Robert E. Lee Elementary School is among the 406 schools nationwide and just one of two elementary schools in Tennessee to be named America’s Healthiest Schools for the 2021-2022 school year. The recognition, awarded by Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a leading children’s health organization, celebrates schools’ dedication to supporting the health and well-being of students, staff, and families.
During the 2021-2022 school year, Robert E. Lee Elementary School prioritized healthy policies and practices despite numerous challenges resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. They have continued to sustain and promote good health by:
- Strengthening social-emotional health and learning by implementing social-emotional learning (SEL) curriculum for all students at every grade level. The school uses an evidence-based, sequential, active, focused and explicit Harmony SEL curriculum. The school’s primary focus has been using everyday practices such as Buddy Up, which pairs different students each week to participate in brief activities, discussions and check-ins. Teachers engage students in welcoming each other, sharing thoughts and ideas and participating in community-building activities. The school reviews the data to determine the SEL curriculum’s impact.
- Promoting tobacco-free schools through several means. Each year, the school counselor plans Red Ribbon Week, which focuses on education, awareness and prevention of tobacco product use and showing students how to make healthier choices. The counselor continues to address this by teaching her standards throughout the year. Robert E. Lee Elementary School additionally uses emails, parent notes, signage and presentations as the campus works with the community to create age-appropriate responsive information that is shared with students and families.
- Supporting school health services by way of different activities. Each year, students received hearing and vision screenings, while the majority also received blood pressure and BMI index screenings. Information is provided to students and families on healthy eating habits and increased physical activity. The provided information for families is in both English and Spanish.
- Cultivating staff well-being is accomplished through several efforts. The Robert E. Lee Elementary administration celebrates its staff members throughout the school year by providing a hot chocolate bar, ice cream social, dinners, breakfast, drawings, and more. Additionally, the school uses GroupMe and Google Docs so staff members can share needs and give shoutouts to their peers to focus on the positive happenings throughout the campus.
“We are beyond excited to be an awardee and to be named on the 2022 list of America’s Healthiest Schools,” said Robert E. Lee Elementary Principal Mary Gilbert. “This is because of the hard work, dedication, and commitment of our staff, students, parents and community. We believe in the importance of cultivating student well-being, as well as staff well-being. Our intentional focus on strengthening social-emotional health and learning through activities like Harmony Meet-Up and Buddy-Up has been instrumental in creating a positive school culture that is conducive to learning for all students. We look forward to continuing our important work in advancing student success by providing opportunities for their physical, social, emotional, and academic needs.”
Healthier Generation’s list of America’s Healthiest Schools remains one of the country’s longest-running nationwide recognition programs honoring schools for achievements in supporting the whole health of students, teachers, and staff. Any school can connect with Healthier Generation to access trainings, resources, and technical assistance by visiting HealthierGeneration.org.
“As we enter what is predicted to be another challenging school year, we commend the awardees for their resourcefulness and dedication to addressing the acute health and well-being needs of students, staff, and families,” said Kathy Higgins, chief executive officer at Healthier Generation. “This cohort of schools exemplifies the fortitude required to serve current and future generations with empathy and care.”
Alliance for a Healthier Generation is a leading children’s health organization that advances equitable whole-child health. Driven by our passion to ensure that every mind, everybody, and every young person is healthy and ready to succeed, our work has reached over 31 million young people across the country. To learn more and help make a difference, visit HealthierGeneration.org and join us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
To view the complete list of awardees, visit HealthierGeneration.org/HealthiestSchools.