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District Uses SHIP Funding to Benefit Students

Blooming Heights Columbia Heights Public Schools received a Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) grant to implement various initiatives throughout the District to benefit students. Anoka County invited the District to participate for SHIP 4.0 after successful participation with previous SHIP grants.

This is the third time the District has received SHIP grants from Anoka County. SHIP 1.0 allowed for the creation of the Blooming Heights Edible Schoolyard where many varieties of fresh produce is grown and harvested through hands-on learning. SHIP 2.0 provided initiatives for active school days, including brain breaks and materials for staff to implement movement into the school day and allowed the district to improve student nutrition.

Since receiving funds, SHIP 4.0 has provided Yoga Calm training and materials for teachers, Active Recess training for recess monitors, stencils for playground activities and the addition of salad bars in every school.

“This SHIP funding assists our District in supporting the health and well-being of our students through active-school-day programs and more nutritious food service options,” said Director of Community Education Kristen Stuenkel (top photo) who oversees the District’s SHIP funding. “CHPS is committed to the growth of the whole child and we welcome this partnership with Anoka County to expand the initiatives that began with SHIP 1.0 and 2.0."

The student-requested addition of salad bars in each schools has given students an easy and healthy alternative to processed foods. For students at North Park Elementary School and Columbia Heights High School, it’s also been a sneak-peek into the farm-to-table process.

“Growing and harvesting food for school lunches provides a very important ‘why’ to students,” said Agriculture Specialist Maya Lemon (middle photo). The integration of food grown in Blooming Heights into school food demonstrates that the food we grow is a healthy, tasty option for students, teachers and peers.”

The Yoga Calm initiative has assisted teachers in successfully redirecting energy to keep the learning process on track. Yoga Calm techniques help students develop emotional resilience, leadership and communication skills, trust, empathy, focus and self-control – especially effective for students with special needs.

North Park English Learner Collaborator Rachele Kreuser (bottom photo) uses Yoga Calm techniques often during small groups and before starting reading group. “Students are excited about group and have lots of ideas they would like to share about their reading,” she said. “Yoga calm breathing techniques slow them down, so I can review the discussion protocol and get started with our group work.”

In addition to receiving funding for school-based initiatives, the District was also selected as a “worksite” and received separate 4.0 funding to apply toward initiatives to benefit District staff and improve workplace-wellness including fitness equipment available at each site, enhanced working-mother nursing facilities and more.

For more information on how the District uses SHIP funds, contact Stuenkel at 763-528-4515.