Monday, September 23, 2013

Chesnut Charter Elementary’s Coach Dykema and PTC Member Angela Renals to Attend Summit
Sponsored by Department of Public Health

Coach Lonny Dykema explains the health benefits
of celery to Chesnut’s students.

Chesnut Charter Elementary’s (Chesnut’s) Physical Education Coach, Lonny “Coach” Dykema, and PTC Member and Wellness Action Team Co-Chair, Angela Renals, will attend the inaugural Georgia Student Health and Physical Education (SHAPE) Healthy Schools Summit this week in Peachtree City.  Sponsored by the Georgia Department of Public Health, the theme of the summit is “Shaping Healthy Schools for Brighter Futures.” 
Participants at this state-wide summit will include representatives from K-12 schools that have applied for and/or received school health mini-grants as part of Governor Nathan Deal’s SHAPE initiative. Last year Chesnut was one of only 12 schools in the state (and the only one in Dunwoody) that received up to $5,000 (Chesnut actually received the full $5,000) to implement or improve physical activity and nutrition plans.  Ms. Renals will present at the summit, where she will share methods for building a Wellness Team with strong parent involvement, pointing to the growth of Chesnut’s Wellness Team (which, in one year has grown from 12 to 33 members). Ms. Renals will also describe how Chesnut’s Wellness Team has implemented the grant, including two new Farm to School nutrition lessons launched during Physical Education classes (Fall 2012 - “Tasting a Rainbow ofPlants”, and Spring 2013 - “First Eat Real, Second Read Labels”) and a new walking/running path (the path is “on track” to be constructed next weekend).
As a SHAPE grantee, Chesnut Charter Elementary has been invited to send two delegates to the summit as guests of the Department of Public Health. Slated as a speaker at the event, Ms. Renals was grateful that Principal Veronica Williams and Coach Dykema determined he should also attend, seizing the opportunity to gather successful strategies from fellow grantees. They look forward to applying what they will learn -- about programs proven to increase physical activity and consumption of fruits and vegetables -- to Chesnut’s school environment. 
“In my opinion, growing Chesnut’s health initiative is a four-way partnership between the school's parents, administration. faculty and staff, and student body,” said Coach Dykema.  “I am extremely fortunate to have the administration’s support in allowing me to participate in this professional development activity.  The students will enjoy a ‘substitute Coach’ for a few days, and, in return, I will bring them some new and innovative ways to further improve their physical and health activities.”

About Chesnut Charter Elementary’s Wellness Team Chesnut Charter Elementary’s Wellness Team promotes healthy habits and environment for students, families, faculty and staff of Chesnut Charter Elementary School in support of Dekalb County’s Wellness Policy.  By soliciting community, family and staff input, the Wellness Team develops and executes Chesnut’s School Health Improvement Action Plan, which addresses physical, mental and emotional wellness that leads to greater success inside and out of the classroom.  

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