School Success Stories

Pierre CASA

The Capital Area Soccer Association involves around 500 plus players in spring, fall, and indoor-winter soccer programs. The CASA Board of Directors and parents felt a need to offer healthier snack and beverage options—less sugar, fat and salt—to all those involved in our program as players and spectators. Learn how CASA adopted Healthy South Dakota's Healthy Concessions Policy in 2011 for its spring and summer seasons, camps and tournaments with very positive results.

Jefferson Elementary School, Pierre

Fundraisers held for new play ground equipment (Pierre Capital Journal, Oct. 27,2010)

Colman-Egan School, Colman

More than 400 people attended Colman-Egan's second annual Calcium Carnival to promote good nutrition (especially calcium intake) and physical activity on a daily basis. The event featured 288 Go-Gurts, 324 containers of milk, 400 snack cheeses, 144 string cheese, one case of almonds, six boxes of golden raisins, two boxes of navel oranges, one box of kiwi, one box of carrots, and one box of broccoli.

Another feature added to this year’s event was Game On!  The Ultimate Wellness Challenge, sponsored by the Midwest Dairy Council. Health booths were sponsored by Avera Health and the Moody County Public Health Nurses, Sanford Health, Nikken, Moody County Extension Cooperative Service/4-H, Hy Vee Pharmacy of Brookings, and Cabot of Vermont. Information boards displayed the food value of  dairy products, carrots, broccoli, navel oranges, kiwi, golden raisins, and almonds.

The Colman-Egan FFA sponsored a cow milking contest, the FBLA sponsored trivia, T.A.T.U. sponsored “Bead It for Health and the Milk Moustache photo shoot,” the junior high student council and National Honor Society hosted the Game On! Event.  The Colman-Egan Booster Club and C-E School Policy Committee helped prepare and serve the foods and drinks.

Foods, drinks, and prizes were donated by Cabot of Vermont, Maynard’s & Flandreau Locker (Flandreau), County Fair (Dell Rapids), Jubilee & McDonald’s (Madison), McDonald’s (Pipestone, MN), HyVee, SDSU Dairy, WalMart, McDonald’s (Brookings), Sam’s Club, Wal-Mart East and Wal-Mart West (Sioux Falls), Sioux Valley Energy (Colman), Midwest Dairy Council, Moody County Public Health Nurses & Avera Health, Sanford Health, Moody County Cooperative Extension Service/4-H, Healthy South Dakota, Coordinated School Health, Governor and Mrs. Mike Rounds, Senator Tim Johnson, Senator John Thune, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Timberwolves, Minnesota Vikings, Sioux Falls Storm, and Sioux Falls Skyforce.

Based on the school height and weight data submitted to the South Dakota Department of Health, the following South Dakota schools have successfully worked to reverse the increasing trend in child overweight and child obesity.  This is their response to the question “What has your school or community done that you think has caused the improvement in rates in your school?”

Dakota Middle School, Rapid City, overweight rate dropped 4% since previous school year

At Dakota Middle School we have completely changed the discipline in our physical education program for the girls.  In keeping with the fight against obesity and childhood diabetes we have committed ourselves to a greater ongoing dialogue between ourselves and our students regarding health issues, reviewing statistics, straight talk and a greatly rejuvenated exercise program wherein our focus centers around strength, flexibility and cardio fitness.  This is accomplished in great part through core and weight bearing exercise.  Week by week we see the improvement in our girls, but more importantly, they are starting to see it in themselves.

Carol Kendall, physical education instructor


CC Lee Elementary School, Aberdeen, overweight rate consistently well below state average since 1998-1999 school year

The school counselor has organized a couple of different activities at C.C. Lee.  Each fall and spring, usually the months of Sept., Oct., March, and April, students in grades 1 - 5 are given an activity calendar.  Each day they are to log their minutes of activity and also record the type of activity they did.  The parents are asked to initial the calendar daily.  The goal is to accumulate 300 minutes of activity throughout the month.  The students turn in the calendar at the end of the month.  Those students who reached the 300 minute goal have their name put in a drawing.  Each month, 15 to 20 names are drawn and they receive a prize that the PTA provides.  Prizes are activity related, such as basketballs, mini footballs, jump rope activity packs, etc. 

