COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

P.O. BOX 2120

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120

SUPTS. MEMO NO. 243

December 3, 2004

INFORMATIONAL

TO:

Division Superintendents

 

FROM:

Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction

 

SUBJECT:

Governors Nutrition and Physical Activity Scorecard and Awards Program

 

The Department of Education is pleased to announce an important role for public schools in Governor Warners new Healthy Virginians initiative. The Governor has launched his initiative to promote health and wellness, reduce health care costs, and combat obesity, hypertension, and other preventable diseases among state employees, public school students, Medicaid recipients, and the public. As key participants in the program, all public schools are encouraged to support proper nutrition and increased physical activity contributing to student health, a critical factor affecting learning.

 

The Governor has created the Governors Nutrition and Physical Activity Scorecard and Awards Program to provide information about best practices in schools for nutrition and physical fitness and to recognize schools for implementing these practices. The Web-based, interactive scorecard will give schools an opportunity to measure their progress in building a foundation for student wellness against recognized standards.

 

Schools are in a unique position to promote health practices that support student achievement. Studies have demonstrated that increased physical activity and proper nutrition lead to higher academic achievement. In particular, school breakfast programs have been shown to be effective in enhancing academic performance and improving the quality of students diets. Physical activity also contributes to increased concentration; improved mathematics, reading, and writing test scores; and reduced disruptive behavior.

 

To be eligible for the award, schools must establish a team consisting of the school principal or designee, the school nutrition manager, the school health and physical education program coordinator, the division school nutrition director, and the division health and physical education program coordinator. Using the Governors Nutrition and Physical Activity Scorecard, the team can analyze current school practices and measure them against research-based practices that support physical activity and good nutrition.

 

Each item on the scorecard is weighted with a point value. To earn an award, schools must accumulate a minimum number of points in both physical activity and nutrition. Depending on the total points accumulated, schools will be eligible for one of three awards: Gold, Silver, or Bronze. Schools that achieve Gold, Silver, or Bronze award status will be recognized by the Governor.

 

The interactive Web-based scorecard will be available soon. School personnel interested in viewing the scorecard and the descriptions of best practices can download a sample version at www.healthyvirginians.virginia.gov/Students/Scorecard.cfm. Schools are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to measure progress towards creating a healthy school environment.

 

Should you have questions pertaining to nutrition, please contact Lynne Fellin, acting director of school nutrition programs, at Lynne.Fellin@doe.virginia.gov or (804) 225-2074. Questions related to physical activity should be directed to Vanessa Wigand, health education, physical education, and driver education specialist, at Vanessa.Wigand@doe.virginia.gov or (804) 225-3300. General questions regarding the implementation of the award should be directed to Cynthia Cave, director of student services, at Cynthia.Cave@doe.virginia.gov or (804) 225-2818.

JLD/CC/mae