Healthy Schools PA Announces Recipients of
2016-2017 Healthy Schools Recognition Program
PITTSBURGH (June 20, 2017) – Healthy Schools PA, a program of Women for a Healthy Environment based in Pittsburgh, celebrates area schools as a part of their annual Healthy Schools PA Recognition Program.
Eight southwestern Pennsylvania schools are being honored for their year-long participation in the organization’s Healthy Schools Recognition Program, celebrating their progress in creating healthier and greener learning environments. “These schools are proactive and engaging the entire school community in created a healthier environment for students to learn and staff to work,” said Chelsea Holmes, WHE’s director of community education, “The ultimate goal is that each year the school works with us toward completion of additional activities and perhaps reaches a higher designation.”
This free recognition program has four recognition categories and provides a checklist of strategies schools can employ as part of their health and wellness or sustainability plans, as well as curricula. A checklist guides schools through the process. Healthy Schools PA’s assistance is provided free of charge with often little to no-cost solutions for many items on the checklist. “The checklist gave us benchmarks to reach, which was really helpful,” said Dr. Rick Walsh, principal at Wexford Elementary.
Alison Bresnahan, science teacher and Environmental Club facilitator at Kiski Area High School stated, “The checklist has given us ideas of other initiatives we can start, like a rain garden. That’s on our list for next year!”
The 2016-2017 honorees include: Eden Hall Upper Elementary and Wexford Elementary in the Pine-Richland School District; Environmental Charter School; Greenock Elementary School in the Elizabeth Forward School District; Kiski Area Upper Elementary and Kiski Area High School in the Kiski Area School District; Regency Park Elementary in the Plum Borough School District, and Shady Side Academy.
Eden Hall Upper Elementary serves a daily salad bar and implements a recycling program to establish a healthier learning environment. Classes have taken on initiatives such as energy reduction, sustainable energy, and other environmental activities.
Environmental Charter School has continued its efforts to improve sustainability and are taking their environment seriously by testing for lead and radon. They have also removed the use of artificial turf in play areas.
Greenock Elementary implemented a school-energy saving program. The school also provides summer cooking classes and incorporates the garden into the curriculum. Students select the plants for the garden and help maintain it over the summer months.
Kiski Area Upper Elementary engages their science students to think beyond the 3 R’s of Recycle, Reduce, and Reuse. Science classes started a compost system, installed a rain barrel and maintain a greenhouse. The school uses green cleaning products.
Kiski Area High School’s environment club have led the way to the school becoming sustainable through purchases from local vendors and farmers for their school’s salad bar. They have tested their water and tracked ambient air quality for harmful pollutants.
Regency Park Elementary was led by their 1st graders to create an edible garden. The entire student body participated in developing, implementing, and maintaining the garden along with composting. The edible garden symbolizes what can be done when students are given opportunities to work together across grade levels.
Shady Side Academy has incorporated the importance of the environment into their science curriculum and their environmental club is thriving. All staff have taken on the Green School initiatives and have incorporated them into their daily activities.
Wexford Elementary school continues to focus on wellness through a partnership between their PTO, school nurse, and administration. Along with the checklist for Healthy Schools PA, Wexford Elementary continues to maintain their organic garden and have added numerous health and nutrition events, including a health fair for the students.
Healthy Schools PA provides education, training, and information for parents, educators, administrators and students looking to improve the indoor and outdoor environmental profile of their schools and school districts. Registration is now open for the October 6 Healthy Schools Summit. Cost is $15 and includes meals. For more information or to register visit www.healthyschoolspa.org.
About Healthy Schools PA
Healthy Schools PA, a program of Women for a Healthy Environment, a nonprofit based in Pittsburgh, acts as an information hub and action-oriented resource with the tools, expertise, and step-by-step guidance that parents, educators, administrators, and students need to improve their school environments. Through webinars, school presentations, and delivery of environmental health curricula, the organization teaches school community members steps they can take to create a greener and healthier environment where students and staff can thrive.