Also, she has organized "Wellness Wednesday" which is for 2nd grade students.  During recess on Wednesdays, she conducts a group game.  The games are to promote physical activity as well as teaching teamwork, social skills, following rules, etc.  Approx. 1/3 of the class participates in this. 

I also feel that a large percentage of the C.C. Lee parents are very health conscious and are well educated when it comes to nutrition and fitness.  They also are economically able to purchase the fruits and vegetables and foods necessary for a healthy diet. 

Becky Luecke, Physical Education Instructor  


Chamberlain Middle School overweight rate 3.5% below state average

The Chamberlain School District is committed to the improved health of the students in the District.  They have made various decisions to help fight the growing problem on obesity of American youth.  The district has attempted to improve the eating habits of students by contracting with Lunch Time Solutions to improve the school meals.  Lunch Time Solutions provides balanced meals for both breakfast and lunch. Aside from the daily meals, this program provides fruit, muffins and milk during testing weeks.

 Chamberlain Schools have removed all pop machines for student use.  The popular pop machines have been replaced by much healthier choices. Students can now select from milk, water, fruit juices and sport drinks.

 The Middle School Physical Education and health Department was awarded a $5000.00 Healthy Schools Award in 2004.  The Department used this money to purchase two spinner bikes, two elliptical and two recumbent machines.  The school also purchased additional Heart Rate monitors to be used for a High School Personal Fitness Class.  The exercise equipment is located in the Health Classroom.  This allows students easy access to the equipment. Every morning you will find Middle School Students riding the machines.  There usually is a waiting line to get on the six pieces of equipment.

 Heart rate monitors and heart rate counts are taken during Physical Education classes. The purpose of this is to see if students are working in their target heart rate zone.

 During this time frame Mid-Dakota Hospital has done health screening in physical education classes.  The results of these screenings were mailed to parents from the hospital.  Also, during school career fairs, students are exposed to careers in the health field.

 The School District uses the local newspapers to recognize the success of the schools programs. This keeps the community aware of the positive happenings in the school. 

In the community, parents are involved in organizing several club sports such as swim team, soccer, wrestling, baseball and softball.  The community is very interested in the youth of Chamberlain.

Harry Haanen, Physical Education Instructor 


Douglas Middle School, Box Elder, overweight rate more than 4% below state average

We promote running, walking, jump rope, physical fitness testing, stationary bikes, treadmills, the use of heart monitors & pedometers, and activities that require a lot of running and full class participation.  We spend little time on team sports that require many students to wait there turn.

Bob Reynolds, Physical Education Instructor


Eagle Butte Upper Elementary overweight rate dropped 5.4% from 2003-2004 school year to 2004-2005 school year

In PE, the PE teacher is more i-tune with the state PE standards and has rewritten lessons so that all students are moving and active for the entire PE period.  Students are taught active games that can be used at home and are encouraged during recesses.

The past 2 years we have had an active summer rec program through 21st century, and Diabetes Prevention Program going in the community.

We have also had after school sports programs using school facilities: Basketball, AAU wrestling, track & football.  Drill team for students grades 1-6 have also met in school facilities and encourages activity.

SDSU Extension Service has come into health classes for the last two years to 3rd and 4th grade health classes to work on nutritious snacks and foods children can make & eat, and to discuss nutrition and exercise.  These sessions are 40 min long and last 8 weeks. This also has helped.

The Diabetes Prevention Program has also helped us by presenting information on healthy diets and exercise routines.  They check for pre-diabetes conditions in children at our school and invite students at risk to become part of special exercise programs which they run throughout the year.

