“New School High is a shining example of what it takes to build healthy school environments!”  

— Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

Earlier this year, we had the opportunity to share our commitment to health and wellness with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Michigan Department of Education, United Dairy Industry of Michigan, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Action for Healthy Kids. I am delighted to announce that these groups will honor New School High with the Michigan School Wellness Silver Award at the State Capitol on May 16.

From its inception, New School High has been committed to promoting the health and wellness of our students. We do this for two reasons. The first is a practical concern: students learn better when they are safe and healthy. The second is a moral one: As educators, citizens, parents, and human beings, we are responsible for the well-being of our young people. New School High’s dedication to physical and mental health is embedded into our structure, policies, and culture. Here are just a few of the ways we help our student learn and grow by nurturing an environment that is safe, healthy, and caring:  

  • Following the recommendations of the American Association of Pediatrics, our school day begins at 8:30 am, a start time that is properly aligned to the sleep patterns of adolescents.
  • Physical Education is a required class for every student, every day, every year.
  • The full Michigan Model Health program was approved by staff and families for all New School High students.
  • Students may eat healthy foods throughout the majority of the school day. Unhealthy energy drinks, soft drinks, and empty-calorie snacks are actively discouraged.
  • Cell phones, which distract and disrupt concentration, must be stowed in the school office throughout the school day.
  • Unkind words or actions towards others are not tolerated; restorative practices require the perpetrator to take responsibility for doing harm and restoring trust.
  • School-wide sharing of information and special presentations on vaping, cyberbullying, and other dangerous behaviors are regular and targeted.
  • All students participate in a grade-level Advisory class, which addresses healthy relationships as well as self-advocacy, mindfulness, communication skills, growth mindset, and the practice of gratitude, respect, and responsibility.

Our school would not have achieved this recognition without the commitment and hard of our staff, day in and day out. I would especially like to thank Emily Yeater and Collan Baker for their collaboration on the application for this award. Finally, I am asking that our families continue to support good physical and mental health by ensuring that their student follows our school policies and practices regarding sleep, exercise, eating, technology, vaping and behaviors that place them at risk. The health and safety of our students is a team effort, and there is no endeavor more important.