Published On: Wed, Nov 23rd, 2011

HPS earns state-wide recognition

HARTINGTON — Hartington Public School has received the Bronze Award through the Healthier US School Challenge along with a check for $500.
The Healthier US School Challenge, is a voluntary initiative established in 2004 to recognize those schools that have created healthier school environments through promotion of nutrition and physical activity.

The Healthier US School Challenge was incorporated into the  “Let’s Move” campaign in 2010 in an effort to raise a healthier generation of children.
The Wellness Team at Hartington Public worked together to create a new wellness  policy for school according to school nurse Jackie Freeman.
Several programs are in place to encourage students to get more exercise.
“Fourth through sixth grade students were once again offered the opportunity to attend a 10 week after school program called Happy Feet.  New bike racks were put in to encourage biking to school and we participated in a “Walk to School” day to promote walking to school as well,” Freeman said.
The school sponsored a 5K and family fun run in the spring.  All students in grades K-6 participate in a monthly fitness challenge at school and receive special tokens for participating.
A section of concrete was put in behind the school that completed an entire paved walking path around the school building.

“Approximately three and one half laps complete a mile and students and staff are encouraged to use this to promote physical activity throughout the school day,” Freeman said. “The staff participated in a walking program with monthly incentives for completing their goals.”
Plans are in place for students to have the use of a permanent Frisbee Golf Course at school.
“A permanent Frisbee Golf Course will be put in the ground in the spring and a portable unit has been purchased for use both inside and outdoors,” Freeman said.
The school contracted with an exercise science teacher to work with the junior high  and high school students on proper weight room techniques.
The lunch program made changes which encourage healthy eating.
Information on nutrition was provided to the students by the cafeteria staff and through classroom presentations that were done by Cedar County Extension Educator Jackie Steffen.
“Our students did receive extra education on nutrition, specifically portion sizes,” Freeman said.
Colorful nutrition posters were added in the lunch room.
The Wellness Team also encouraged the start of a breakfast program, with plans to  implement the program in the fall.
Carrot Man, a new school mascot, and other fruits and veggie characters walked in the Homecoming Parade this year passing out 100 calorie snacks rather than candy.
Hartington Public was one of four schools in Nebraska to be recognized for improving the quality of food that is served and for providing students with nutrition and physical education along with activity opportunities.
Messiah Lutheran Elementary School in Lincoln, along with Palisade and Wauneta Attendance Centers for the Wauneta-Palisade Public Schools in Chase County were also named as recipients of the HealthierUS School Challenge Bronze Award.