Farmington Area Public Schools has been awarded a grant for $19,094 from Dakota County Public Health Department to support student health and wellness.
The grant funds activities that build on the culture of health for the district’s youngest students. Teachers and staff will be trained on strategies to add physical activity to academic lessons in the early childhood program. Early childhood students will also be introduced to basic gardening concepts and skills.
The funding complements a grant from Dakota Electric that provides heart rate monitors that students at Gateway Academy and Dodge Middle School use to monitor their activity level. “We are teaching the students how to wear the monitors, what they measure, and how to interpret the data — all of my classes have been off the charts both in terms of production and excitement,” reports Beau Price, Physical Education teacher at Gateway Academy. In addition, Boeckman Middle School will start a school-based agriculture program, and the athletic department will explore introducing healthier items in concessions stands.
This is the seventh year that the Farmington Area Public Schools has received funding for student wellness activities. Previous projects include changing vending machine and high school snack shop foods to exceed national guidelines, increasing school breakfast participation, active classroom training for secondary teachers, increasing employee wellness programs, implementing a healthy snack cart in the elementary schools, providing salad bars and increasing fruit and vegetable options in the cafeteria, installing a school-based agriculture project at Meadowview Elementary School and adopting a comprehensive district Wellness Policy that was recognized by the Centers for Disease Control.
These projects are supported by the Dakota County Public Health Department’s Statewide Health Improvement Program grant from the Minnesota Department of Health. The primary focus of this funding is to reduce chronic disease in various community settings including schools.