Today, Interim Superintendent of Schools Mamie J. Perkins surprised the principals at South River High School and Shipley’s Choice Elementary School to announce that their schools are now AACPS Wellness Schools of Distinction.  The award is given annually recognizing schools that demonstrate a high priority for the health of students, staff, and school support­ers by going beyond the curriculum to produce positive outcomes for the entire school community.

“This award speaks to the importance that we place on not only educating young people, but also supporting the overall well-being and viability of the entire school community,” said Ms. Perkins.  “By addressing wellness, we are making sure that our students and those who support them are fulfilled and sustained to achieve.”

In order to win the prestigious honor, schools had to show significant effort in establishing initiatives that address at least six of the eight components of a coordinated school health program as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control: health education, physical activity, allied health personnel partnerships, nutrition, mental wellness, school environment, staff health, and family/community involvement.

From fundraising efforts that incorporate physical activity to stress management sessions during professional development, each winning school’s approach to creating a culture of wellness is unique to their needs with one common factor:  collaboration and motivation to be a well community.

Since 2011 six schools have earned the award, which is an extension of the AACPS Wellness Council and policy.