Our new wellness policy is helping to encourage more healthy snacks and no candy at school, as well.

All of these things work together to help our children remain healthy and to reduce overall obesity.

Cora L. Peterson, principal 


Elk Point-Jefferson Elementary school overweight rate dropped 3% since 1998-1999 school year

  1. providing health foods for snack time and parties
  2. addition of a salad bar
  3. eliminating soda & high calorie foods from vending machines
  4. increased education & awareness of how to eat & live healthier through bulletin boards, posters, & posting calorie, fat, & sugar contents of foods offered each day
  5. participation in the “Schools Walk” program.

Lisa McInerney, School Nurse 


Harrisburg Liberty and Explorer (opened Aug. 2005) Elementary Schools, overweight rate is only 0.1% higher than 4 years ago

There is a team effort between the administrators, classroom and physical education teachers, school kitchen staff, and the nurses - - to educate students and parents regarding the relationship between nutrition and exercise and overall health.

Increasing physical activity options with programs such as a Walking Club. 

Vending machines are turned off during school hours and high sugar and fat snacks have been removed.

Sandy Schulz, school nurse 


Iroquois Schools overweight rate dropped 3.7% in two years

The Iroquois School District has continued to try to educate children and adults about nutrition.  We formed a wellness committee that has continued to implement programs to help look at the total wellness of the students.  The committee has applied for a grant to help improve the curriculum offered to high school students about wellness.  Two students have enrolled in an online Health Education Class through DIAL and several students from the FACS classes have posted informational posters throughout the building.  Gabrielle Testerman the District Wellness Coordinator has been hard at work educating staff and students about total wellness.  In the elementary we have encouraged healthier snacks, changed noon recess to before lunch and keep all the students out for recess and in PE. 

Lori Wehlander, Superintendent/Elementary Principal 


Koch Elementary, Milbank, overweight dropping and now more than 2% below state average

I do not know.  The message is out everywhere one looks that we must make responsible choices in our activities and our eating.  The elementary children hear it in the classrooms, in gym, in the lunchroom, in the nurse’s office and hopefully they hear it at home as well.  I think each staff member makes a real effort to be a healthier individual, and that filters down to the children. We have a Milbank in Motion program that encourages the elementary children to be active after school hours.  They can win prizes for the sheets they fill out and turn in.  The teachers are very good about promoting healthy snack ideas to parents when snacks are brought to school for snack time.  Our soda pop has been removed from the machines that are accessible to the children.

Sandra Tucholke, school nurse 


Piedmont/Stagebarn Elementary, Sturgis, overweight rate consistently below state average

The results show that our students have a decrease in the percentage of students who are obese.  Several activities have occurred over the past few years that may have contributed to this decline.

  1. School has an early start so the students are allowed to bring a snack.  Lessons have been taught on what a “healthy” snack is and the students are encouraged to bring only healthy snacks.  They may have milk and juice as or in addition to their snack.

  2. The school nurse, classroom teachers and the P. E. Instructor have taught units on nutrition and healthy choices.

  3. The school lunch program is serving more fruits and vegetables, increased the amount of fiber (i.e., wheat bread), changing some of the recipes for less sodium and fat, and the milk is skim or 1% only.

  4. The pop machines have been taken out of the schools.

  5. The P.E. Instructor has a Runner’s Club in the fall and spring.  This program involves many students Grades 2-6.  She also has Jump Rope Clinics after school in January and February. Cardiovascular fitness is emphasized in the P. E. classes as well as lifetime fitness and sports.

  6. The community is involved in many after school activities such as soccer, softball, baseball, basketball, wrestling, and volleyball.  There are many opportunities for the students to participate in other activities such as skiing, snowboarding, gymnastics, bowling, and hiking.

These are some of the activities occurring in the two schools.  Piedmont serves students in kindergarten and first grade.  Stagebarn serves students in second through sixth grades.

