Duquesne City School Distict is county's first 'Live Well' school district
September 23, 2014 11:05 PM
Allegheny County executive Rich Fitzgerald talks with students at the Duquesne City School District on Tuesday during the LIve Well Allegheny Campaign. Duquesne City School District was formally designated as the first Live Well Allegheny school.
By Mary Niederberger / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
There was yoga in the hallways, push-ups and relay races in the gym and marching in cadence in an outside lot.
That was the scene Tuesday in the Duquesne City School District, which was designated as the county’s first “Live Well Allegheny” school district.
Duquesne’s 375 students in grades K-6 were participating in a “Move-a-Thon” to display their energy and physical abilities to county Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Health Department Director Karen Hacker, who visited to bestow the “Live Well” designation on the district.
Duquesne is county's first 'Live Well' School District
Duquesne City School District is county's first 'Live Well' School District. (Video by Nate Guidry; 9/23/2014)
“There are 43 school districts in Allegheny County and yours is number one,” Mr. Fitzgerald told district administrators as they greeted him. He thanked them for being the first district in the county to apply for the designation.
“Today is a very special day for us. Our students’ health and safety is a great concern for us and we will do anything we can to help with this,” said Acting Superintendent Barbara McDonnell.
“Live Well Allegheny,” launched in January, is a comprehensive county-wide strategy aimed at improving physical and mental health and personal and community safety, prevention and preparedness.
Dr. Hacker plans 13 community meetings around the county to talk with residents about their health concerns. The first meeting was held Monday on the North Side.
To become a “Live Well” school, districts schools must be willing to tackle such issues as childhood obesity and the lack of physical activity and to encourage healthy eating. Districts must be willing to share student body mass index data and identify what steps they will take to achieve Live Well goals.
A district must commit to a minimum of four action steps and the health department provides a list of 16 possible steps including providing 15 minutes of exercise four times a day, placing healthy foods in vending machines and offering fresh fruits and vegetables at all meals, initiating a school garden and participating in the Safe Routes to School Program.
Ms. McDonnell said Duquesne was already doing a number of those things. “We just had to make it better from what we were already doing,” she said.
And the students were all in on the physical activity front Tuesday eagerly participating at the various stations.
On mats in a hallway, they learned the up dog and down dog facing positions in yoga. In the gym, they exercised in a circle, dropping every few minutes for 10 push-ups, an activity that Mr. Fitzgerald participated in, with the sleeves on his shirt rolled up.
Outside, they learned to march like Marines.
“I’m very proud for us today and really excited about what is to come for us,” Duquesne Elementary Principal Jennifer Jennings said.
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