TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Healthy Kids Corporation and Florida Association of District School Superintendents, as members of the Florida Partnership for Healthy Schools, have presented awards to 17 2019-2021 Florida Healthy School District recipients.

Okaloosa County joined Columbia County at bronze level award status among the 17 health-promoting 2019–2021 Florida Healthy School Districts. The other 15 counties are:

Gold: Alachua, Collier, Hillsborough, Okeechobee, Orange and Pinellas.
Silver: Dixie, Florida Atlantic University (FAU) Lab District, Gadsden, Hamilton, Lee, Marion, Osceola, Putnam and St. Johns.

“The self-assessment tool is a road map guiding districts toward best practices," said Bill Montford, Florida Senator and CEO of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents. "It provides the opportunity for district teams to identify areas they can improve, eliminate duplication of efforts and maximize resources to best serve their students and staff.”
Districts are recognized for this two-year award when they meet self-assessment tool requirements based on sustainable infrastructure, policy, programs and practices. They encompass goals such as high quality healthy school teams, suicide prevention and trauma-informed care faculty training, school gardens and breakfast enhancement strategies, and exemplary Florida KidCare enrollment mechanisms identified from national and state guidelines, best practices and Florida statutes.

These school districts have committed to meeting the health needs of students and staff by maximizing district resources, supporting academic achievement and removing barriers to learning.

“These districts embody the coordination, determination and cognizance it takes to prioritize physical, emotional and social health as a part of overall education,” said Melodie Griffin, communications chair for the Florida Partnership for Healthy Schools. “This recognition program reminds districts that their efforts are valued and used as exemplary models for how health-conscious enhancements can be implemented in schools.”

School districts are encouraged to engage in the self-assessment process every other year but are welcome to re-apply after one year if policy, practice and/or procedural improvements have been instituted which could result in achieving a higher level of recognition. The application period extends from mid-January through April 15.

Escambia and Santa Rosa County, who achieved silver-level recognition, are among the 32 winners from 2018-2020, which have a year remaining of eligibility. The rest are:

Gold: Broward, Duval, Leon, Manatee, Nassau, Pasco, Sarasota.
Silver: Baker, Bay, Brevard, Citrus, Clay, Flagler, Indian River, Madison, Martin, Monroe, Palm Beach, Polk, St. Lucie, Sumter, Volusia.
Bronze: Bradford, Franklin, Hernando, Lake, Levy, Seminole, Wakulla, Washington.

“By promoting a positive environment that supports all aspects of a child’s overall health, Florida’s children are better prepared to learn and achieve academic success in the classroom,” said Jeff Dykes, interim chief executive officer of the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation.
 Visit www.safehealthyschoolsfl.org for more information about the FHSD self-assessment process.