We in the New Rochelle, New York schools join First Lady Michelle Obama in focusing on the importance of good nutrition and fitness for students. The First Lady recently noted that while good progress in this area has been made in recent years, she also stated "about one in three kids in this country is still overweight or obese -- for African-American and Hispanic kids, it's nearly 40 percent."
In the City School District of New Rochelle, we are addressing wellness issues head-on. In March, we worked in collaboration with the Food Bank for Westchester to highlight Eat Healthy NY Day. This program underscored for our children why making healthy food choices is so critical.
Additionally, as recipients of the federal Physical Education Program (PEP) grant, our schools have increased the number of fitness and healthy eating programs for students and their families. We recognize classroom physical activity breaks improve academic achievement and our teachers have embraced newly structured bursts of exercise and stretching into their routines.
These initiatives reflect our ongoing efforts to support students' non-academic success, summarized in the recently adopted Strategic Roadmap for our schools. It states, "We believe...in educating the whole child by nurturing students' physical, emotional and intellectual growth." As educators, we can't afford to fail in our mission to share this vital message in support of our children and parents.
As Mrs. Obama asserted, "if we all keep pushing forward, day after day, year after year, we will finally be able to give our kids the healthy futures they so richly deserve."