Texas SCORE Project

Texas SCORE Team Recognizes Outstanding School Health Councils

While every Texas school district is required by statute to have a School Health Advisory Council, there have been no requirements for what the council has to do, how often it has to meet or even who serves on it. Members of Texas’ Southern Collaborative on Obesity Reduction Efforts—or SCORE—team feared that those advisory councils could become nothing more than a list of names turned into the state each year. When actively used, the councils can provide valuable insight from parents, teachers and medical professionals about how to create a more healthful school environment. School Health Advisory Councils serve as advisers to the district and cannot make policy themselves.
So the Texas SCORE team decided to take its $10,000 grant and do something about it. They created the Awards of Excellence for Local School Health Advisory Councils program. The team developed a list of criteria for what makes an outstanding advisory council and is seeking applications from across the state. The top five councils will be recognized with an award and a grant of up to $2,000 that can be used to advance or implement school health policies. The winning councils will be highlighted on the state Department of Education Web site in an effort to share successful strategies.
In addition, Sen. Jane Nelson filed SB 283 this legislative session, which would establish how often a School Health Advisory Council must meet and who may serve as co-chair; it also requires each advisory council to produce an annual report for the local board of trustees.


San Antonio Reaches Out to Educate Parents

The San Antonio Independent School District is not a small one. It has 54,000 students spread across its 89 schools – and 90 percent of those students are on free or reduced-price lunches. It also is a primarily Hispanic district, with 91 percent of its student body falling into that category.
In order to make an impact on their students’ lives, the faculty and staff of the school district decided they needed to reach out to the parents to teach them more about healthy cooking and healthier lifestyles. Funded by a Steps for a Healthier San Antonio grant received by the local health department from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the district has put on two parent summits each year. To make sure they aren’t reaching the same parents each time, they ask each school to send four parents who have not attended a school-sponsored event before.
The summits have covered everything from teen dating violence and the basics of asthma to healthier cooking options and bullying. Sessions are held in English and Spanish. “This summit is very important,” said Liset Leal-Vasquez, relationship manager for San Antonio for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. “We know these people struggle with healthcare. … This shows the school wants to be a partner with them.”
Ruben Fernandez, director of the district’s Parent, Community and Business Partnerships program, said he has been impressed with how strongly the parents respond to the summits. “I said, ‘Wow, they really did get it.’ We’re reaching out and some are becoming aware.” For more information about what the San Antonio Independent School District is doing to improve student health, contact Phyllis Priess, director of student health services, at


Parents lined up to get a good look  at a table about healthful eating at   a Parent Summit, held in September 2008 in the San Antonio Independent School District. Almost 350 people attended the event to learn about issues ranging from anti-bullying to how to eat better. The school district has two parent summits a year and ensures they are getting new people involved by asking each school to send four parents who have never attended a session before.



Fried Foods Out in Texas Schools

When school started this fall for students in Texas, there were no more fried foods. To see a copy of the statute and read more about the policy change, visit the Texas Department of Agriculture website.