School nationally recognized for implementing best health and wellness practices
Calabasas School in the Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District No. 35 is among the 406 schools nationwide to be named as America’s Healthiest Schools for the 2021-2022 school year. The recognition, awarded by Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a leading children’s health organization, celebrates schools’ dedication to supporting the health and well-being of students, staff, and families.
This year, schools were recognized in up to nine categories. Calabasas received recognition in the following four:
- Enriching Health Education
- Bolstering Physical Education & Activity
- Strengthening Social-Emotional Health & Learning
- Supporting School Health Services
Calabasas prioritized healthy policies and practices despite numerous challenges resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. They have continued to sustain and promote good health by:
- Creating a student-led C.A.S.H. Club. The Cougar Advocates for Student Health, is a group of students dedicated to promoting physical, emotional, and mental health. These students focus on creating more opportunities throughout the school year for all of our students to become more physically active, and support the needs of all of our students’ mental and emotional well being. Some of the organized activities include book readings, crafts, contests, and physical challenges. “This club has done a great job creating opportunities for the students at Calabasas to become more active and involved in our campus community,” said P.E. teacher Joseph Butler, who also serves as the school’s School Health and Wellness Coordinator. “Our intramural sports tournaments have been very popular with almost 100 students on average signing up for each of our events,”
- Provide ongoing training and professional development to teachers and staff on Social Emotional Learning. The teachers have incorporated best practices in order to better meet the needs of our students and families. The campus supports students’ social emotional needs and has “calming spaces” for them to practice emotional regulation. These “calming spaces” are developmentally appropriate, effective, and available to all students whenever needed. In addition to calming spaces, several of our classrooms have implemented flexible seating which helps make students feel comfortable, as well as helping them take ownership of their learning environment.
“Our campus has been working hard practicing healthy routines for some time,” said Calabasas Principal Bethany Patterson. “Though the pandemic made it challenging, we continued conveying health and fitness in diverse modes. Our Cougars met the challenge to implement healthy practices and we appreciate our community partners who helped make this a successful effort.
When asked what provided the impetus for her staff to do this work, Patterson stated, “Our initiative is to instill healthy habits and give a solid foundation to live a healthy and successful life for all our Cougars. This nationwide award recognition is impressive and we are thrilled to have received it.”
“As we enter what is predicted to be another challenging school year, we commend the awardees for their resourcefulness and dedication to addressing the acute health and well-being needs of students, staff, and families,” said Kathy Higgins, chief executive officer at Healthier Generation. “This cohort of schools exemplifies the fortitude required to serve current and future generations with empathy and care.”
Healthier Generation’s list of America’s Healthiest Schools remains one of the country’s longest-running, nationwide recognition programs honoring schools for achievements in supporting the whole health of students, teachers, and staff. Any school can connect with Healthier Generation to access trainings, resources, and technical assistance by visiting HealthierGeneration.org.
To view the complete list of awardees, visit HealthierGeneration.org/HealthiestSchools.