Thunder Bay

Northwestern Ontario school board receives healthy schools certification

A total of 16 schools in the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board (KPDSB) have received the Ophea Healthy Schools Certification, with 11 schools achieving gold level certification.

16 schools in the Keewatin-Patricia school board received the Ophea Healthy Schools Certification

Dryden High School was one of the schools that received a gold level healthy schools certification through Ophea. (Keewatin-Patricia School Board)

A total of 16 schools in the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board (KPDSB) have received the Ophea Healthy Schools Certification, with 11 schools achieving gold level certification.

Ophea, which is short for Ontario Physical Health Education Association, celebrates and recognizes schools that promote healthy living and well-being for their students and staff.

"They sort of shine a light on well-being initiatives or healthy initiatives that are already happening in the school," said Lorna Tremonti, the recreation and well-being lead for the school board. "So it looks at all the foundations for a healthy school."

She said 16 schools were registered at the end of October and with the help of the teachers, students, volunteers and parent councils, they decided to focus on implementing programs that focus on increasing an individual's physical activity.

"We currently have a staff DPA (daily physical activity) project that's just finishing up it's second year; encouraging our staff to move more," Tremonti explained, "so this was perfectly in alignment with what we wanted to do with our students — get our students moving with our teachers."

For participating in Ophea's Healthy Schools Program, ten schools got Canadian Jump Start play day activity kits, which included $500 worth of playground equipment and yoga mats for the classroom. (Keewatin-Patricia School Board)

She said thanks to the association, the schools that have signed up received a lot of support through various grants and funding.

"For example, ten of our schools got Canadian Jump Start play day activity kits, which were $500 worth of playground equipment and yoga mats that they can use in their classroom," Tremonti said. "So I think that people that were in the middle of the process were pretty excited about the supports that Ophea has in place."

Tremonti said the 16 schools that received a healthy schools certification will be getting a banner sometime this week to place proudly in their hallway.

"We got 100 per cent of our secondary schools to sign up ... and we were almost there with 85 per cent of our elementary, so next year's goal is to get everybody on board," Tremonti said.