School Health Index (SHI) Workshop

In collaboration with Lee’s Summit R7 School District and Missouri Healthy Schools, Successful Students (MHSSS), our Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Workgroup hosted its first workshop on the School Health Index (SHI) on October 24, 2019. The Training Tools for Missouri Healthy Schools – School Health Index (SHI) Workshop was held at the Summit Technology Academy/Missouri Innovation Campus in Lee’s Summit and led by MHSSS’s director, Laura Beckmann.

Attendees for the workshop included members of the HEAL Workgroup, district and school wellness coordinators, nutrition services personnel, and school nurses from around the Kansas City metro. EJC school districts included Fort Osage, Independence, Lee’s Summit, and Lone Jack. This was a “train the trainer” workshop. Attendees learned how to use the SHI to assess their current wellness policies and procedures and bring this knowledge back to their districts.

One of the prerequisites of the SHI is for staff to assemble wellness councils, or committees, at both the district and school level. This happens to be one of the main objectives of our HEAL workgroup, which is to increase the number of active district and school wellness committees in EJC.

The event was overwhelmingly successful. Laura gave a superb presentation on how to conduct the SHI and why it matters. She explained that starting this year, that state of Missouri will be conducting audits of school districts to ensure that they are in compliance with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act – a federal mandate associated with the Free and Reduced Lunch Program. Districts that complete or have completed the SHI are more likely to know how to meet the requirements of the mandate.

Additionally, Laura stated that while school districts are measured largely by their academic success, a commitment to wellness improves the mental and physical wellbeing of students, which ultimately results in improved learning and better grades.

Lucky enough for us, attendees also got to practice some of her recommended school wellness activities for students during the workshop. Known as “exercise energizers,” Laura helped to keep our attention by having us move our bodies in between lessons. We did activities such as standing up and writing the name of our best friend in the air with our elbows and playing a friendly game of rock, paper, scissors multiplication with a partner.

According to feedback, the majority of people who came to the workshop felt better able to bring together a wellness committee, assess their school district’s current wellness policies and procedures, and write goals for future improvements.

We hope to continue having these kinds of events in EJC and working with our local districts to support healthy eating and active living education for our kids that will encourage wellness throughout their lifetime.

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