Empower Pack Program at Skyline Schools
The Empower Program is one of the most practical programs Skyline Education has partnered with. This statewide health program—which impacts students, faculty, and families—is a 10-part action plan to foster smart health habits for lifelong wellness.
These health practices include physical activity, sun protection, breastfeeding, the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), fruit juice limits, family-style meals, oral health, staff training, the Arizona Smokers’ Helpline (ASHLine), and smoke-free environments. Continue reading to learn more about how we prioritize and implement the Empower Program in Phoenix, AZ.
Physical and Sun Safety
Physical activity is an irreplaceable building block of health, whether for five-year-olds or 65-year-olds. Despite its emphasis on academic studies and marketing materials, this value is not noticeable unless regularly used. As more curricula and free time activities students engage in outside of school become reliant on electronic technology, parents, children, and teachers alike find it challenging to promote physical movement.
Getting active, thankfully, is not a matter of being perfect, but simply incorporating enjoyable activities into daily life. Our staff uses physical education resources and movement-oriented games to promote this part of the Empower Program. Regarding sun safety, our staff always have sunscreen prepared for kids, in addition to limiting time outdoors when the sun is overbearing.
Breastfeeding and the CACFP
At Skyline schools, we understand the importance of breastfeeding and support this childrearing model. Not only is breastfeeding shown to reduce the likelihood of illness and obesity in children, but it’s also newborns’ best source of nutrition for up to one year (including solid foods at the latter end).
The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a state-sponsored reimbursement program for facilities that provide nutritious snacks and meals to children within their care. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has identified a list of diverse foods that promote healthy development in children, and we support this through our school meal planning.
Nutritional and Hygienic Improvement with Family Meals, Fruit Juice, and Oral Health
By implementing family-style meals instead of buffet lines and limiting the intake of sugary fruit juice, students receive a long-term understanding of food and its relationship with a healthy life. When possible, our staff engage in “roundtable”-like meals with students at designated times. This helps students comprehend that food is not a reward, but a healthful necessity, and is an integral part of meaningful life activities, such as conversation and friendships.
Despite its old-fashioned reputation as a “health food”, fruit juice is really sugar water with almost zero nutritional benefits. We give preference to whole fruits and vegetables, as their fiber and micronutrients are more beneficial to student health. Limiting fruit juice also lowers the risk of tooth decay, which is a major concern for oral health. Dental habits such as brushing and flossing, combined with periodic dentist checkups, are key aspects of a healthy mouth.
Keeping our staff apprised of Empower Program principles and fresh action opportunities allow us to maintain consistent messaging and practices throughout our schools. Our leadership staff meets periodically to review recent successes and feedback to more integrally adopt these useful measures.
The ASHLine and Smoke-Free Environments
A little over 15 percent of Arizona’s adult population are smokers, which is higher than the U.S. national average. In addition, tobacco use is prevalent, and as professionals entrusted with the safety and education of your children, Skyline takes the protection against these harmful factors very seriously. The Smoke-Free Arizona Act of 2006 prevented smoking in many enclosed public spaces, including our facilities. Our staff actively monitor our grounds for smoking-related behavior and illegal activity and report any instances immediately.
As students grow older, peer pressure often takes different forms and can include dangerous and unhealthy activities such as smoking. Skyline Education partners with the Arizona Smokers’ Helpline (ASHLine) for individuals that need help encouraging siblings, family members, or themselves to quit. Call this number for more information.