When it comes to America’s healthiest schools, McAllen ISD is tough to beat.
The district leads the nation with 18 schools earning Silver Medal awards and being named among America’s healthiest schools by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, it was announced May 16.
In addition, all 32 eligible McAllen ISD schools are on the National Healthy Schools Awards list for the fourth straight year since schools attain their Gold, Silver or Bronze status on a two-year cycle.
With 18 schools, McAllen ISD has more Silver Medal winners than any other school district in the country. They are:
- Alvarez Elementary
- Bonham Elementary
- Castaneda Elementary
- Escandon Elementary
- Garza Elementary
- Hendricks Elementary
- Jackson Elementary
- McAuliffe Elementary
- Navarro Elementary
- Rayburn Elementary
- Sanchez Elementary
- Seguin Elementary
- Brown Middle School
- Cathey Middle School
- De Leon Middle School
- Fossum Middle School
- Lincoln Middle School
- Travis Middle School
The other 14 schools will not have to resubmit for award consideration until next year. Of those 14, one is currently Gold (Wilson Elementary), two are Silver and 11 are Bronze.
“We believe healthy children make for better learners,” McAllen ISD Superintendent J.A. Gonzalez, Ed.D., said. “Children who grow up with healthy habits will lead more productive lives and enjoy a greater quality of life.”
According to the AHG, a child who attends a recognized school will have:
- Improved nutrition practices
- Increased access to physical education and activity
- Strong wellness policies and practices
- Programs that engage students, staff and families in creating a culture of health
“McAllen ISD is one of the greatest success stories in terms of the school district promoting the health and wellness of its students,” Dr. Howell Wechsler, CEO for AHG, said at a press conference held in McAllen last fall.
The National Healthy Schools Award is a prestigious achievement that celebrates each school’s hard work in creating a healthier school. Schools that receive this award meet best practice criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and outlined in the Healthy Schools Program Framework of Best Practice Criteria. Awards are granted at the Bronze, Silver and Gold levels. Award winning schools are recognized as America's Healthiest Schools.
The district has continually pushed to improve the health of more than 23,000 students through exercise and eating right. Those efforts have led to The Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s recognition of all 32 eligible schools.
McAllen ISD has had all its schools recognized as Gold, Silver or Bronze since 2014-15.
This represents the district's greater efforts to promote and instill healthy-living habits for its students. McAllen ISD was the first school district in the nation to have 100 percent of its eligible schools recognized under the old Let’s Move! Active Schools program which was under the AHG umbrella.
According to The Alliance, about one in three kids today are overweight or obese. Studies show overweight kids are likely to become overweight and obese adults.
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation works to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity and to empower kids to develop lifelong, healthy habits. Research shows a strong link between a young person’s practice of healthy habits, including a good diet and regular physical activity and an improvement in their overall life outcomes.
Begun in 2006, the Healthy Schools Program has grown to become the nation’s most extensive effort to prevent childhood obesity in schools and is now building healthier school environments for more than 18 million students in more than 31,000 schools in every state plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
On the web: www.HealthierGeneration.org.