Pasadena Unified’s Health Program Wins Top Statewide Honor
The Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) has been chosen as one of 56 recipients of the state’s leading educational honor, the Golden Bell Award. The Golden Bell Award, now in its 37th year, is sponsored by the California School Boards Association (CSBA). The award recognizes public school programs that are innovative and sustainable, make a demonstrated difference for students and focus on meeting the needs of all public school students. Pasadena Unified is being recognized for its Building a Healthy School Environment program, which improves student health and wellness.
“I am both honored and proud that Pasadena Unified’s health and wellness programs are recognized with the Golden Bell award for excellence With the innovative and collaborative leadership of PUSD’s Health Programs and Food and Nutrition teams, every student who attends PUSD will graduate with a healthy mind, body and spirit ,” said Superintendent Brian McDonald. “With school gardens in 11 schools,a master gardener on board, orchard gardens expanding, and committed partners, PUSD’s focus on the whole student is leading to outstanding health outcomes for students and their families.”
Pasadena Unified will receive its award at a recognition ceremony to be held on Saturday, December 3 from 11:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. at CSBA’s Annual Education Conference and Trade Show in San Francisco at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis located at 780 Mission Street.
The Building a Healthy School Environment program increases students’ physical activity on campus; access to healthy foods at school; knowledge about healthy eating through experiential learning in school gardens; student engagement and training through paid high school internships; and the number and depth of community partnerships.
The program includes Peaceful Playgrounds, a project at elementary schools that involves painting games on school blacktops to increase opportunities for physical activity during free time; the Catz K-5 PE program, which trains elementary school teachers to deliver fitness-based physical education and team sports with youth development strategies; school gardens at 18 PUSD campuses that repurpose lawns for school and community gardens while saving water; an award-winning K-5 Farm to School curriculum that integrates activities in school gardens and classroom instruction; purchasing of fresh, locally-sourced produce for use in school meals by PUSD’s Food & Nutrition Services’ Muir Ranch, a two-acre urban farm that offers paid high school student internships and provides weekly fresh fruit and vegetables to 200 local families; and partnerships with the City of Pasadena and County of Los Angeles to provide assistance to district families enrolled in SNAP, Market Match and other nutrition programs, including summer meals for youth. PUSD’s joint use opportunities with the City of Pasadena are resulting in outstanding athletic venues for students to play while moving adults and community members into better fitness after school.
Experts from school districts and county offices of education made up the 16-member judging panel that reviewed the written entries and made the initial recommendations for the awards. On-site validators assessed the programs in action. This year’s awards are presented to school districts and county offices of education helping students achieve through after school programs, mentoring, instructional interventions, use of data and other innovations.
“California’s K-12 public schools continue to produce some of the nation’s best and brightest students, and our Golden Bell recipients are a reflection of that excellence as well as the spirit of innovation which is so characteristic of this state,” said CSBA CEO and Executive Director Vernon M. Billy. “The Golden Bell Awards recognize the quality and the determination of school leaders from across California in meeting the needs of California’s students through award-winning programs and services ”
CSBA is the non-profit education association representing the elected officials who govern public school districts and county offices of education. With a membership of nearly 1,000 educational agencies statewide, CSBA brings together school governing boards and district and county office administrators to advocate for effective policies that advance the education and well-being of the state’s more than 6 million school-age children. Learn more at www.csba.org.
Pasadena Unified School District, 351 S. Hudson Ave., Pasadena, (626) 396-3600 or visit www.pusd.us.