Saginaw Intermediate School District





What is the program?


The Saginaw Intermediate School District (ISD) provides the program “Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds” to elementary age students and parents in the school setting. The goal of the program is to increase fruit/vegetable consumption and physical activity among students and their families. The funding the Saginaw ISD receives only allows staff to implement the program in those school buildings in Saginaw County with 50% or higher free and reduced lunch program. Beginning October 2015, the “Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds” program will be in 250 classrooms providing the following programming:


  • “Cooking with Kids/Let’s Cook” curricula: six nutrition-themed lessons (75-90 minutes in duration per lesson) per classroom per school year that include taste testing (grades K-5) and cooking demonstration (grades 3-5). Each lesson links nutrition/physical activity to the common core state standards in math, ELA and science. Students not only learn about eating healthy and being physically active, but they are charting their findings (math), learning vocabulary (ELA), learning about plant life/cycles (science) and writing down ideas about what they are learning (ELA).


  • Michigan Model curriculum: The classroom teachers implement the proven effective curriculum, Michigan Model for Health, which includes a nutrition/physical activity component. Evidence shows that 4th and 5th grade students who receive the Michigan Model curriculum exhibit fewer at-risk behaviors, are more likely to problem solve/make healthier decisions and have more protective factors.


  • EPEC Curriculum: This evidence-based curriculum is used by the Physical Education (PE) teacher in each building. The curriculum links nutrition facts with physical education components. Having the classroom teacher and PE teacher focus on healthy lifestyles presents a uniform message to students.


  • Electronic (or paper) parent newsletters: Each month, parents will receive a newsletter that highlights the previous month’s program, includes quick tips for being healthy (MyPlate Tips Sheets), web resources on nutrition/physical activity, activities to do at home and recipes.


How will grant dollars be used?


Through this grant, the Saginaw ISD will be able to pilot the “Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds” programming for the 2016-17 school year. The pilot will reach approximately 25 classrooms/500 students in Saginaw County schools that do not qualify to receive this programming. By opening up this program to new classrooms/students, the Saginaw ISD will be able to collect new data through their pre- and post-surveys on the validity of this program across income-based demographics.


Who do they collaborate with?


Saginaw ISD currently receives SNAP-Ed funding through the Michigan Fitness Foundation and therefore works closely with other SNAP-Ed funded programs in the state. The Saginaw ISD also works closely with Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) to ensure that there is no duplication of services and that both agencies are working hard to meet the needs of the communities they serve. Saginaw ISD and MSUE not only share schools when providing services, the agencies also do various levels of programming based on their areas of expertise. Saginaw ISD may be in one building doing K-5 classroom instruction while MSUE works with food service staff to create healthier lunchrooms. Saginaw ISD works together with the Pulse3 Foundation on joint trainings for school staff in the areas of sudden cardiac arrest plans. With the Michigan Health Endowment Fund grant, Pulse3 Foundation “Learn with Heart” toolkits will be incorporated into nutritional education programming provided to 25 classrooms in schools with a 50% or higher free and reduced lunch rates and 25 classrooms in schools that do not qualify for free or reduced lunch.


Saginaw ISD is also the co-chair to the Obesity Action Group, a subcommittee of the Saginaw Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). The focus of the group is to reduce obesity and to improve the lives of those residents in Saginaw County. These quarterly meetings allow for sharing, collaborating and networking with other agencies on the subject of healthy lifestyles. The agencies represented promote one another’s programs, support community initiatives and work on joint programming to meet the needs of the people in Saginaw County. Saginaw ISD will also be working with the Downtown Saginaw Farmers’ Market to begin offering locally grown produce through their program instead of purchasing fresh produce at Gordons Food Service.


What’s the plan for sustainability?


If the program is successful in the pilot schools, Saginaw ISD will seek funding to continue the program. That being said, there is much that will be sustained on its own after the funding ends. All of the curriculum will still be in the buildings’ possession and can be implemented without future funding from the Health Endowment Fund. For example, other funds will be used to purchase the Michigan Model for Health curriculum and technical assistance/curriculum updates will continue through the Saginaw ISD’s funding streams. EPEC curriculum will remain in the school and PE teachers can implement it after the funding ends. “Cooking with Kids” and “Let’s Cook” curriculum are available for free online. After funding ends, schools can send out electronic family newsletters to reduce costs. The only items that will have an annual expense are the food costs for taste testing/cooking and the nutrition facilitator’s time. If funding was not secured after the grant ends, schools could look at altering the curriculum to include Food Service staff. The Fruit and Veggie grant that school’s receive could take the place of the Nutrition Facilitator’s instruction. While not ideal, it could work as it would still introduce students to various types of fruits and vegetables on a regular basis. Also, schools/teachers can begin using Michigan Harvest of the Month lessons in the classroom. This resource is also free.