Dr. Helen Jenkins, Principal


South Park Elementary, Belle Fourche, overweight rate more than 2% below state average

We have a Belle Fourche Community Center that has an indoor track, pool, and gym that families can be a member of.  The facility is also used by the after school program.

Theresa Adel, Physical Education instructor

Sturgis Elementary overweight rate consistently several percentage points below state average

I think the biggest success factor would have to be the commitment in our staff in helping students to learn how to live healthy lifestyles. All district employees from maintenance to food service, regular classroom teachers to support staff, administration to school board members have made a commitment to help students learn to live and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The formation of our coordinated school health team has also been a huge factor. It allows our district to coordinate and brain storm ideas that can help reduce, or at least manage, the trend of increased obesity in our country as well as the state of South Dakota.

Chris West, Physical Education Instructor 


Watertown Middle School overweight rate consistently below state average and dropping
First, our principal, Dan Albertsen and the entire Watertown School Administration has been very supportive of Watertown’s health and physical education program.  We are able to offer health and physical education five days a week.  We have also been provided with a budget that supports our programs and we have also found other ways to supplement our financial needs.

There are a number of things that we do that has helped provide opportunities for our students to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  First, the Family and Consumer Science Department has an excellent curriculum that focuses on healthy eating habits.

Second, I believe that our curriculum also supports a healthy lifestyle.  We offer a wide range of activities that promote fitness to include:  tennis, lacrosse, swimming, pickleball, floor hockey, badminton, rollerblading, cross country skiing, soccer, and track & field.  We also administer the Fitnessgram physical fitness test in the fall and spring.

Third, we are fortunate to have a fitness lab complete with aerobic equipment (Gamebikes, Dance Dance Revolution, airdynes, steppers, treadmills, cross trainer, recumbent bike, rowing machine, and strength training equipment.)  All students workout in this fitness lab 13 times during the year.  The fitness lab is also open two days a week before school and three days a week after school for student and faculty use.

Fourth, students are required (graded) to participate in an additional 30 minutes of activity after school five days a week.  Extra curricular activities fulfills this requirement.  We really encourage student participation in activities.  We also have a “Strong Arrow” strength improvement program in which participation in three activities helps meet the requirements of this award. 

Fifth, our physical education staff begins each class period with 10 minutes of aerobic or strength training on an alternating basis.  We use strength balls, stretch bands, weighted jump ropes, and exercise balls to promote fitness.

Sixth, our staff takes turns supervising an open gym every day of the week throughout the school year.  Generally there are some 50-75 students actively involved.

Seventh, there is excellent participation in our extra curricular activities and intramural programs.  There are 150 boys in football, 80 girls in volleyball and basketball, 90 boys in basketball, 140 boys and girls in track & field, and many more in hockey, soccer, and gymnastics.

This pretty well sums up some of the extras that happen at the Watertown Middle School due to a supportive administration and a caring health and physical education staff.  Thanks for this opportunity.

Nick Kranz
Department Head


Jane Adams Elementary School, Sioux Falls

The after school program that is offered to staff, students and their families has an "Exercise Club" 2 days a week. About 60 people have signed up with more than 25 people regularly attending. The group does running, power walking, aerobics, tae-bo, and some hand weights. An $800.00 donation from a parent was used to purchase hand weights, medicine balls, punching bags, and 2 total gyms so we can begin circuit training. It is a lot of fun and has been very well received! 

Trecia, Jane Adams Elementary

Axtell Park Middle School, Sioux Falls

After viewing the movie "Supersize Me" (about the gentlemen that eats only at McDonalds for 30 days to see what affects it would have on his body) in health class, a 7th grade girl told her teacher that she now has an apple everyday with her lunch and that she went into McDonalds the other day, had her money out and was ready to order when she thought about the movie. She decided to leave and find a healthier alternative!

Trecia, Axtell Park Middle School

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