L.A. Unified Schools, including six in Wilmington, Named Among Nation’s Healthiest

LOS ANGELES (Aug. 30, 2016) – Seven schools in L.A. Unified received national recognition today for their efforts to help children develop healthy, lifelong habits in exercise, nutrition and education.

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, an organization founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation, recognized 328 schools in 29 states and the District of Columbia. In L.A. Unified, six of the winners are located in Wilmington, a port city in the South Bay, along with one in Los Angeles.

“I am very proud of all of our schools, but I am very proud of the achievements of our Wilmington schools,” said Board Member Dr. Richard Vladovic. “Too often, we hear about the bad in L.A. Unified, but this recognition demonstrates the quality schools and programming we have to offer our communities.”

He added: “The teachers and administrators of Wilmington have worked very hard together to provide opportunities for the children of their community, and I am so happy to see their results paying off. “

The schools receiving bronze status were:

  • Harry Bridges Span School
  • Broad Avenue Elementary School
  • Fries Avenue Elementary School
  • Gulf Avenue Elementary School
  • Hawaiian Avenue Elementary School
  • Wilmington Park Elementary School
  • Young Oak Kim Academy of Los Angeles

"The students, staff, and leadership at Young Oak Kim Academy have led in Los Angeles and continue to live the spirit of Colonel Young-Oak Kim," said L.A. Unified School Board Member Mónica García. "From single gender STEM instruction to building strong partnerships, the academy is modeling what is possible and this recognition from the Alliance for a Healthy Generation celebrates powerful partnerships on the movement towards 100 percent graduation in Los Angeles."                                         

These schools met or exceeded stringent standards set by the Alliance for serving healthier meals and snacks; getting students to exercise more often; offering high-quality physical and health education; and empowering school leaders to become healthy role models.

The schools also worked through the Little Sisters of Mary, a charitable arm of Providence Hospital in the South Bay, in a program called Creating Opportunities for Physical Activity. That program pairs physical education specialists with classroom teachers, delivering California standards-based physical education instruction to teachers and their students. The two-year effort has led to more motivated students.

“We are striving to create a culture of health in our schools, and this recognition shows we are making progress,” said Superintendent Michelle King. “If kids eat healthy meals and learn healthy habits, they will perform better in school and will be less likely to miss classroom time. This puts them ontrack to reach a goal we share with our students and parents: graduating high school college-prepared and career-ready.”

Roughly, one out of three children are obese, putting them at-risk later in life for diabetes, asthma heart failure and other diseases, the Alliance said.

But children can improve their health, in part, by cutting back on sweetened beverages. About one in five student consume the equivalent of an extra meal daily through liquid refreshments. This hinders their health by getting too little physical activity and having limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables, the organization said. 

The Alliance said that today’s award-winning schools were recognized earlier by the “Let’s Move!” program, which was started by First Lady Michelle Obama. That effort, along with the Alliance’s, follow the same framework, emphasizing physical activity and education.

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Contact: Daryl Strickland (213) 241-6766

 

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