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Inaugural Blue Apple Health Education Awards Honor 10 Schools for Outstanding Health Programs
Date:4/3/2009

High Schools in Toledo, Ohio and Windham, Maine Gain Highest Honors; Schools in Bronx, N.Y., DOD School in West Germany Among Honorees

TAMPA, Fla., April 3 /PRNewswire/ -- High schools in Toledo, Ohio, and Windham, Maine, were honored here today for their outstanding school health education programs with the inaugural Blue Apple Health Education Awards by the American Association for Health Education (AAHE).

The health education programs at Whitmer High School in Toledo, Ohio, and Windham High School in Windham, Maine, were awarded the Blue Apple Award with distinction, tying for the association's highest honor.

The Blue Apple will be presented annually in recognition of individual school's leadership and commitment to providing quality health education that promotes healthy behaviors and increased learning for all students.

The Blue Apple Health Education Awards were presented at the American Association for Health Education (AAHE) awards ceremony held at the annual American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (AAHPERD) and the AAHE convention here.

"All of our Blue Apple Awards schools are models for other schools and school districts to emulate. They get it. They recognize the importance of educating students about health and know that healthy, informed students perform better in the classroom while giving them the knowledge and skills needed to adopt and maintain healthy behavior," said Katherine Wilbur, former president of AAHE and chairperson of the Blue Apple Health Education Awards program. "We congratulate each of these schools on their commitment to health education and healthy students."

In addition to the two schools taking the highest honor, other schools honored with the Blue Apple were:

  • Validus Preparatory Academy in Bronx, N.Y.
  • Kaiserslautern Middle School in Kaiserslautern, Germany (Department of Defense Dependents School)
  • Chula Vista High School in Chula Vista, Calif.
  • Mankato High Schools in Mankato, Minn.
  • Mankato Middle Schools in Mankato, Minn.
  • Mt. Ararat Middle School in Topsham, Maine
  • North High School in Eau Claire, Wis.
  • Parkside High School in Salisbury, Md.

The Blue Apple criteria are based on the best practices as outlined in U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Health Education Standards: Achieving Excellence and Characteristics of Effective Health Education Curricula. The Blue Apple Awards applications were reviewed by the AAHE School Health Education Recognition Awards Committee. Essays from each of the honorees and video interviews with the schools of distinction are available at www.BlueAppleAward.org.

"The Blue Apple Awards is a long awaited national recognition for schools demonstrating outstanding health education programs," says Becky Smith, executive director of AAHE. "Schools who are doing well in health education really need to be celebrated. AAHE is very pleased to partner with HealthTeacher for this important initiative."

Following is a summary of the programs of the Blue Apple "with distinction" winners:

Whitmer High School, Toledo, Ohio

The health education program at Whitmer High School was honored for its comprehensive approach. A faculty of five teaches health education five days a week for one semester, focusing on the skills and concepts needed to accomplish healthy behavior outcomes. The school offers an elective class, "Health Promotion," in which small groups of students create projects for the school and community with a focus on advancing health. Students participate in a "Youth Advocates" group that provides health-promotion strategies for the school. The students created a "Snackwise" program, aimed to inform students about healthy snacks in vending machines and in the school cafeteria. Snacks were labeled with either a green, yellow or red sticker - green being the healthiest option with red-stickered items being the least healthy.

Windham High School, Windham, Maine

At Windham, students and teachers "walk the walk" regarding health education, beginning each classroom/subject time with a 10- to 15-minute "wellness walk" around the school grounds or inside the "wellness wing" of the school. The health education program, led by certified health education teachers, includes health elective courses ("Life After High School" and Foods /Wellness-Parenting/Child Development) to meet the one full credit in health education for graduation. Students maintain a wellness portfolio that includes individual fitness profiles and personalized health goals that follow a student throughout their high school career.

Wilbur cited the importance of health education in schools to help students overcome the many negative influences on our children and youth's health.

"It is critically important that our schools include health education as a core subject - positive health behaviors relate to improved health and increase academic achievement," Wilbur said.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, our nation's youth is at risk with 14 percent of all American youth (grades 9-12) were classified as overweight.

"Unless we help children and teens identify and adopt healthy behaviors through education, our next generation of adults will be at risk for a variety of health conditions including heart disease, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure," said Wilbur.

The Blue Apple Awards program is underwritten by HealthTeacher(R), an online health education curriculum that is utilized by health educators, school nurses, physical education teachers, classroom teachers, community organizers and parents in 50 states and 14 foreign countries.

"Our hope is that, by partnering with AAHE on the Blue Apple Health Education Awards, parents and teachers and students will recognize the importance of health education in their schools and work together to make it an important part of every child's education in America," said Scott McQuigg, chief executive officer of HealthTeacher.

ABOUT THE BLUE APPLE AWARDS

The Blue Apple Health Education Awards is an annual program honoring schools that serve as models of excellence for others across the nation in the area of school health education programs. Presented by the American Association for Health Education (AAHE) and underwritten by HealthTeacher, an online health education curriculum, the program recognizes a commitment to excellence in school health education programs. For more information, visit www.BlueAppleAward.org.


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SOURCE HealthTeacher
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