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News and Speeches

Schools Chancellor Walcott Announces a Record Number of Schools – 125 – That Are Receiving School Wellness Council Grants


Each school receives $2,500 funded under the Mayor’s Obesity Task Force Plan

Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott today announced that 125 schools will each receive a $2,500 School Wellness Council Grant to develop practical and innovative ways to address health education, physical education, physical activity, school nutrition, mental health, and other wellness-related programs for students, their families and the entire school community. The grants, given out each year and first awarded in 2010 to 50 schools, have expanded to 125 schools with funding under the Mayor’s Obesity Task Force Plan. There were 178 schools that applied for the grant.

The winning schools focused on making physical education and health education main components of action plans and they will receive funding along with technical assistance through mentoring and networking events. Seventeen of the schools will receive an additional $500 grant to serve as mentor schools. A wellness council functions best when there is representation from a wide range of stakeholders -- students, teachers, school nurses, administrators, school food staff, custodians, mental health providers, and community organizations.

“I am pleased to announce grants for schools to either create school wellness councils or improve their existing councils,” Chancellor Walcott said. “Schools have an important role to play in educating students about the importance of physical activity, nutrition, and good health, and school wellness councils can help support these efforts for the entire school community. Research increasingly shows a connection between fitness, good health and academic achievement. A healthy lifestyle helps our students succeed in school and in life.”

“Schools are a critical part of the City’s focus on increasing healthy behaviors,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda I. Gibbs. “Young people who start off eating nutritious food and engaging in active lifestyles are more likely to stick with those behaviors as they grow up – and can up being positive influences on their friends and family as well.”

Deputy Chancellor of Operations Kathleen Grimm, said, “This is a true community effort. Past School Wellness Council grantees have implemented exciting programs that address physical activity, nutrition, stress-management and other aspects of wellness. We are committed to helping schools support and improve the health of their students and we believe that school wellness councils are a powerful way to create change.  We encourage school staff, students and families to work together and with local partners to create a culture of wellness in their school.”

Lindsey Harr, Executive Director of the DOE’s Office of School Wellness Programs, said, “We’ve seen how members across the school community can come together through school wellness councils to strengthen physical education and health programming, and engage students, staff, and parents in caring about and working toward the health and wellness of the entire community. We’re calling this ‘School Wellness Works’ because it takes structure to make the work happen, but when it does, it can be transformative.”

The schools that received 2012-13 School Wellness Council Grants are listed here.