Bainbridge High School in Decatur County, a 2017-18 Shape grantee, has made a commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of their students. Since partnering with HealthMPowers in September 2016, the high school has implemented activities to increase physical activity and help students choose healthier food options.
During the school day, students are encouraged to get 60 minutes of physical activity through various initiatives. Morning activity breaks are offered in the classroom, and motivational posters and flyers in the hallways remind students of the importance of exercise. Students also have the opportunity to wear pedometers to track their physical activity.
“I really enjoy the initiative” said Dr. Heidi Chambers, Honors English and AP Literature teacher. “My first block did the exercises every morning. We made it into a laughing time, but I do think it helped wake them up for the class. They also enjoy wearing the pedometers and competing with each other on steps walked.”
Bainbridge has also focused on making changes around the school to encourage healthy eating. Posters around the lunch line and creative food names on the breakfast and lunch menus display healthy options. In the past year, they added more Smart Snack menu options, which increased participation by about 100 students each day. With the assistance of their Georgia Shape grant, the health team plans to expand food options even more with the purchase of a blender for smoothies at breakfast.
Brandy Howard, the school nurse for Bainbridge High School’s 1,487 students, said: “The activities helped the student body think about what they are putting in their bodies and the consequences of those choices.”
This affects their decisions at meal times.
“They enjoy the new healthy options for lunch (and are looking forward to the smoothies for breakfast)” said Chambers. “I think it adds awareness to the importance of healthy living through exercise and diet.”
Eleventh-grade student Yazmain Smith is aware: “I really love having more options to choose from, and I can’t believe it’s good for us.”
The projects also had a positive effect on the teachers and staff members.
“Having teachers model physical fitness through morning exercises made me more aware of the impact my willingness to participate in such activities had on teens in my classroom, and how such activities should be part of our daily routines and foremost in our thoughts as we start each day,” said Amy Worsley, Biology teacher.
To learn more about Bainbridge High School, visit their website at http://www.boe.dcboe.com/1/home