Monday, May 17, 2010
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
So how did Norwood Elementary School, located in a low-income, predominately Latino neighborhood, raise the passing percentage of its 700 students who took the Fitnessgram test from 36 percent in 2006-2007 to 60 percent in 2008-2009?
The answer lies within two individuals: Adriana Valenzual (HEAC School Sector Lead and Physical Education Advisor for Los Angeles Unified School District) and Zeph Lee, a physical education teacher at the school. It started with Valenzual’s strong belief that teaching kids how to be successful in fun activities will provide them with skills that they can use the rest of their lives. After receiving a grant from the California Endowment, she and the school asked Lee to help them make her dream a reality.
"We have quality before-school and after-school programs carefully coordinated by the physical education teacher and the after-school organization, A World Fit for Kids," says Valenzuela. "All programs work together as part of a larger school district policy on health and wellness, creating a seamless approach to instruction and consistent messaging."
The Fitnessgram test is the core of Norwood’s effective physical education strategy, and uses games and other activities incorporating “mental strategies” to keep students engaged in what they’re doing. Students are encouraged to keep journals to track their progress, which includes recording their heart rate every day (at rest, while exercising, and post-activity). The kids are driven to stay focused with an award system based on individual improvement. "It is amazing what a bulletin board and certificates do for a student to improve," said Valenzual.
Besides Mr. Lee’s positive high-energy and the student’s dedication, three things have been key to the survival and success of Norwood's physical education program: mandatory ongoing participation by all teachers, support from administrators, and high rates of voluntary participation by parents.
The Latino Nutrition Coalition applauds Ms. Valenzual, Mr. Lee and anyone who has ever dedicated themselves to improving the health and wellness of a student.
Friday, May 7, 2010
This week's pick: Nelly Furtado, "Manos Al Aire"
Have a good weekend everyone!
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Oven-Bakes Sopes (via Vegetarian Times)
Makes 24 sopes
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, optional
- 3 cups masa harina
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 3 Tbs. vegetable oil or olive oil
- 1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Whisk together masa harina, Parmesan cheese, if using, baking powder, and salt in bowl. Stir in 2 1/2 cups hot water until mixture forms soft dough. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir egg, then oil, into dough.
- Roll 1/4 cup dough into ball. Press into 3-inch disk on prepared baking sheet, pinching together any cracked edges. Press indentation in center of disk using small drinking glass, then shape 1/2-inch edge around indentation with your fingers. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Bake 10 minutes, or until sopes begin to look dry. Sprinkle each indentation with 2 tsp. grated Monterey Jack cheese. Return to oven, and bake 5 minutes more, or until cheese has melted. Top with Zucchini-Corn Filling or Pico de Gallo.
Friday, April 30, 2010
This week's pick: Chino Y Nacho, "Mi Niña Bonita"
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
When given the choice, kids typically reach for junk food – at least that is what has been found to be the case many high schools across the country. Watsonville High School in Santa Cruz county was no different. Like many California high schools, Watsonville High School has an open-campus policy that allows students to purchase and eat food off-campus during the lunch period. Such policies increase exposure to opportunities for unhealthy food choices contributing to obesity and other chronic diseases, as youth stream daily into nearby convenience stores and fast food restaurants.
According to Public Health Advocacy Data, 36 percent of Watsonville's 5th, 7th, and 9th graders were overweight or obese, compared to 24 percent of Santa Cruz's 5th, 7th, and 9th graders.
Motivated to take action, a group of concerned students formed Jóvenes SANOS, whose goal is to raise awareness about childhood obesity and to implement policies that promote healthy nutrition and physical activity in the city of Watsonville. The youth advocacy program Jóvenes SANOS is part of a larger program called Go for Health!, a county-wide collaborative project of United Way of Santa Cruz County involving 150 agencies committed to addressing childhood obesity.
"Watsonville is 75% Latino and low-income," notes Angela Rocchio, a community organizer and youth program coordinator for Go for Health, "and the students recognized that the community depends on fast food and convenience stores, which can look like a good deal when you don't have much money. So educating fellow students and local business owners became a centerpiece of their efforts working with local markets."
So far, five markets in neighborhoods surrounding the high school have signed on to the Watsonville Healthy Markets Pilot Program: El Primo Produce, Frúteria Quetzal, Santa Rosa Market, La Colmena, and Pajaro Food Center. A concise one-page contract spells out the parties' agreements. Among other things, market owners agree to increase the opportunity for the Watsonville community to buy nutritious foods (including fresh fruits and vegetables); to display advertisements promoting healthier foods, and fewer advertisements for beer, cigarettes, and junk food; to provide healthy foods at child's eye level around cash registers; and to be contacted by students for monthly updates. For their part, students agree to provide training to market owners and their staff, and nutrition posters for display in the store; and to actively promote the store among family and friends and as part of the group's ongoing publicity efforts.
Meanwhile the program's benefits go beyond improvements in community health and nutrition. Participation in the group enhances individual students' leadership and public speaking skills, and also adds value as an extracurricular activity on college applications. Above all, says, Rocchio, "Students learn that they have a voice and the power to make change."
For more information, contact Angela Rocchio at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, April 23, 2010
This week's pick was chosen by Paul!
Voz Veis - Te Brindo