East Hawaii News

Eight Big Island Schools Awarded For Wellness

January 22, 2016, 2:17 PM HST
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File photo by Jamilia Epping.

File photo by Jamilia Epping.

Eight Big Island schools are among 84 throughout the state to be announced by the Hawai’i Department of Health as schools that will receive “Excellence in Wellness” awards this spring.

DOH’s Safety and Wellness Survey recognized 84 schools across the state, including Keaa’u High School, Paauilo Elementary & Intermediate, Pahoa High & Intermediate, de Silva Elementary, Hilo Intermediate, Honaunau Elementary, Kohala High, and Waikoloa School, for meeting over 90 percent of the Wellness Guidelines during the 2014-2015 school year.

The number of schools meeting the criteria nearly doubled from 45 schools in the 2013-2014 school year.

Recognition awards, co-sponsored by the Hawai’i Department of Health and Action for Healthy kids, will be presented to school principals during annual fitness meets and recognition events throughout the state.

“The increase in support for wellness in our schools is notable, and we hope that this momentum will continue,” said Director of Health Dr. Virginia Pressler. “This data demonstrates the successful partnership we have with the DOE to strengthen implementation and monitor the Wellness Guidelines as we move forward.”

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DOH administers SAWS each year to track the implementation of the guidelines. Survey respondents met an average of 82 percent of the DOE Wellness Guidelines in 2014-2015.

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Highlights from the most recent SAWS include 100 percent of school meals meeting or exceeding federal nutrient standards, Health and Physical Education classes aligning with Hawai’i Content and Performance Standards at 94 and 97 percent of school, respectively, and students having at least 20 minutes of supervised recess a day, with 84 percent of schools encouraging students to be physically active.

“Healthy habits not only result in a student’s physical wellness, but also contribute to a successful pathway in college and career readiness,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi, “Implementing wellness practices is an important element to ensuring that students are prepared for life after high school.”

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