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2015-2016 Sangamon County Excellence in School Wellness Award - It's Here!

Posted by Whitney Ajie -

2015-2016 Sangamon County Excellence in School Wellness Award - It's Here!

Due: Friday, April 8th, 2016

Want an application? Click here!

The Sangamon County Excellence in School Wellness Award was created to recognize public schools in Sangamon County that have taken steps to create a healthy environment for their students and staff in the areas of nutrition education, school food, physical activity, staff wellness, and more. A healthy school environment is positively associated with academic achievement and improved behavior, helps prevent childhood obesity, and decreases the risk of future chronic diseases by promoting ideal health practices among youth.

Schools are the places to teach the best practices in every subject, and Sangamon County schools are creating new programs, working with community partners, and making changes to the environment, school food, and policies so that nutrition and physical activity become second nature to current and future students. We will reap the benefits through a new generation of healthy, thriving youth and a healthier future for Illinois. For their commitment to their students' health, we would like to recognize their efforts with this award.

Annually, schools in Sangamon County will be selected to receive the Sangamon County Excellence in School Wellness Award in Gold, Silver, or Bronze. Winners will be chosen and contacted in April 2016. Winning schools will be recognized and awarded their Certificate of Excellence in a subsequent school board meeting for their district.

Congratulations to our winners for 2014-2015!

Dubois Elementary, Springfield IL – Gold Winner

Harvard Park Elementary, Springfield IL – Gold Winner

Matheny-Withrow Elementary, Springfield IL – Gold Winner with Distinction

Special thanks to our 2014-2015 community partners in Sangamon County who support & appreciate our schools' efforts to improve school wellness!

GenHkids, Illinois Department of Public Health, County Market, Springfield Urban League, YMCA of Sprignfield, Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Action for Healthy Kids, Sangamon County Department of Public Health, and the Sangamon-Menard Regional Office of Education

Eligible schools include:

  • K-12 Public schools within Sangamon County
  • K-12 Alternative public schools within Sangamon County
  • Additional consideration will be given to schools with a free/reduced lunch population above 40% and first time applicants, however all schools are highly encouraged to apply
  • Qualifying school wellness activities must have taken place in the 2015-2016 school year (August 1, 2015 – July 31, 2016)

A complete application consists of:

  1. Copy of district wellness policy
  2. Excellence in School Wellness Award application
  3. Deadline – Fri, April 8th, 2016
  4. Email application as attachment to, or
  5. Fax to 217-524-6662, or
  6. Mail to c/o: Whitney Ajie, 700 South Airport Drive, Springfield, IL 62707

Award submission & notification process:

  • Award application to be submitted by Fri, April 8th, 2016 at 5:00pm
  • Award winners will be notified by April 29th
  • Award winners will be recognized with a Certificate of Excellence at a subsequent Board of Education meeting for their school district

Scoring information & Criteria for Excellence in School Wellness Award

Schools will be assessed based on their responses to the checklist questions under several critical areas related to school wellness. Based on each response, a school will receive a point(s) or fraction of a point per question.

Schools that provide additional information in their open response sections, included for each wellness area, could be awarded additional points based on the details of their planning process, reach, implementation, impact, creativity, longevity/maintenance, student/family feedback, etc. The open response sections give each school the opportunity to illustrate more openly the work they've done to satisfy the criteria.

A school's final score is based on the sum of their checklist points, open response points, and any additional points scored for additional consideration, e.g. first time applicant, over 40% free/reduced lunch, etc. If at or above 40 total points, a school will be placed in either the Bronze, Silver, or Gold award category.

Award categories based on score:

  • Bronze: 40-60 points
  • Silver: 61-80 points
  • Gold: 81-100 points

Baseline requirements:

  • Participate in the National School Lunch Program and/or National School Breakfast Program
  • Have a written, district wellness policy
  • Have a school wellness team – Additional consideration for teams that include a parent(s), student(s), and/or community member(s)
  • Elementary schools: Offer a minimum of 75 minutes of physical activity each week (includes Physical Education (PE) classes and recess)
  • Middle schools/Junior high schools: Compliant with daily PE requirements for all students, other than exempt students; or, for every grade a student completes, the student completes the equivalent of 1 semester of PE
  • High schools: Compliant with daily PE requirements for all students, other than exempt students; or, by graduation each student will have completed the equivalent of 2 credits (or 4 semesters of PE)

Scoring rubric:

  • Nutrition & Activity – 60 points maximum:
    • Food Service – 20 points
    • Nutrition/Nutrition Education – 20 points
    • Physical Education/Activity – 20 points
  • Outreach – 30 points maximum:
    • Marketing/Promotion – 15 points
    • Family/Community Involvement – 15 points
  • Staff Wellness – 10 points maximum

Additional notes:

  • Quality of programming, above quantity, and policy implementation is emphasized
  • Inclusion of parents and students in planning, promotion, and implementation of school wellness activities is strongly encouraged
  • Inclusion of community partners in your school wellness efforts is strongly encouraged
  • Inclusion of pictures and/or video documenting school wellness activities is welcomed


Contact information:

Please don't hesitate to contact Whitney Ajie at University of Illinois Extension with questions or concerns. Phone: 217-782-4617. Email: Website:

We look forward to reading your application!

Due: Friday, April 8th, 2016

Click here to download the application!


Download the fillable PDF document from the link provided. The form can be filled in using Adobe Reader and saved on any computer. Please respond to the application questions in the critical areas of school wellness: Food Service, Nutrition/Nutrition Education, Physical Education/Activity, Marketing/Promotion, Family/Community Involvement, and Staff Wellness.

Under each heading, there is a checklist of several questions and an open response section. The open response section is optional, but highly encouraged as it could earn you additional points. The open response section allows you illustrate how you have supported and implemented your school's wellness goals in each area. The more details you provide, the better we can assess your school's efforts. You do not have to answer every question, unless it is a required question; however, you will only be assessed by the questions that have a response. Schools will receive a score between 0-100, and will compete for the Gold, Silver or Bronze awards - Bronze Category (40-60 points), Silver Category (61-80 points), or Gold Category (81-100 points). Within each category, an overall winner will be announced as a Bronze with Distinction, Silver with Distinction, or Gold with Distinction winner. To select the overall winner, the final score as well as the open responses or any additional documentation submitted will be considered.

Activities must have taken place between August 1, 2015 and July 31, 2016. Examples of what to include in your open response are: detailed explanation of the activity, who and what was involved in planning and implementation, the duration of the activity and/or how long the activity has been maintained, how the activity is/will be monitored or maintained over time, how the activity has impacted students, parents and/or staff (e.g. in-class behavior, attendance, truancy, grades, fitness tests, trips to nurse/principal's office, plate waste, involvement, attitudes, efficiency, instructional time, etc.), how the activity meets your school's needs or satisfies part of the wellness policy, any community or family involvement, how the activity was innovative or creative, how money was raised or grant funding was received, and similar relevant information. Your open response entries may be typed and submitted with your application. Additional documents (including pictures and video) are encouraged if they support or further explain your activities in each section. When submitting supporting documentation, please label the documents as to which section they are supporting, i.e. Food Service, Nutrition/Nutrition Education, Physical Education/Activity, Marketing/Promotion, Family/Community Involvement, or Staff Wellness. Please label your supporting documents with the appropriate section on the top right-hand side.

You are required to include a copy of your district's wellness policy, as well as any rules & regulations for the policy, with your completed application. If your school has added policies or rules that go above and beyond the district's policy, please include those as well.

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