For Immediate Release
May 1, 2013
School Wellness Conference stresses the connection between healthy students and academic success
Educators come from across the state for annual event
SPRINGFIELD— The research is clear: Healthy kids learn better. Educators, administrators, school nurses, food service staff and others from across Illinois will convene Friday, May 3, to discuss healthy school policies and practices during the sixth annual School Wellness Conference in Springfield. Sponsored by the Illinois State Board of Education and Action for Healthy Kids, the conference will highlight the academic benefits of a healthy school environment.
“Proper nutrition and physical fitness are essential for optimal learning,” said State Board of Education Chairman Gery J. Chico. “Good school nutrition and healthy practices are more important than ever as schools feed more children through the National School Lunch Program and we all work to help reverse the tide of childhood obesity. With the help of conferences like this one, we can develop a new generation of students who understand the importance of exercising both their minds and bodies.”
In the keynote presentation “The Learning Connection: Enhancing Academic Success Through Healthy School Environments,” speakers Rob Bisceglie, chief executive officer of Action for Healthy Kids, and Connie Mueller, former Director of Food and Nutrition Services for Bloomington District 87, will discuss the new The Learning Connection report, which is available online at http://www.actionforhealthykids.org/storage/documents/pdfs/afhk_thelearningconnection_digitaledition.pdf.
“There’s so much research showing that kids who get regular physical activity and consume nutritious foods and beverages do better in the classroom and on standardized tests,” says Bisceglie of Action for Healthy Kids. “Instilling healthy behaviors in schools and homes is not just about students’ overall health, which is obviously critical. It’s also about students’ long-term academic performance and everyone — parents, teachers, school administrators, the nation as a whole — has a stake in that.”
- Research findings shared in The Learning Connection report include:
- Students who eat breakfast have better attention and memory.
- After just 20 minutes of physical activity, brain activity improves.
- Students who were more active during school performed better on standardized tests.
Other sessions at the day-long conference will include an update on the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, and presentations on school health initiatives, new national nutrition education standards, free health and wellness programs, and employee staff wellness.
Wellness Advocates Honored
At the conference, the Illinois State Board of Education also will honor four Illinois School Wellness Advocates from across the state:
- Dawn Davis of Washington (Ill.) Community High School recently received the Teacher of the Year Award from the Illinois Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (IAHPERD). Davis has been teaching and coaching for 23 years, including the last 17 years at WHS, where she serves as the department chair.
- Sandy Noel is a former physical education teacher from Hatch Elementary School in Oak Park District 97. She is a member of the Illinois Enhanced Physical Education Taskforce and has been an active member of the Illinois Action for Healthy Kids Steering Committee since 2003. Noel is chair of the Governor’s Council on Health and Physical Fitness and previously served as chair of IAHPERD.
- Kathryn Olson of Roselle was recently named the 2012-13 Illinois School Nurse Administrator of the Year by the Illinois Association of School Nurses. She serves as the district nurse for Bensenville School District 2 in DuPage County.
- Mary Anne Wesoloski was named the Illinois School Nurse of the Year by the Illinois Association of School Nurses. Wesoloski, who has practiced as a nurse in Illinois schools for 13 years, works for Barrington School District 220, where she serves general and special education students in three elementary schools.
Sixth Annual Wellness Conference
What: The School Wellness Conference
When: 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., Friday, May 3
Where: The Springfield Hilton, 700 E. Adams St., Springfield
Visit these web resources on student nutrition and wellness for additional information:
- ISBE Nutrition and Wellness Programs Division: http://www.isbe.net/nutrition/default.htm
- Action for Healthy Kids: http://www.actionforhealthykids.org/
- Fuel Up to Play 60: http://www.fueluptoplay60.com/
- Choose MyPlate: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/
- HealthierUS School Challenge: http://teamnutrition.usda.gov/healthierUS/index.html
Follow us: Visit the official ISBE website at http://www.isbe.net.