First 5 High Five – San Ysidro School District Live Well Partner
San Ysidro School District recently committed to advancing the Live Well San Diego vision of a healthy, safe and thriving region by becoming a recognized Live Well San Diego partner on August 5, 2015. The proclamation was presented to the district by County of San Diego Supervisor Greg Cox with all school board members present. The district is a provider of the First 5 San Diego Quality Preschool Initiative.
Administrators hope joining the countywide initiative will not only help them bolster efforts to improve student wellness but put in place a program focused on reducing childhood obesity.
Trustees approved the partnership in April. Since then, the district’s wellness committee has worked to update San Ysidro’s wellness policy with changes intended to create a more healthful school environment. Updates include supporting healthy fundraisers – in other words, no candy sales – and a ban on serving food during birthday celebrations in the class.
Paloma Perez, the district’s child nutrition specialist, said it’s important to change that practice even though it’s something that comes naturally.
“It’s a cultural thing,” said Perez. “People are so used to bringing food for celebrations. It’s one of our challenges.”
Live Well San Diego aims to improve health, safety and quality of life throughout the county. It provides a variety of tools and resources to assist school districts with making policy changes and creating programs that are tailored to student needs.
Perez said the district wants to create a program to reduce childhood obesity like the one in neighboring Chula Vista Elementary School District, where the number of overweight students has decreased by 5 percent since 2010. Chula Vista received a grant to track student height and weight, increase and intensify students’ physical activity each school day, and add more fruits and vegetables to lunches.
“The plan is to try and get the BMI (body mass index) from students so that we have a baseline,” she said. With no budget yet for the project, however, Perez said the district may recruit volunteers and the wellness committee to gather that information.
San Ysidro School District is composed of seven schools and has more than 5,200 students in preschool through eighth grade.
School district partners have the potential to reach children and families throughout San Diego County. Working together, partner school districts are sharing best practices and advancing policies and programs that support healthy, safe and thriving students, teachers and families through updated wellness programs, farm-to-cafeteria programs, school gardens, safe routes to schools, disaster preparedness and environmentally conscious buildings.