Energized Educators

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 1, 2006

Vaughan Community Health Services whips teachers into shape

Submitted to the Times-Journal

For the past several years, Vaughan Community Heath Services has conducted health-related programs on Dallas County School System campuses with measurably positive results. For example, the Micro-Fit program involves Gifted Curriculum students in healthy-lifestyle education, and students on several other campuses have participated in health screenings, nutrition education and physical fitness programs.

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According to VCHS Community Health Coordinator Karen Morris, “This is an ongoing, continually expanding partnership between our organization and Dallas County Schools, with an end-result goal of better health for students and teachers, and greater knowledge of first-aid and CPR procedures.”

This year, VCHS is implementing on all 13 county system campuses a new program titled Energized Educators. Morris explained, “Today’s educators are under great pressure to accomplish more, all the time; in the classroom, with parental involvement, with high-stakes testing, and having to do more in less time, stress and burnout are possible results. Several county educators have told me they would love to devote time to exercise for better health, but they simply cannot find the time.”

To that end, this year VCHS is implementing in all county schools, a program designed to encourage teachers to set side 30 to 60 minutes a day for their well-being.

“Educators tell me they don’t have time for exercise,” Morris said, “so we are bringing this program to them. We are providing exercise videotapes and DVDs for all schools, and free t-shirts for everyone participating. These exercise presentations make available to everyone, varying levels of physical activities to match the abilities of the participants. All the teachers have to do is bring their exercise clothes and shoes to school.”

Morris has also accomplished quite a bit of work prior to the implementation of Energized Educators. “I have gone to all 13 campuses and marked off walking trails,” she explained “Each trail has mileage measurements, so the teachers can accurately measure the distance they are covering each day. We are providing charts for each teacher, allowing them to keep track of their progress.”

Morris pointed out that Selma City System educators have the football stadium track and the Vaughan Community Health Services sponsored Life-Track exercise facility next to the baseball stadium at their disposal. “But for many educators who live in the county,” she said, “those facilities may not be easily accessible. That’s why we have created these walking trails at each school.”

Prior to the beginning of last school year, at the request of Dallas County System Athletic Director Lemuel Jones, VCHS provided instruction and certification in CPR and First-Aid for approximately 23 system coaches. This year, Morris says 28 coaches will be certified. Also, School System RN Constance Lett has requested VCHS provide similar instruction for Special Needs teachers and aides. Morris will provide instruction and certification for them, as well.

Dallas County Schools Superintendent Dr. Fannie Major-McKenzie is fully supportive of these health-related initiatives in the system. “We appreciate so very much the collaborative relationship established between our schools and the Vaughan Community Health Services organization,” she stated. “We support their mission of working toward getting Selma and Dallas County in better physical condition.”

Morris added, “We are committed to providing as many avenues as possible for the citizens of our area to improve their overall health, and to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We provide blood pressure checks, blood screenings, exercise facilities and various instructional programs to anyone who desires to take advantage of what we at Vaughan Community Health Services have to offer. Now, it’s up to our citizens to take advantage of what we’re providing for them.”