We are pleased to announce that 37 CPS schools will be recognized today for meeting high standards for student health and wellness through Go for the Gold! Twenty-eight of the schools have been certified for meeting USDA standards for healthy food, fitness, and nutrition education set by the HealthierUS School Challenge. Certification for another nine CPS schools is pending. In the Midwest, this is the largest number of schools in one district to achieve the HealthierUS School Challenge.
Go for the Gold is a partnership of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and Healthy Schools Campaign with the USDA’s Midwest Region and the Illinois State Board of Education Department of Nutrition. The HealthierUS School Challenge is the program that First Lady Michelle Obama is urging schools to pursue. The 37 schools being recognized join 19 CPS schools that earned Go for the Gold certification last year.
Since its launch in August 2010, Go for the Gold has connected Chicago Public Schools with health and wellness resources ranging from nutrition education initiatives to sports and physical activity programs. The challenge includes standards for school food, physical activity, physical education and nutrition education. The campaign builds on the school food program that CPS rolled out for the 2010-11 school year, which meets and in many cases exceeds the gold standard of the HealthierUS School Challenge.
“Go for the Gold brings together parents, school leaders, chefs, school nurses, and many others to support schools in providing a healthy environment for Chicago children,” said Rochelle Davis, President and CEO of Healthy Schools Campaign.
The following schools will be recognized for all their hard work in prioritizing health and wellness:
- Andrew Jackson Elementary Language Academy
- Edgar Allan Poe Classical School
- Gale Math and Science
- John C. Coonley Elementary School
- Jonathan Burr Elementary School
- LaSalle Language Academy
- Skinner North Classical School*
- South Loop Elementary
- Stone Elementary Scholastic Academy
- Adlai E. Stevenson Elementary School
- Arthur A. Libby Elementary School
- Ashburn Community Elementary School
- Bradwell School of Excellence
- Charles R Darwin Elementary School
- Edward Everett Elementary School
- Edward White Career Academy*
- Elizabeth Peabody Elementary School
- Florence Nightingale Elementary School*
- Friedrich Ludwig Jahn Elementary School
- George Washington Elementary School*
- Louis Pasteur Elementary School
- Nathan S. Davis Elementary
- Richard J. Daley Elementary Academy
- Thomas Chalmers Specialty Elementary School*
- Wendell Smith Elementary School*
- William T. Sherman Elementary School*
- Bronzeville Lighthouse Charter School
- Charles Hammond Elementary School*
- Charles W. Earle Elementary School
- Douglas Taylor Elementary School
- Fredric Chopin Elementary School
- Jackie Robinson Elementary School
- Johnnie Colemon Elementary Academy*
- Johnson School of Excellence
- Matthew A. Henson Elementary School
- Miriam G. Canter Middle School
- Morton School of Excellence
*Pending final approval by USDA national headquarters
“The Chicago Public Schools is proud of all of the schools being recognized today for meeting the rigorous challenge of becoming certified in the HealthierUS School Challenge,” said Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard. “Schools are critical places to make healthy eating and physical activity easy, fun, and routine, and the health of our students is integral to academic success. These schools have demonstrated their commitment to student health by undertaking the admirable and demanding task of meeting the requirements of the HealthierUS School Challenge.”
Go for the Gold aligns with city-wide and national efforts to emphasize wellness and prevention. This year Go for the Gold has received support from an obesity prevention project called Healthy Places, a joint effort of the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC). Both CPS and HSC are lead partners with Healthy Places, working to institute program and policy change and increase organizational capacity to better promote health and wellness for children across the district. Also through Healthy Places, four community-based organizations are supporting over a dozen schools in neighborhoods of high need and health disparity across Chicago to meet the criteria of the HealthierUS School Challenge and participate in Go for the Gold.
“I commend these schools for their accomplishment as this is a testimony to our city’s commitment to addressing a growing obesity rate amongst our youth,” said Dr. Bechara Choucair, CDPH Commissioner. “Our public health agenda, Healthy Chicago, identifies obesity prevention as one of the top health priorities in Chicago. These schools will set the bar for other schools and organizations around the city and will also have a direct health benefit on their students. ”
The celebration represents a milestone, as this is the largest number of schools in one district in the Midwest to meet the standards of the HealthierUS School Challenge.
“We commend Chicago Public Schools for their strong commitment toward earning certification under the HealthierUS School Challenge,’’ said Illinois State Board of Education Member Dr. Vinni Hall. “Studies have repeatedly proven that good nutrition and physical activity enhance and improve learning and academic performance. These schools have taken important steps toward helping students to understand that connection and develop successful lifelong habits.’’
“The Chicago Public Schools’ Go for the Gold campaign aims to increase the number of HealthierUS School Challenge schools, a key goal of USDA and the First Lady’s Lets Move! initiative. By meeting standards of excellence in school nutrition and physical activity, these schools are ensuring a brighter and healthier future for our nation’s young people,” said USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon.
The celebration includes a health fair, live entertainment and activities for students. A team of mascots including Benny the Bull, mascot of the Chicago Bulls and Power Panther, mascot for the USDA, will be on hand to engage students in the celebration. More than 200 parents, students, teachers, and advocates are expected to be in attendance.
Speakers include Jean-Claude Brizard, Chicago Public Schools CEO; Rochelle Davis, Healthy Schools Campaign President and CEO; Dr. Vinni Hall, Illinois State Board of Education Member; Annie Lionberger, Chicago Public Schools Manager of Health and Wellness Promotion; Audrey Rowe, Administrator, USDA Food and Nutrition Service; Tara Safonia Shelton, South Loop Elementary School Principal; Dr. Stephanie Whyte, Chicago Public Schools Chief Medical Officer; South Loop Elementary School students and more than 200 parents, teachers, and students from the schools being recognized.
Go for the Gold is supported by a Civic and Business advisory committee chaired by Karen Atwood, president of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, and Terry Mazany, president and CEO of Chicago Community Trust.
To learn more about Go for the Gold, please visit www.goforthegoldCPS.org.