January 2014 Edition                                                                             



Happy New Year from "Rochester's City Schools Got HEART!" This monthly e-newsletter includes health tips, training announcements, grant opportunities, updates, events, and a "School Spotlight" feature to showcase innovative school health initiatives. Our goal is to keep you well informed about school health resources, activities, and successes!             



It's a new year and a great time to launch a new school health initiative. This is the time when many people make New Year's resolutions to eat healthier, get moving, and lose weight, so why not create new health opportunities for students, staff, and parents.


There are so many great ways to help your school community become healthier. For example:

  • Invite a local Registered Dietitian or chef to a Family Fun Night to do a healthy food demonstration with samples for students and parents, plus recipes to take home.
  • Use the PA system to broadcast short fun workout routines to music during class transitions.
  • Build 20 minutes of active recess time into the school day every day with some structured games, cooperative activities, and fun equipment, such as hula hoops and badminton.
  • With donations from local farmers, plan a lunchtime "farmers market" in the cafeteria and encourage students and staff to enjoy local produce.
  • Start a before/after school fitness or cooking club.

What will your School Wellness Team do this year to help students, staff, and parents lead healthier lives? We'd love to know!  To share your plans, please contact Marcia Middleton, RCSD Health Project Coordinator for H.E.A.R.T. at   



Here is an opportunity to secure funds to help cover the cost of health initiatives at your school. School grants for $1,000 are available through the Action for Healthy Kids' "Game On! The Ultimate Wellness Challenge." These grants for 2014 are intended to help students in grades K-6 incorporate healthy eating and/or physical activity in their daily lives and into the culture of their school community. The program offers 45 challenges to engage schools and families in healthier eating and moving more. These activities can take place before/after school, during school, at special events, and at home. Click on the following links to learn more and to access the grant applicationPlease note that applications are due on January 10, 2014.  If you would like assistance, please contact Kim McLaughlin at 



When was the last time you ate a meal with your family? Conflicting schedules due to work, school, and after-school activities often keep families from sitting down together to share a meal even once per day. So, family mealtimes have fallen by the wayside in many homes.


Research shows that families benefit from eating meals together. Both parents and children have healthier diets and weights when they share family meals. Meals prepared at home tend to be healthier than typical fast food meals consumed on the go, and kids can learn about nutrition and cooking as they help with meal preparation. Also, parents can model healthy eating, good manners, and social skills at the family table so children learn by example. When parents turn off the television and other electronic media at mealtime, it allows families to really focus on each other and sends the message that family conversations are important. This quality time is an opportunity for parents and children to share what is going on in their lives and where they need support.


Although it can take some planning, carving out time during the day to eat with your family will enrich your life in countless ways! So, why not kick off 2014 by building family mealtime into your day.



The  Greater Rochester Health Foundation's Be A Healthy Hero campaign works with community partners to increase physical activity and healthy eating options for children in the city of Rochester. 5210 is a great way for families to live healthy every day.


The New Year is a perfect time for you and your family to make healthier food choices and strive to increase your physical activity. Here at Healthy Hero, we strive to make it easy for families to make decisions that will benefit their health in positive ways. We invite you to start your New Year off on the right foot and add 5*2*1*0 to daily routine.


Don't let the sight of snow on the ground discourage your family from exploring the outdoors on cold, winter days. Be sure to bundle up and find a good hill to go sledding, go snow shoeing, or treat the family to some ice skating at the newly renamed Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park & Ice Rink.


While out and about this winter, be on the lookout for our Healthy Hero Street TeamThe Street Team not only engages with families about healthy behaviors, but they also strive to connect people to local resources that will help them to develop healthy habits. 


Always stressing the importance of healthy lifestyles, our team not only promotes 5*2*1*0, they live it. If you or your group is organizing a health fair or an event for families, invite our team to attend. Send us an email with more details to:


Don't forget to connect with our team on Facebook and follow them on Twitter! 


Did you know that Aramark, the RCSD's food service provider, has a new Registered Dietitian (RD) on board? Meet Alix TePoel, RD. Alix has been leading nutrition education classes in schools, updating menus for students with special diet needs, and she recently launched a quarterly newsletter for students, parents, and staff with loads of helpful information and recipes. On the Food and Nutrition Services home page, you can scroll down to find school menus and provide feedback on school meals. Click on these links for January menus: Breakfast in the Classroom, Elementary School Breakfast , High School Breakfast, Elementary School Lunch, and High School Lunch . You can also get the latest quarterly newsletter, read stories about school food programs, and view special event photos and videos. For more school nutrition information, contact


1. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics   

Click here to learn more about eating right and for great food resources from this national association of Registered Dietitians--the food and nutrition experts.


2. Action for Health Kids  

This national organization fights childhood obesity, undernourishment, and physical inactivity by helping schools become healthier places so kids can lead healthy lives. Click here for information on school grants, training webinars, and resources for fun physical activity and nutrition lessons.


3. Healthi Kids 

This community-based coalition advocates for healthier, more active children in Rochester and Monroe County. Click here for information on better school food, safer play areas, food standards at childhood centers, at least 45 minutes of in-school physical activity, and policies that support breastfeeding.  Healthi Kids is an initiative of Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency.


HEART stands for Health Engagement and Action for Rochester's Transformation.  It is the name of the five-year Community Transformation Grant awarded to the Rochester community by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help  promote health by making healthy living easier. The HEART grant was awarded to the University of Rochester Medical Center, Monroe County Department of Public Health and community partners:  Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency, Foodlink, the Rochester City School District, and the YMCA of Greater Rochester.   


To learn about HEART successes and community partners, visit our Facebook page. 


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