Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) announced that Eliot Middle School was named a 2010 School of the Year by the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports for its commitment to increased physical activity and better nutrition for students. Eliot was celebrated at the Spotlight Awards Ceremony in Sacramento, and will receive a $100,000 state-of-the art fitness center to help students stay on the road to good health.
Eliot Middle School and Webster Elementary were among only 19 schools in the Los Angeles region and 127 schools state-wide designated as finalists in the Council's 2010 Governor's Challenge Competition. The PUSD schools achieved this distinction for the second and third time, respectively.
"We are extremely proud of Eliot's students for their commitment to adopt healthier lifestyles," said PUSD Superintendent Edwin Diaz. "They have set a great example for children and adults throughout the District and the state, and this award is well-deserved."
Fourteen winners were selected from 2,649 participating schools statewide based on the percentage and number of students in the school who successfully completed the Governor's Challenge of being active 30-60 minutes a day, at least three days a week for a month.
"Our students need to develop healthy minds, bodies, and spirits to have a positive effect on our community," stated Eliot Principal, Peter Pannell. "As an urban school with a large at-risk population, sufficient, suitable and safe physical activity is imperative."
One-hundred percent of Eliot Middle School students successfully completed the Governor's Challenge this year by recording 130,324 "Active Days" in the Challenge. With nearly 40 percent of Eliot students NOT in the Healthy Fitness Zone for Body Composition, Eliot has committed to promoting healthy habits for lifelong nutrition on its campus. Activities and programs include:
- Establishing a "Junk Free Campus" - No sodas, sugary drinks or unhealthy snack foods sold on campus.
- The Cafeterias' Federal Free/Reduced Meal program provides our socio-economically challenged population two nutritious meals daily in accordance with State/Federal USDA Dietary Guidelines.
- After-school programs provide a nutritious snack daily.
- PTA sponsors weekly fundraisers providing Jamba Juice as a healthier "sweet treat" choice.
- Physical Education, Electives and Science curriculum offer nutrition education. Students learn the importance of the food pyramid and how to make healthy food choices with the Dairy Council of California program.
- "Supersize Me" Film Analysis. Students discover the truth about junk food participating in a two week study of the negative effects of fast food.
- Nutrition Network and Sheriffs' Police Activity League (PAL) provide after-school enrichment cooking classes.
- Farmers' Market experiences with local Produce Farms through PAL. Students meet local farmers, learn about and eat fresh sustainable food.
- Global Warming Awareness assembly. Students learn basics about global warming, current lifestyle choices (unhealthy food consumption) and our future. Students were given the DOT challenge (Do One Thing) to change their future -- Eliot students chose to establish a CAMPUS Garden with sustainable food in 2010.
"Eliot is committed to fighting obesity and the negative effects of poor nutrition," Pannell said. "We'll continue to protect, prepare and pursue a healthy future through good nutrition on our campus, and we believe a Dynamic Fitness Center will help our students, staff, and community secure a victory in the war against obesity."
The California Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting physical activity for all Californians with an emphasis on children and youth. Governor Schwarzenegger is the Honorary Chairman and Council members include Chairman Jake Steinfeld, Vice Chairman Peter Vidmar, and California sports legends such as Tony Hawk, Misty May-Treanor, Laila Ali and Jerry Rice. Governor's Council key initiatives include the Governor's Challenge, the Governor's Council Spotlight Awards presented by the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation, the Live Like a Champion Tour powered by Anthem Blue Cross and Exercise is Medicine.