Lancaster ISD Wins It’s Time Texas Health Challenge; Pleasant Run Elementary triumphs within the district
For the first two months of the year, all Lancaster ISD campuses and departments competed in the It's Time Texas (ITT) Community Health Challenge, a statewide health initiative. Throughout the challenge, students, teachers, staff, and parents were encouraged to eat healthy meals, get active, and stay hydrated, all while tracking their progress within the ITT app. Each healthy entry earned the district 50 points.
"Staff and faculty at schools are increasingly asked to do a lot every day. Unfortunately, their health isn't always a priority," said Ashleigh Ford Clark, the ITT Community Challenge program coordinator. "Participating in the challenge is a great way to help prioritize the health of teachers, staff, and educators in a school community, and create a larger community around it."
In the Extra Small District category within the ITT Challenge, Lancaster ISD earned 842,150 points, cementing the first place win and bringing home the championship trophy for the second consecutive year.
The challenge is a fun and easy way to get people active while helping schools and communities prioritize health. Focusing on creating a healthier culture is why Lancaster ISD was able to earn so many points during the challenge.
"We know that health and wellness is a big thing, and we emphasize that each day with our students and staff," said Joshua Hairston, Lancaster ISD Health and Wellness Coordinator. "Healthier students learn better and healthier staff and teachers perform better, so we will continue to raise awareness and elevate wellness within the district."
Lancaster ISD's dedication to health goes beyond participating in the health challenge. The district is committed to raising the wellness of every Lancaster Tiger every day.
"We created the #RaiseYourWellness campaign to help promote healthy living for our students and to provide guidance to parents and staff so they can lead by example and continue to live healthy lifestyles," said Hairston.
Not only did Lancaster ISD win the ITT health challenge, but Pleasant Run Elementary outperformed every other campus within the district. Pleasant Run Elementary earned 182,200 points thanks to campus leadership, teachers, and staff encouraging the students and each other to get moving and have fun.
"Physical education is an integral part of a student's overall education," said Dr. James Kimbrough, principal of Pleasant Run Elementary. "In addition to providing active and engaging P.E. classes during the day, we make sure that all students move around during recess and eat healthy meals during lunch. We want to help them develop healthy habits from an early age to continue to follow those routines as they get older."
To recognize Pleasant Run Elementary's big win, Lancaster ISD teamed up with It's Time Texas organizers to host a special celebration on campus. The ten teachers with the most points were treated to a catered healthy lunch. The teacher with the highest number of points, Norvella Norton, says bringing home the trophy is an amazing achievement.
"My competitors on campus were half my age, so coming in first feels great", said Norton, who serves as the Behavior Adjustment Class Teacher Assistant. "Health and wellness are personally important to me because I have congestive heart failure. So I'm always focusing on what I need to do to stay healthy. While I follow my healthy habits to strengthen myself, I encourage the students to do the same."
After lunch, dozens of excited Pleasant Run Elementary students and teachers made their way to the gym to celebrate the campus win with a trophy presentation from ITT and participate in a special relay challenge. The relay featured ten teachers and students who would go head-to-head in a series of physical challenges. After an intense competition that included sit-ups, jumping jacks, planks, and squats, the teachers were victorious.
Representatives from It's Time Texas presented Pleasant Run Elementary with a championship trophy for earning the highest number of points out of the entire district. In addition, the teachers went home with bragging rights after their relay race win.
“Our campus is full of competitive teachers and staff who don’t like to lose at anything,” said Marcus Derricks, Registrar for Pleasant Run Elementary. “I was tasked with organizing the relay race and finding the best fifth-graders and staff to compete. Winning the race with the teachers felt amazing! It was a great experience that taught the students about sportsmanship and inspired them to stay active.”
During Lancaster ISD's March board meeting, ITT also awarded Pleasant Run Elementary a championship check for $1,500 for future campus health initiatives.
Additionally, Shamaro Roberts from West Main Elementary was the It's Time Texas Weekly Health Challenge winner for Lancaster ISD. She won multiple gifts and awards from ITT and finished in second place throughout the entire district. Health and Wellness Coordinator, Joshua Hairston, finished in first place.
Lancaster ISD is proud to participate in the It's Time Texas Challenge and will continue to raise its wellness for the remainder of the school year.