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HaysFreePress.com January 2, 2013 al c_Jree re FACE OF HOSPICE Community benefactor sings the praises of hospice benefits. - Page 3B Page 3B Hemphill wins $15K healthy campus grant BY KIM HILSENBECK kim@haysfreepress.com Hemphill Elementary School was one of 12 recipients of a three-year $15,000 "Excellence in Education" Healthy Campus grant. The money, provided by H-E-B, is designed to as- sist schools with resources and fund- ing to increase health and nutrition for their students. At last May's Obesity Summit co- ordinated by Hays CISD health and wellness staff, data from Children's Optimal Health of Austin revealed that a high percentage of students at Hemphill are overweight or obese, compared to other Hays CISD schools. About 90 percent of Hemphill's students are eligible for free or reduced meals; data from the Obesity Summit showed a correlation between over- : weight children and high poverty areas. Principal Paige Collier is trying to bring awareness of the issues and some changes to the school - and to families as well. "This grant will allow our school to help bring nutrition and health infor- mation to families so they can contin- ue the good eating and exercise habits we're teaching their children every day," she said. Hemphill was one of 170 schools across Texas to apply for the funds. The campus will receive $5,000 a year for three years to implement the COLLIER healthy campus initiatives. In its grant proposal, Hemphill" administrators outlined the programs they would develop, implement or improve. The efforts will center around three basic health areas: Food, Body and Life. Under the Food program, Hemp- hill will weave nutrition education throughout the curriculum, improve the school breakfast/lunch/snack program with a focus on fresh fruits and veggies, and develop innovations in the school vending machines. The school already offers fresh fruit and yogurt for breakfast instead of high-carbohydrate and sugary items. Celebrations and sack lunches also look different at Hemphill. Teachers now request parents bring in fruits and veggies as party snacks rather than cookies and chips. Additionally, teach- ers use incentives such as structured games and jump roping rather than the traditional pizza parties. For lunch, students are not allowed to bring in family-sized bags of chips, and sodas are no longer allowed. "Our expectation is that lunches packed at home will be healthier," Col- lier said. With the grant money, Collier said the school seeks to continue support- ing these healthy initiatives. But one of the biggest ideas for the grant money is to create a community garden with the premise of educating students and their families about the importance of eating a variety of fruits and vegetables daily. According to the grant, a community garden will garner the spirit of educa- tion. Its benefits include learning about agriculture, being responsible for the care of living things, team work, social skills and learning about healthy food alternatives. For the Body program, Hemphill will incorporate physical activity through- out the school day, enhance physical education classes and activities and encourage parent and staff participa- tion with walking clubs, Zumba classes and other events. The school's combined Family Fit- ness Night with Simon Middle School earlier in the fall was well attended by families. The evening included fitness demonstrations in Zumba, karate and dance, cooking lessons by the district chef, Bryant Currie, and activities in- cluding rock climbing and interactive video games such as Guitar Hero. Hemphill's Life program will include screening activities such as Fitness Gram, a health risk assessment for each child; programs that build emo- tional well-being, self-esteem and life skills, programs that promote proper oral care, drug and alcohol prevention and asthma prevention; and nutri- tion education that includes weight management and diabetes classes for parents and staff. Collier said the grant agreement includes yearly documentation of the programs and initiatives, including photos, video and a blog charting the school's progress. COURTESY PHOTO Mary Longloy, principal of Redlands Oaks Elementary in north Texas, shared ideas at the recent Hays CISD Fit Kids Collaborative for non-food related incentives and rewards. One idea was spirit sticks - collectable tags that students can earn and display. They are fun and more importantly, calorie free. Healthy ideas for schools BY KIM HILSENBECK kim@haysfreepress.com :School districts across the state are finding new and different way to in- corporate healthy living habits, includ- ing not using food as an incentive. In the past, schools or individual teachers might offer pizza or ice cream parties, pieces of candy or other sweet treats to entice (i.e., bribe) students. Many Hays CISD school also had food-related fundraisers - cookie dough and candy were among the most popular and frequently lucrative. Because of the obesity data shared at the Hays CISD Obesity Summit last spring showing about 30 percent of its students as overweight or obese, ad- ministrators and teachers