November 2013 Edition                                                                               Volume 2





Happy November 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. 



At World of Inquiry School #58 (WOIS),an Expeditionary Learning School in the Rochester City School District (RCSD) the focus in on learning by doing. It's motto, "we are crew not passengers," encourages high levels of student, staff, and parent engagement in all aspects of school life. 


Amy Shema, WOIS's Health and Wellness Grant Coordinator, says that community partner support from a significant 3-year Greater Rochester Health Foundation grant, plus smaller Fuel up to Play 60 and Action for Healthy Kids grants, have helped create and  sustain many innovative health programs at their school. Examples include: 

  • Yoga for kindergarten and grade 1 students
  • Stability balls in classrooms that work students' core muscles
  • An indoor Walking Trail with 10 fitness stations
  • A student dance club
  • Healthy Hero Awards 
  • Before and after-school physical activity clubs
  • Healthy Parent Teacher Organization events

Ms. Shema says,  "I've seen a culture shift happen at my school. Kids come up to me to tell me that they've eaten five veggies that day or that they asked their mom to buy hummus. They are excited about health now. It's become a way of life." The new school year kicked off at WOIS with a parent-led "Urban Expedition" to enable staff to learn about neighborhood resources for outdoor play and recreation. Also planned is student taste-testing of unfamiliar, inexpensive grains, e.g., curried lentils. Students will take home placemats and recipes. For the full story, click here.


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
Foodlink offers a 6-week program called Cooking Matters at a number of locations in the City of Rochester. Volunteer nutrition and culinary experts lead these hands-on sessions which teach participants how to select healthy, low-cost ingredients and use them to create nutritious meals. Programs are available for students, parents, families, and school staff. Some District schools are currently hosting a student program. 


Click here to learn more about hosting Cooking Matters at your school. 


If you are interested in hosting a Cooking Matters series, please download and submit a Host Site Application Form to Foodlink. 


If you are interested in having Foodlink conduct other nutrition education activities at your school (including one-time workshops), please contact Larkin Kimmerer

1. MyPlate Features
The  USDA's MyPlate website has wonderful nutrition information and resources. Need a healthy recipe for dinner tonight? This is the place to go. Kids can visit the MyPlate Kids' Place for games, videos, and other fun resources that will help them learn how to be healthy eaters and to stay active. The website also has a great SuperTracker feature that allows adults and kids to track their physical activity, food intake, and weight, plus set goals in these areas. And health teachers should check out the Serving Up MyPlate curriculum for grades 1-6 to discover ways to integrate nutrition into Math, Science, English, Language Arts, and Health.  
2. Physical Activity Ideas for the Classroom 
Did you know that just 10 minutes of movement increases blood flow to the brain, helps us to feel more alert, and has health benefits? One way to increase physical activity for students is to build short blocks of structured movement into their day while they are in the classroom. For powerhouse ideas, curricula, and fun videos that are age-appropriate and linked to core subjects, teachers will want to check out these two cool websites.
3. Healthy Family Activities for the Holidays 
There is plenty going on in and around Rochester for students and their families, especially during the holidays. Two terrific on-line resources that highlight healthy family activities in Rochester and surrounding areas are listed below. You can sign up for their newsletters to get the latest news sent right to your in-box.

1. Thanksgiving Menu for School Lunch Program

This year, for the first time, Thanksgiving dinner will be available for school lunch throughout the District. Aramark's Thanksgiving menu on Wednesday, November 20, will include sliced turkey and gravy, sweet potatoes, mac 'n cheese, vegetarian collard greens, and cranberry sauce for K-8 schools. High schools will have the addition of turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, and cranberry sauce to their regular menu offerings.


2.   Community Food Programs for the Holidays

The Holidays can be a stressful time for families already struggling to eat on a budget. The Holiday Information Bulletin can help families learn where free dinners and food baskets are available in Rochester. Volunteer and donation opportunities are also listed.   



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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