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October 2016 eNews 

Recess is really rocking in Rhode Island!  It’s not only an essential part of the school day for the health of RI children, but’s the law

Barrington Public Schools made sure parents, teachers and students know about the new law and that recess is valued through Back-to-School and Open House notices.

Superintendent Michael Messore sent out the following email to all staff and parents:   
Recess Regulations – Rhode Island (RI) passed new regulations requiring all elementary schools to provide students with 20 minutes of sustained recess. Although our schools offered students 20 minutes of recess in previous years, we have updated our schedules to include additional time for transition, to ensure that students have an opportunity for a sustained 20 minutes of play during the lunch block in grades K-5. In addition, K-3 schools provide students with an additional 10-minute morning recess break to encourage movement and play. 

Kudos to Barrington!!  What is your school/district doing about recess? Share your thoughts on Twitter with the hashtag #RecessRocksinRI

Breakfast for School Leaders 2016

What a great way to kick off the school year!  Over 300 school and community wellness leaders attended our recent Breakfast event.  It was an incredible morning of sharing and learning.  All presentations and folder handouts (plus great photos!) from the program are available HERE.

We learned about: to meet teens "where they are" in terms of educating them about their own wellness, to empower students to take charge of wellness in their schools, school wellness regulations to incorporate into district wellness policies, and one district is re-focusing on the importance of recess in its elementary schools.

We were also introduced to a free before-school physical activity program (BOKS) available through the Reebok Foundation and treated to a fun demonstration by an enthusiastic BOKS team from East Greenwich!  

A big thank you to all of our exhibitors who also provided guests with lots of valuable information. All resources shared at the Breakfast (and photos!) are available HERE.


Through the generosity of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of RI, Playworks is offering another free PLAYSHOP introductory workshop on making recess great in your school!  

(Read an overview on this successful initiative and see the eighteen schools that participated in the spring HERE.)

Learn how your school can experience:
  • An increase in “free” but physically active play
  • A decrease in bullying
  • An improvement in overall school climate
  • A reduction in disciplinary incidents
  • More participation in academics and an increase in students’ abilities to focus on class activities

Thursday, November 3, 2016
4:30 - 7:30 pm
Asa Messer Elementary 
1655 Westminster St., Providence

Crunch an Apple for Food Day

Is your school participating in the Great RI Apple Crunch on October 24th to celebrate Food Day? Talk with your food service provider (or contact Farm to Cafeteria Director Kimberly Clark at Farm Fresh RI) to purchase some RI-grown apples for everyone in the cafeteria to bite into when the state celebrates Food Day!!   

School Garden Grant program is NOW OPEN!

Created in partnership with FoodCorps, the School Garden Grant program provides a $2,000 monetary grant to support an edible educational garden on the grounds of a K-12 school. Schools, or a non-profit organization working in partnership with a school, may apply.

Application Open: September 1st, 2016
Application Closed: October 31, 2016 at 6pm EST
Review Period: Winter 2016 
Notification to All Applicants: February 15, 2017

Student Voice

The RI Department of Education honors student voice by posting compelling essays on their website.  This essay, written by a Lincoln High School senior, focuses on the VALUE OF RECESS FOR ALL STUDENTS.  Something to think about!

All for One and One for All: Recess in High Schools

Derek Degnan

When the word “recess” is brought up in conversation, most people think of elementary school kids running around a playground. Therefore, when people hear “recess in high school,” thoughts of immediate doubt cross their mind. The stigma of recess being a play period for children overshadows what recess really is - a time for physical activity not only for play, but to positively affect the minds and bodies of the participants. Through extensive research, I came across many positive benefits recess offers....READ MORE

URI School Garden Conference coming up soon

Saturday, October 15, 2016
8:30 am - 3:30 pm
URI Kingston Campus

Whether you’re rehabbing an existing garden, starting from scratch or looking to expand, we’ll share best practices for a successful school gardening season.
  • FIND school garden curriculum and gardening resources.
  • GAIN SUPPORT for the garden from teachers, administrators, parents and the wider community.
  • PLAN ahead for summer garden care.
  • CONNECT to the network of local school gardeners!
More info and registration


