Two years ago Bremen Academy began creating a healthier school environment after attending a Power Up for 30 training and hiring Karen Davis as Director of School Nutrition. Now, Bremen Academy continues to provide new opportunities for students to move and eat healthier, higher quality foods.
“Many of our faculty and staff members are conscious of their health and wellness,” said Ashley McGill, assistant principal of Bremen Academy. “When the possibility of attending a Power Up for 30 training was introduced, we had many volunteer.”
As a part of Power Up for 30, Bremen Academy has instituted various programs to get their students active throughout the school day. Resources such as “Go Noodle,” short interactive videos designed to get students moving at their desks, have allowed classroom teachers to get students’ bodies and minds ready to learn and are used when inclement weather prevents outdoor recess.
“I think recess is important because it gives the students a chance to reset their brains,” said Krissy Culpepper, fourth-grade level chair. “Students work hard every day, and their brains get tired. Recess gives them a chance to get their blood flowing, and take a break from the classroom.”
In addition to school-day physical activity, Bremen Academy offers special events throughout the school year such as the “My School Color Run 5K,” an event that promotes healthy living and encourages walking and running.
“Not only did the Color Run encourage families to get out and participate, it encouraged our entire grade level to walk or run together,” said Sarah Hicks, fourth-grade teacher. “I saw kids walking and running who are normally not that active during the school day. Families were doing it together.”
Furthermore, the P.E. Department at Bremen Academy has implemented an assessment to measure student growth throughout the year based on student learning objectives from the Georgia Department of Education. Bremen Academy uses this measure along with FitnessGram to understand how they can continue to support student growth and physical progress.
Bremen Academy is also providing a healthier food environment for their students. They meet the Smart Snacks Policy – nutrition standards that apply to to all foods sold during the school day via a la carte, the school store and vending machines. The Nutrition Department provides students with opportunities to talk about and experience healthy living using Fun Fit Day, a free event for all parents and staff that incorporates physical activity with nutrition education, the school garden which helps students learn how to grow fruits and vegetables, and nutrition education with students during lunch.
While Bremen Academy has been successful in implementing various events and initiatives throughout the year, they also developed a wellness policy that ensures their school follows state-mandated guidelines to promote wellness within the school. This policy is posted it on their website, so that the entire school community has access to it.
Each initiative Bremen Academy implements makes a significant impact. Students’ behavior is more positive when they are alert and moving, and they are ready to learn for the day, which helps combat the after-lunch lull.
“Exercise is important for students because children need physical activity to ensure optimum brain function,” said Amanda York, STEM and science lab teacher. “It also allows them to engage in social settings with peers outside the walls of the classroom. This social engagement is essential for students to learn how to problem-solve, work with others in a respectful manner and develop teamwork skills.”
Since starting these initiatives Bremen Academy has also seen an increase in students’ desire to be active, including excitement to go to PE, take walks, and participate in Go Noodle.
"I think it's important to have recess and time to move at school, because we need to get exercise,” said Ansley Carver, fifth-grade student. “If we don't, it feels like we're in a room all day."
To learn more about Bremen Academy, visit http://www.bremencs.com/bremen-academy/.