By Janelle Fisher
HOWARD – Bay View Middle School recently joined the ranks of America’s Healthiest Schools, a recognition bestowed by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation based on a school’s dedication to advancing physical, mental and social health. emotions of its students, staff and families.
The 2022 list of America’s Healthiest Schools includes 406 schools in 26 states, and Bay View Middle School is one of two Wisconsin schools to qualify.
Standards used to judge include increased family and community engagement, enhanced social-emotional health and learning, staff well-being, improved nutrition and access to food, implementing a local school wellness policy, strengthening physical education and activity, promoting tobacco-free schools, enriching health education and supporting school health services.
Bay View Middle School Principal Steve Meyers said the award reflects the many years of work the school has put into the health of its community.
“The school has a history of emphasizing school health and well-being and has received state accolades for the past two decades,” he said. “These programs have provided direction on how to provide effective programs and services that will help students, staff and families learn and develop healthy habits and lives. Recognition validates the school’s past work and motivates the school to go even further.
One Bay View Middle School program in particular, Meyers said, gives students the tools to help each other live healthy lifestyles.
“One of our major programming efforts has been the development of a student-based wellness leadership team called SWAG (Student Wellness Awareness Group),” he said. “Students who participate in SWAG learn and promote wellness, fitness and healthy lifestyles through a variety of school and community activities. These student leaders then promote and model for other students what they experience and learn. Teachers Kaitlyn Bieszk and Teresa Van Nuland are the club’s advisors and deserve a lot of credit for the school’s health and welfare.
In addition to teachers serving as advisors and mentors for the school’s wellness programs, Meyers said it’s really a team effort to implement programs and improve school health. .
“Bay View didn’t earn recognition on its own,” he said. “By collaborating with Howard-Suamico School District departments such as Nutrition Services, Student Services, Teaching and Learning, and Athletics, our health and wellness programs and services have grown stronger. Children have better access and are eating healthier than ever at school. We have more student athletes participating. Physical education and health classes focus more on lifelong skills.
Meyers said the school isn’t just focused on physical health.
“One of the biggest areas of increased interest and opportunity has been in the area of social-emotional health. Our student services department supports us in this important area.
Meyers said while the well-being of her students has always been a priority at Bay View, the effects of COVID-19 have raised several social and emotional health concerns that the school has developed a plan to address.
“Coming out of the pandemic, student health and well-being is a national concern – not just physical health, but also socially and emotionally,” he said. “Our district, our school and our parents have seen this in our students. We heard their concerns personally and through our survey data. In response, our School Improvement Coordinator, now Acting Bay View Principal Heath Garland, led our staff in developing a School Improvement Plan that really kept us focused. We developed a Critically Important Goal (WIG) three years ago to focus on the emotional and social health of our students. We have focused teaching and programming on learning, developing skills, supporting and connecting students to resources that will help them be healthier.
This award doesn’t mean those efforts will end, Meyers said.
“Being named one of America’s Healthiest Schools is strong validation of the impact and benefits of the school’s efforts,” he said. “Still, an award like this is hardly a grateful accomplishment that we have achieved. It’s more of a mandate that we continue to model the work we’ve done and improve further. Our work won’t be done until every student is healthier and feels a greater sense of belonging. No one can claim that the healthier students, teachers, and families are, the better they will learn, grow, and be. We hope to be an (even) healthier American school next year.