Upcoming Webinars

Wellness Wednesday: Energize Employee Wellness in Your School

Hosted by AFHK

Healthy schools need healthy role models! When students see staff practicing what they preach, they are more likely to want to practice those healthy behaviors themselves. It's important for all school staff, whether or not they are members of the school health team, to practice healthy role modeling to support and encourage healthy habits among students. Join Action for Healthy Kids’ Wellness Wednesday webinar on employee wellness to learn how to encourage staff to keep wellness at the forefront!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016 | 30 minutes
4:00 PM (ET)

TX: SHACS in Action - Partnering for School Health - Focusing on Social & Emotional Wellbeing

Hosted by Texas Action for Healthy Kids

This month’s SHAC spotlight is on the Whole Child component of Counseling, Psychological, and Social Services (services provided to improve students’ mental, emotional, and social health). These services improve the health of the students while impacting the health of the school environment. This month’s webinar will showcase districts who are approaching the social and emotional wellness of their students and share resources they’ve found helpful.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 | 60 minutes
12:30 PM (ET)


School Breakfast: Breakfast in the Classroom Beyond Elementary Schools

Hosted by AFHK

Join us to learn more on how to incorporate Breakfast in the Classroom models in secondary schools with success. Hear the pros and cons of this successful model and strategies for success.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 | 60 minutes
4:00 PM (ET)


Getting Started on School Wellness: What Parents Need to Know

Hosted by AFHK

What's the best approach for accomplishing your school wellness goals? Who's who at your school, and how can teamwork help you? How can wellness policies help you achieve your goals? To become a successful advocate for healthy schools, parents need to know how to build awareness, support and momentum to make wellness a priority at their school. Learn how to make the case for a healthier school and engage your school community to support your efforts.

Thursday, October 27, 2016 | 60 minutes
2:00 PM (ET)


Going for the Gold in School Wellness: How to Apply for HealthierUS School Challenge: Smarter Lunchrooms Initiative

Hosted by AFHK

Does your school promote health and wellness for your students? Get recognized and receive funding for your efforts by applying for the HealthierUS School Challenge: Smarter Lunchrooms (HUSSC: SL) initiative with help from Action for Healthy Kids!

Thursday, November 3, 2016 | 60 minutes 
4:00 PM (ET)


TX: Partnering for School Health - Successful Outdoor Education Programs

Hosted by Texas Action for Healthy Kids

Texas Action for Healthy Kids, Texas Dept. of Agriculture, Texas Dept. of State Health Services and Texas Education Agency are joining together to present five webinars during the 2016-17 school year. This webinar will explore successful Outdoor Education programs.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016 | 45 minutes
10:00 AM (ET)


Wellness Wednesday: Easy Nutrition Messages

Hosted by AFHK

Join us for our November Wellness Wednesday Webinar on Easy Nutrition Messages. Discover quick and easy messages to share, nutrition education messaging and increase awareness of healthy eating among students and parents.  Both messaging and methods of distribution will be discussed.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016 | 30 minutes
4:00 PM (ET)


Get Your Community Involved! Engaging Volunteers for a Healthier School

Hosted by AFHK

For your school wellness program to be successful, it is vital to engage key groups of volunteers to support your action plan and be partners in your efforts to create a healthier school environment. These key groups include parents and other family members, school staff, school board members, community organizations and local business owners. These partnerships can improve student learning by promoting consistent messages about healthy behaviors and provide access to additional resources and volunteers. This webinar features strategies and practical pointers to engage families and community members as volunteers in your healthy school initiatives.

Thursday, November 17, 2016 | 60 minutes
2:00 PM (ET)

RI Healthy Schools Coalition connects the RI school community,
providing direct support for district school wellness work to create
and sustain healthy school environments for all children.
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