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Schools honored for healthy habits (video)

CMSD hosted an awards ceremony Tuesday to honor schools, principals, teachers and parents who are promoting healthy eating and exercise habits throughout the District.

The awards ceremony recognized efforts at more than 20 of CMSD’s 100 schools. It followed a morning of education in ways to encourage better nutrition and physical activity by students, school staff and families.

Zerrine Bailey, who works full time with the District for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, led the program. The American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation fund the nonprofit Alliance, which fights childhood obesity and promotes healthy living.

Bailey began working with the District slightly more than a year ago. The Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation, Saint Luke’s Foundation and the United Way of Greater Cleveland provided a three-year, $650,000 grant to support her work.

The Alliance used to have one staff member, based in Cincinnati, who covered all of Ohio.

Jodi Mitchell, program officer for the Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation, and Heather Torok, senior program officer for the St. Luke’s Foundation, said the more intense focus on CMSD recognizes the link between good health and students’ academic performance and shows that healthy living ranks high among community priorities.

“It was really a strong investment on the part of funders in the community to work with CMSD,” Torok said. “We wanted to create that culture of health in our schools.”
Tuesday’s program highlighted various strategies employed in schools, such as serving healthy snacks, holding yoga time for staff, conducting family fitness nights and integration of movement into academic subjects.
Groups of educators danced during a demonstration of the "Jammin' Minutes"featured at all-male Ginn Academy. (See video at top.) They were led by Terrika Kelley, who works full time at Ginn for HealthCorps, an organization founded by heart surgeon and TV host Dr. Mehmet Oz and his wife, Lisa, to fight child obesity. 

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation sponsors the Healthy Schools program, which recognizes schools that promote healthy habits. Ginn Academy was honored last September with bronze status, the third-highest award.

Louisa May Alcott School was recently notified that it has earned bronze status for this year. Other schools that have applied to the program and are awaiting a decision include Ginn, Harvey Rice, Clara E. Westropp, Miles Park and Artemus Ward.