Healthy Communities

Success Stories

Springdale Mothers on the Move Program

Dalana Rodgers, a teacher at the Early Childhood Center in Springdale has implemented a successful new program related to family and community involvement and the Joint Use Agreement trail. The Moms on the Move (MOM) program encourages the use of the walking trail that was put in around their building to promote wellness for their families and relationships between mothers. The program kicked off on October 1st and in three weeks mothers have walked a total of 165.5 miles. Students on the playground are encouraging the moms as they walk the track and teachers are talking about the importance of being active with the students. They have seen many moms walking together and developing relationships outside of the home. Due to increases in popularity they have had to scale back the amount of tracking they do to report the outcome for the whole school to see.

Springdale - Girls on the Run

school kids in Springdale, Arkansas

Embarking on year two of implementing a School Based Health Center, known as The Wellness Center at Jones Elementary School in Springdale Arkansas, the Physician's Assistant and Licensed Clinical Social Worker looked for an educational outreach venue that would support both physical and mental health. The students at Jones are overwhelmingly the children of poverty and speak English as a second language; they lack financial, social and transportation resources to participate in organized sports or extracurricular activities. Living a few miles down the road from Bentonville Arkansas, the home of Wal-Mart, the students live in the shadow of wealth. As a complement to the Wellness Center at Jones and in efforts to improve access to physical activity and to address the childhood obesity epidemic, the personnel at Jones applied for and received a Joint Use Agreement (JUA) grant from the Arkansas Department of Education in 2010. With the $10,000 awarded in JUA funds the school district purchased supplies and materials to build a quarter mile trail on school grounds. The City of Springdale agreed to provide the manpower and equipment needed to install the trail. The JUA trail at Jones Elementary is now available for use by students, faculty and staff when school is in session and by the community at other kids in Hot Springs

The staff from the Wellness Center in recognition of the resources provided through the Wellness Center combined with the facility provided by the Joint Use Agreement trail decided to use the Girls on the Run program. The program is ideal because it addresses the physical, emotional and social needs of the child. Girls were invited to join the Girls on the Run Team and were provided with generic running shoes through the district's social service fund. They participated in physical training for six weeks as well as bonding exercises, self-esteem building activities, anti-bullying curricula and art projects. The entire process was a great success. Girls expanded their physical activity parameters, explored character traits and positive pro social interaction and experienced enhanced self-esteem through feelings of accomplishment and through recognition provided by classmates, parents and community members.

Hot Springs School District

Hot Springs Middle School has opened up a cardio lab for all employees as part of the Coordinated School Health School-Site Health Promotion effort.  It is currently open to all staff of the Hot Springs School District three nights a week.

How do you increase physical activity when there is no time in the school day and it’s not feasible to hire another physical education teacher?

Gardner Elementary found the solution with Classercise DVDs, a fun, physical workshop that can be used in the classroom. The workouts enhance the children’s endurance, flexibility, balance, coordination, and gross motor skills. They also receive healthy fitness area inside schoollifestyle messages on ways to replenish their bodies with nutritious foods and beverages. With the Classercise DVDs, teachers can schedule an activity break time anywhere in their schedule providing the students a great transition from classroom studies while giving them much needed physical exercise.

Focusing on nutrition and physical activity, Oaklawn Elementary created Individual Wellness Plans (IWP) for their students. Each student was taught how to use the plan and then asked to record at least 30 minutes a day of physical activity, listing the activities and requiring a parent’s signature. At Oaklawn, at least 65% of the students participated in the IWP. As a result, more students became involved in community programs such as the Boys & Girls Clubs and the YMCA. Many parents expressed excitement about the program because it required the child to be accountable and provided for family involvement in making smart and healthy decisions. Overall, an increase in families participating in physical activity was noticed.

Hot Springs Middle School incorporated the Presidential Physical Fitness Test to address their students’ poor nutritional habits and declining physical fitness levels. Prior to the test, class discussions, computer labs, and DVDs were utilized to educate the students on the importance of healthy eating and exercise. Then all 6th-8th grade students were given the test. This test is comprised of 5 specific tests (curl-ups, shuttle run, endurance run/walk, pull-ups and V-sit and reach). These tests measure specific fitness components: agility, flexibility, endurance, and strength. One student earned the Presidential Physical Fitness Award and 12 others earned the National Physical Fitness Award.

The high school physical education teacher and consumer science teacher taught a unit on the importance of nutrition and exercise for a healthy body. After participating in the unit, one Junior lost 87.4 pounds and showed a 36% decrease in her body mass. She said her motivation was the physical education and nutrition classes and the support she received from the teachers. Now that she has reached her goal, she plans to maintain her weight and begin toning.

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Arkansas Department of Health
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