Cottageville Elementary earns national recognition

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Cottageville Elementary School in Colleton County School District is among the 517 schools nationwide to earn a spot on the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s 2020 list of America’s Healthiest Schools “for their commitment to promoting quality nutrition, regular physical activity and strong wellness policies.” Cottageville Elementary School serves 470 students.

Though Cottageville Elementary School was evaluated on practices taking place prior to the COVID-19 school closures, staff used their strong foundations in wellness to prioritize healthy habits throughout the pandemic. Cottageville Elementary School has promoted good health before and during the pandemic by:

• Offering a daily salad bar for students and staff

• Hosting a Two Bite Club: students take two bites of a new food and earn a certificate.

• Participating in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Grant: students were provided a fresh fruit or vegetable on Tuesdays and Thursdays

• Having students walk two laps in the gym each morning upon arrival to school

• Establishing a student running club in the fall and a competitive running club in the spring

• Developing the annual 5K Eagle Run 2017

• Participating in state and national walk-to-school and bike-to-school events

• Creating the Zen Den (a relaxation area for teachers), weight loss challenges, step challenges and Fitness Thursdays for staff

• Maintaining partnerships with 4H for nutrition classes, Coastal Kids and DHEC for dental hygiene and Lowcountry Food Bank for food distribution to community

• During the Covid-19 pandemic, CES increased posting of health and wellness tips on social media, participated in a virtual bike-to-school week in May and created a virtual cooking class for students.

“The teachers, parents, students and staff at Cottageville Elementary recognize the critical role that health plays in learning,” CES school nurse Donna Waddell said. “We’re honored to receive this national recognition for our dedication to supporting the well-being of students and staff, and remain steadfast in our commitment to fostering environments where all members of the school community can succeed.”

For nearly 15 years, Healthier Generation’s annual recognition program has honored schools that are implementing best practices that support children’s learning and development, including meeting or exceeding federal standards for nutritious school meals and providing regular opportunities for students and staff to be active throughout the school day.

“We commend this cohort of school leaders for prioritizing the essential health needs of students and staff in a time of great challenge and with limited resources at their disposal,” said Kathy Higgins, chief executive officer of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

“Over time, these awardees established strong foundations in health — allowing them to pivot and adapt to meet acute health and wellness needs in a year unlike any other.”

As members of Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program, Cottageville Elementary School works to implement wellness policies and practices that meet federal requirements and support a comprehensive approach to kids’ health.

Any school can join Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program to access trainings, resources and technical assistance by visiting HealthierGeneration.org.

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