Building a Healthy Mississippi

Northside Elementary is Mississippi's Healthiest School in 2015

Grant Awarded: $50,000

Walnut, MS

The Clinton Public School District is a shining example of performance across the state and nation, maintaining a high level of excellence in all areas of children’s education. Because the district recognizes that health is an essential foundation to student achievement, it is emphasized as one of the district’s overall strategic goals. The Clinton Public School District has long held the motto – “Where Excellence is the Only Option.” Northside Elementary School is upholding this value by ensuring students and staff possess the knowledge and skills necessary to make healthy choices that promote healthy lifestyles.

Northside Elementary School has increasingly implemented school health policies by ensuring healthy food and beverage choices are available at school events; monitoring school lunches through creative activities; encouraging students to increase their participation in physical activities; encouraging staff to improve their health; ensuring that the school environment is healthy, safe, and conducive to learning; encouraging the family and community to participate in school activities, and when possible, linking the health curriculum to practical activities.

Each school year, Northside Elementary School promotes National School Breakfast Week and National School Lunch Week. The school hosts events and activities to encourage students to eat healthy and engage in physical activity. The cafeteria is an extension of the classroom with nutrition education posters and handouts to help students understand the connection of how eating healthy is beneficial. Students are encouraged to submit their favorite healthy recipes for the "Taste of Clinton Public School District" student recipe contest. Winning recipes are considered for school lunch menu items.

Northside Elementary School is a true role model of health and wellness for schools across Mississippi. With the $50,000 grant award, Northside Elementary School plans to purchase playground equipment for students and fitness equipment for staff.

2015 Healthy School - Forrest County Agricultural High School

Grant Awarded: $25,000

Forrest County Agricultural High School

Situated on 320 acres of rolling hills and vistas, Forrest County Agricultural High School strives to provide the best opportunities for their students, staff and community. Since its creation in 1911, the school has seen many changes and has become one of the most outstanding schools in the state. Forrest County Agricultural High School recognizes the importance of more than just academics. The School Wellness Council meets every nine weeks to evaluate their wellness plan and to develop innovative programs to encourage students and staff to choose healthy lifestyles and implement creative teaching styles.

The Horticulture program is the newest addition to the offering of agriculture classes at Forrest County Agricultural High School. Horticulture, known as the “Green Industry,” teaches students the necessary skill of growing plants in greenhouses or nurseries, and students have the opportunity to experience the daily challenges of maintaining sports turf on the Aggie athletic fields. They learn how to cultivate a vegetable garden and how to lengthen the growing season with the use of High Tunnel Technology. Students also learn how to manage fruit trees and how floral designs are fabricated.

With the $25,000 grant award, Forrest County Agricultural High School plans to enhance the school’s walking track, provide nutritional and physical wellness classes and purchase exercise equipment to provide a safe place on campus for students and staff to exercise.

2015 Healthy School - Ocean Springs Upper Elementary School

Grant Awarded: $25,000

Ocean Springs Upper Elementary School

Ocean Springs Upper Elementary, located on the beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast, thrives on being a healthy place for students to learn and grow. The Ocean Springs Upper Elementary School culture includes health and wellness and believes that students who eat healthy and exercise achieve both academically and socially.

Healthy nutrition is a priority at Ocean Springs Upper Elementary School. The school's nutrition manager provides healthy eating lessons to students during the popular Every Kid Healthy Week. Nutrition education is reinforced with hands-on learning through caring for the school’s garden. Students water, weed and learn how to prepare healthy meals using fresh produce from the garden. In health class, students learn how to prepare healthy snacks to take home to share with their families, and teachers encourage parents to provide healthy food options for classroom parties.

With the $25,000 grant award, Ocean Springs Upper Elementary School plans to purchase physical education equipment for students and fitness equipment for the staff exercise room. Plans also include creating two nutrition labs to host healthy cooking demonstrations and expanding the school garden program to include an irrigation system and a portable hand washing station.

About the Judges

Healthy School Awards applications are evaluated by a panel of known health and wellness champions from across Mississippi. Judges for the 2015 Healthy Hometown program were: