Wellness With a Side of Breakfast
West Point Elementary School
West Point, NE
During the 2015- 2016 school year, the Wellness Committee at West Point Elementary School in West Point, Nebraska implemented a Morning Fitness Club after observing students waiting idly outside before allowed into the building in the morning. Principal Moran, a former football coach, saw an opportunity to kick start the day with fun physical activity. It was an instant hit with students, parents and staff.
After the success of the Morning Fitness Club, the Wellness Committee focused on a startling trend – many students were arriving to school on an empty stomach. Over 50% of West Point Elementary students qualify for free or reduced price meals, and many were going hungry in the mornings since several buses don’t arrive in time for students to eat breakfast before school and some parent work schedules make some students frequently tardy.
The Wellness Committee applied for and was awarded an school breakfast grant during the 2016-2017 school year, thanks to support from Aetna. The grant helped West Point Elementary offer a Grab and Go Breakfast program to complement their Morning Fitness Club. Now, students can come to school early, participate in fitness circuits and then grab a nutritious breakfast bag on the way to class. Within months, school breakfast participation increased by an average of 127% over the previous year.
“I have had fewer visits from students who are hungry because they had a grab and go breakfast bag,” said school nurse Mary Brockman.
To celebrate the success of their latest wellness initiative, West Point Elementary hosted a week-long Every Kid Healthy celebration. Every morning, students and staff, including the adjoining junior/senior high schoolers, were invited to take part in wellness walks or Fitness Club before heading to breakfast. Over 180 students participated in K-12! Wellness Committee sponsored healthy treats to conclude the festivities, including whole-grain rice krispie bars, raisins, and low-fat ice cream bars. More energy, better focus and fewer tummy grumbles make Grab and Go Breakfast and Morning Fitness Club the perfect wellness combination at West Point Elementary.