West Virginia SCORE Project

SCORE Funds Help Schools Offer Healthful Choices in West Virginia

This year, students in two West Virginia counties are seeing something different in vending machines selling beverages in their high schools. Gone are  soft drinks, sport drinks and flavored waters that are considered to be a culprit in the childhood obesity epidemic. Those choices have been replaced with plain bottled   water.
Through CSG’s Southern Collaborative on Obesity Reduction Efforts, or SCORE, Putnam and Tyler county school districts received $5,000 each as an incentive to become “dry.” State officials in the West Virginia Office of Child Nutrition label school systems in the state as “wet” if they offer soft drinks to high school students during the school day, and as “dry” if they do not. At the end of the 2008-09 school year, only six of the state’s 55 counties were wet.
Through funding from Leadership for Healthy Communities, an initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, CSG provided West Virginia’s SCORE team with $10,000 to use as an incentive to encourage two school districts to stop offering soft drinks in vending machines. Under the funding agreement, both districts may only use the $5,000 to make environmental changes to their schools that support healthy learning environments. The state Office of Child Nutrition, led by Rick Goff, agreed to match SCORE funds with an additional $5,000 to each of those counties.
“If you’re making a lot of money and it’s contributing to the childhood obesity epidemic, that doesn’t make it right,” Goff said. “You shouldn’t balance the school budget on the backs of children’s health.”
Tyler County Superintendent Jeff Hoover said he has wanted to remove soft drink sales at the high school for several years, but could not convince the county’s school board to make the change. During the 2008-2009 school year, the high school made approximately $11,000 in profits from vending machine sales. Only as a result of the funding from SCORE and the state Office of Child Nutrition could Hoover convince the board to replace soft drinks with bottled water.
“(This funding) gave us an incentive to do what we’ve wanted to do,” Hoover said.


Kenna Elementary Named State's Healthiest School

Kenna Elementary School in Charleston, W.Va., recently had the distinction of being named the state’s healthiest school by Health magazine. But this wasn’t the school’s first recognition for the healthy ways.
The school also received national publicity from Good Morning America, which visited in 2007 to focus on the Healthy Breakfast Initiative. The initiative encourages students to begin their day with a healthful breakfast. Students earn points for selecting foods that are high in fiber and low in sugar and fat. Principal Carol Jett noted, “I’ve seen a change in what they eat, and they’ve become knowledgeable. They know that breakfast is an important meal to eat.”
The dedication to student nutrition and physical activity is obvious through its many programs. Among the activities are:
For more information about programs at Kenna Elementary School, visit the school’s website.


Crab Orchard Gets Creative For Fitness on a Budget

Students at Crab Orchard Elementary School in Beckley, W.Va., have been walking across America. Not literally, of course, but with pedometers. Students log the number of steps they walk each day and they convert those steps to miles. Their goal is to walk to every state capital during the course of the school year.
With limited resources, the school also initiated some innovative ideas, like building a traversing wall in the gymnasium which teaches students rock climbing skills they can carry with them later in life. While professionally made walls can cost into the thousands, staff at the school made their own for much less. The school also purchased three Dance, Dance Revolution mats, which students use during 35 minutes classes, three times each week. But those who aren’t using one of the mats don’t stand idly by on the sidelines. The school uses carpet remnants on which they spray painted arrows that the other students use to mimic the dance steps.
Instructors regularly come into school to teach lifetime physical fitness skills, such as golf, hiking, white water rafting and snow skiing. “Sometime your health will be the only thing that matters,” P.E. teacher Richard Shumate said.
One problem students face is a lack of walkable neighborhoods near the school. However, Beckley recently constructed a 3.6 mile walking/biking path that’s part of the federal Rails to Trails program. For more information, visit the school’s website.


Necessity is, in fact, the mother of invention. At Crab Orchard Elementary School, physical education teacher Richard Shumate made the most of scant resources. Since the school couldn’t afford enough Dance Dance Revolution mats for all the students in his physical education classes, he uses carpet remnants as a low-cost way to let students imitate dance moves, even though the carpets aren’t connected to the game console.


State's Healthy Lifestyles Act Evaluated



West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin III speaks at a meeting in the state capitol in February 2009 during which an evaluation of the West Virginia Healthy Lifestyles Act was released. The report, researched by a team from West Virginia University and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, examined the law enacted in 2005 that sets requirements for physical education, makes health education and fitness assessments and body mass index (BMI) measurements.