are seeking innovative idea, including removing food as a reward for good behavior and developing non-food related fundrais- ers. Teachers and administrators are now finding new treats. One such idea was shared by Mary Longloy, principal of Redlands Oaks Elementary in North Texas. She, along with the school's PTA wellness chair, Julie Copeland, visited Hays CISD in November for a Fit Kids Collaborative - a day long event held at the Perform- ing Arts Center. Representatives from New Braun- fels, DelValle, Leander, Georgetown, Comal and Hays, along with the Texas Agrilife Extension of Texas A&M, gath- ered for a day of sharing, idea genera- tion and show and tell. One of Longloy's ideas was Spirit Sticks - little embroidered collectable tags that recognize a student's accom- plishments without resorting to empty calories. She also had thoughts on healthy food fundraisers, including fruit, herb garden kits, smoothies and health- focused cookbooks. Several schools within Hays CISD this year opted for non-food related fundraisers. Carpenter Hill Elementary raised more than $15,000 with a "fun run" where students sought donations per lap. Other non-food fundraising ideas from Longloy and Copeland included game nights, magazine subscriptions, plants or seeds, auctions and recycling programs. The Hays CISD food service ven- dor, Southwest Food Excellence, may soon roll out a new service for parents that provides healthier food items for in-school birthday celebrations and non-food treats such as pencils and stickers. School clhoice legislation introduced this week STAFF REPORT As of press time, Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and state Sen. Dan Patrick were expected to announce education legislation this week that would allow more school choice. The Texas Tribune reported that the bill would likely spark a major battle in the upcoming legisla- tive session. Dewhurst and Patrick are strong proponents of school choice options for parents. Newly minted Texas Edu- cation Agency Commissioner Michael Williams is also in favor of choice but has said he would not advocate for it in his current position. According to the Texas Tribune, proponents of school choice believe competition would elevate all schools, while critics are concerned about the effectiveness of competition if there isn't a level playing field between pub- lic and private schools. They are also concerned about how Texas STAAR measures would apply, as well as the whether the cost of trans- portation and tuition would be afford- able for Texas families. The Hays Free Press will continue to fol- low the legislation and report onhow such changes would impact local families. SCHOOL BRIEFS Planning for tomorrow, today! The Hays CISD counseling team along with Austin Community College is helping students get a head start o college with the "Planning for Tomorrow- Today" college event. This event is recommended for middle and high school students and their parents. It will include information on financial aid and dual credit, as well as a career and technology fair. The event takes place from 6-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8, at the Hays CISD Performing Arts Center. School's out for winter Students at Hays CISD are on winter break. All classes resume Monday, Jan.7. Students will also be out of school Jan. 21 in celebration of Martin Luther King Day. Report cards on the way The recent nine-week grading period report cards for Hays CISD students will be distributed Jan. 11. Be sure to look for your child's card and if necessary, sign and return the envelope to school. Weird science The Hays CISD Middle School Science Fair will be held beginning at 4:30 p.m. Jan. 9 at the Performing Arts Center. Soar with education The San Marcos school district will hold a SOAR (Seeking Opportunities, Achieving Results) Education Fair from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Jan. 12 at the San Marcos Activity Center. SOAR is an educational partnership between Texas State University, San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District and the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce. Initiatives include efforts to increase school readiness in early childhood, eliminate disparities in the education system by increasing college access and preparedness, and addressing issues in work force development. New obesity resource web portal Texas Comptroller Susan Combs recently launched ReshapingTexas - www. reshapingtexas.org - a new online resource that examines the economic impacts of obesity and ' identifies areas in the state where children are at risk. The site encourages users to suggest articles and success stories that may be beneficial to others. Combs said ReshapingTexas will continue to expand as public participation grows and conte,:,t and tools are added. Texas schools to review emergency operation plans In light of the December tragedy in Newtown, Conn., Gov. Rick Perry requested that Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams direct Texas school districts to review their emergency operation plans to ensure all schools are prepared respond to potential See SCHOOL BRIEFS, pg. B4