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Wisconsin School Health Awards

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The Department of Public Instruction, along with Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and Kohl’s Cares, recently recognized 49 schools for their outstanding effort to create learning environments that help students achieve their full academic potential. Congratulations to all of the winners!

Several schools were featured during the celebration, including the Tomahawk elementary, middle, and high schools. Amanda Duncan, a physical education and health teacher in the district, spoke about the success and longevity of their programming for staff and students.

school health award winners
Sally Jones, DPI health, physical education, and coordinated school health consultant; Amanda Duncan, School District of Tomahawk physical education and health teacher; Stacy Bolder, Tomahawk High School assistant principal; and Katie Horrigan, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin community education and outreach director.

“We started small and worked to change the things we knew we could turn around quickly, then pick one big item each school year,” she said. “This school year we focused on staff wellness. Our food service and foods courses did a collaboration with Farm to Fork for our students and staff to sample healthy foods. We have implemented staff wellness with fitness classes, healthy family activities, and life courses.”

Riverside Elementary in the Fond du Lac School District has also been working hard to maintain healthy changes and has received the award for more than 10 years. ElizaBeth Chase, the physical education teacher at Riverside Elementary, is proud of the time they have taken to change the culture within the school, and credits the many educators and families involved with that success.

school health award winners
Sally Jones, DPI health, physical education, and coordinated school health consultant; ElizaBeth Chase, physical education teacher, Riverside Elementary; and Katie Horrigan, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin community education and outreach director.

“We have worked hard from a staff standpoint, but our parents, families, and students have helped develop change. Parents and families see changes in students’ academics, but in their social skills, behaviors at home too—changes in their whole lives,” Chase says. “Positive changes include additional recess time, adding fruits and vegetables, and working within the community to provide an array of health programming aimed to support students in making healthy changes into adulthood.”

Apply for the Award

Schools are encouraged to apply for the 2019 award. As schools plan to participate in this academic year, there are some important changes to note.


The Wisconsin School Health Award will now be known as the Wisconsin School WSCC Award as a way to recognize, celebrate, and honor schools who promote programs that support the whole child. The DPI recognizes that creating an equitable and healthy learning environment goes beyond nutrition, health education, and physical education/physical activity. It takes a collaborative approach; therefore, emphasis will be placed on utilizing the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) approach to education.


Various changes at the national level resulted in the department not being able to obtain the same support. DPI has a new partnership with Action For Healthy Kids (AFHK) for the 2019 Wisconsin School Health/WSCC Award. This partnership provides the department and schools with the necessary resources to continue the awards program. A few benefits AFHK offers include:

  • State coordinator to assist your schools (free)
  • Free school programs (ex. Game On)
  • Free access to resources
  • Access to the Healthier US School Challenge: Smarter Lunchrooms recognition program
  • Funding opportunities and resources that support a healthy school environment
  • Grant opportunities
  • Application Process
  • The application process has changed to be more efficient and adaptable for future expansion. One major change is that there is no longer a need to register and then apply later. There is one deadline: March 31. In the application form, you will provide a link to your school wellness policy and answer two prompts related to strengths and improvements.

For more information about the Wisconsin School Health/WSCC Award and how to apply, visit the Wisconsin School health /WSCC Award web page.