaviors at school for students and staff. Wake County Public Schools (WCPSS) School Board Chair Tom Benton and Supt. James Merrill presented the awards and celebrated the winning schools’ accomplishments. The AHA awards are the only awards in Wake County that recognize healthy schools.

RES Healthy School

Left to right: Rolesville Elementary staff and parents, AHA Director Sara Merz, WCPSS Supt. James Merrill and School Board Chair Tom Benton, Sanford Creek Elementary staff, and Mayor Frank Eagles. Rolesville Elementary won the AHA Sneakers and Spokes Award, and Sanford Creek won that award plus AHA’s Brains and Bodies Award. Photo courtesy of Wake County Public Schools.

Rolesville Mayor Frank Eagles and Town Manager Bryan Hicks were present to congratulate two of the winning schools: Rolesville Elementary and Sanford Creek Elementary. Sanford Creek Elementary won AHA’s Brains and Bodies Award and its Sneakers and Spokes Award, while Rolesville Elementary earned the Sneakers and Spokes Award.

The Brains and Bodies Award is an overall wellness award; the Sneakers and Spokes Award specifically recognizes schools that have outstanding and ongoing walk/bike to (or at) school programs that help keep students active.

“Brains and Bodies Award winners are putting evidence-based practices and policies in place to foster healthy school environments, said AHA Director Sara Merz.  “Physically active students who eat healthy foods perform better academically and have fewer disciplinary issues, plus they are forming healthy habits early in life.”

“More than 43 percent of kids aged 5 to 11 in Wake County are overweight, and we want all kids to be healthy and feel great,” Merz continued. “Our Brains and Bodies Award winners are making a real difference in the health of kids in Wake County by changing practices and policies.”

AHA created the Brains and Bodies Award program six years ago to celebrate and recognize schools that are creating a sustainable culture of school wellness. The application process itself is educational, providing schools with information and a wide array of resources and best practices to model.  AHA’s award is based on three modules of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation “Healthy Schools Program” assessment, which features nationally recognized, evidence-based criteria. 

AHA’s Sneakers and Spokes Award (formerly Wellness Star), now in its third year, recognizes active transportation to school because kids need at least 60 minutes a day of physical activity. Students who are walking or biking to school get the benefit of regular exercise and arriving at school alert and ready to learn.

Rolesville Elementary School hosts a walking club that meets Friday mornings for 30 minutes before school on the track. About 200 students participate regularly, along with many parents, and chart their miles on a bulletin board in the gym so they can see how far they have walked. The school also heavily promotes Walk to School Day with fliers and take-home handouts and students making signs. Those who cannot walk to school participate by walking the track when they get there.

Sanford Creek Elementary has a walking school bus program. To participate, children are taught how to walk safely to and from school using the designated crosswalks and their parents sign permission slips. P.E. classes include pedestrian safety through a special activity where students move through a mini-town created inside the gym. This helps them recognize the signs they will see outside of school and learn how to cross safely. In addition to participating in a fall and spring Walk to School Day, the school is working with staff at the Town of Rolesville to develop a student friendly map of the greenways that are adjacent to the school.