September 22, 2008

Walls Gets Funds for Fitness — John D. Bower School Health Grant Renewed

Walls Elementary is one of 10 public school districts in the state recently awarded a second John D. Bower, M.D., School Health Network Grant through the Mississippi Department of Educaton, Office of Healthy Schools.

Funded by The Bower Foundation, the $91,000 three-year (2008 through 2011) grant will support the further implementation of a Coordinated School Health Program. This program integrates children's health and academic needs so that all students can become fit, healthy and ready to succeed.

"We are honored to continue our involvement with this prestigious network of schools," said Milton Kuykendall, superintendent of DeSoto County Schools. "Three years ago, Walls Elementary School was selected as one of 10 schools across Mississippi to participate in this program and receive a $100,000 grant. They used these funds to transform their playground, adding equipment for every age group; have weight-management programs and health promotions for their staff; improve nutrition services; offer additional physical education opportunities; and encourage family involvement."

Kuykendall said Walls Elementary also has received grants to build a walking track (Alcoa Foundation), and was chosen to become a "Project Fit America School" (Blue Cross & Blue Shield Foundation). When a school is selected for Project Fit, it receives an outdoor gym that improves students' upper body strength, and indoor equipment to be used on rainy days.

"At Walls Elementary, students are offered a choice of salad or a regular school lunch. All students are allowed water bottles in the classroom. A new convi-oven was installed at the school to make baked products taste as if they were fried," said Becky Kelley, principal. "We are so pleased to have our grant extended with an additional $91,000. We know constantly improving the health and wellness of our students and staff also improves student achievement."

Originally published by Special to My Life .

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