For its efforts to promote and encourage a healthier lifestyle in and around the community, Bodkin Elementary was one of six public schools in the county to receive the 2017 AACPS Wellness School of Distinction award.
“It is an absolute honor and feels great to receive this award for not only our school but our amazing community as well,” said Michelle Corey, a physical education teacher at Bodkin.
Bodkin was joined by other award winners: Annapolis High, Arnold Elementary, Ferndale Early Education Center, Maryland City Elementary and Southern High.
Schools were observed in their ability to address the initiatives of health education, physical activity, health services, nutrition environment and services, counseling, psychological and social services, social and emotional climate, physical environment, employee wellness, family engagement and community involvement.
“Bodkin is a very strong community — inside and out. The families, businesses, and nearby organizations have been part of Bodkin for generations,” said second-grade teacher Susan Burg. “Faculty and staff come together like family. They welcome people into the family with open arms and passionately share the ideals that Bodkin holds dear.”
Bodkin Principal Rachel Amstutz assembled a wellness team to lead the school in health initiatives.
“We have had a strong priority on student and staff wellness for many, many years. It was simply time to document it,” Amstutz added.
School counselor Jennifer Elsis and global studies teacher Melissa Major joined Burg and Corey to connect students, faculty and families in building a stronger sense of wellness in and around Bodkin.
“Parents and family members cherish the opportunities to work with their children, to help in their classrooms and to truly make a difference in the community,” Corey added.
Those opportunities for kids include the Bodkin Striders running club, a color run, dance classes, Girls on the Run, and Jump Rope for Heart. Teachers have participated in a “Biggest Loser” event and National Walk at Lunch Day to promote wellness.
To guide one another, Bodkin staff members have also stressed the importance of Changemaker traits. Empathy, leadership, problem solving and teamwork have been on the minds of everyone at Bodkin as they strive for a better, healthier community.
Corey mentioned that those Changemaker traits were designed “to encourage positive social-emotional growth [while] teachers, students and community members work together to build strong relationships.”
Students, teachers and administrations across Anne Arundel County have worked diligently to improve wellness in the surrounding communities. The fruits of that labor are represented by a record-high six schools receiving the Wellness School of Distinction award for 2017.
“It shows that schools are taking great strides to implement programs that support student and staff well-being,” Amstutz said. “We know that to be successful in educating children, we must focus on the whole child — that includes physical and mental health.”
To learn more about Bodkin’s wellness initiatives, search YouTube for “Bodkin Wellness Video,” uploaded by Michelle Fakeri.
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