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Success Stories

Something New in Store: Conestoga Magnet Encourages Healthy Treats

When it comes to birthday treats, cupcakes are king.

But with help from Partners for Healthy Schools, Conestoga Magnet School is suggesting a better way to celebrate. The school is encouraging students and parents to embrace a healthier mindset by steering away from sugar—and substituting treats that can be just as prized.

Bringing good habits to the classroom has always been a priority for Conestoga Magnet. For several years, the school has participated in a fresh fruit and vegetable program. They also have swapped sugary sodas and high-calorie snacks in vending machines for water, sports drinks, fruits and nuts.

Attending the Partners for Healthy Schools workshops has spurred Conestoga Magnet teachers and staff to put in place even more healthy changes, says Susan Hinchik, math coach and academic data representative.

“One of the things we got from the workshops, and by talking with other schools there, was how to steer parents in the direction of non-sugary treats for birthday parties.”

Effecting that kind of change takes time, so the school has been doing a soft rollout through newsletters and conversations—and helping parents feel they are part of the shift.

With help from their contact at Partners—who secured grant money to purchase an array of toys and games—the school is stocking a “store” where parents can pick out treats to bring to their child’s classroom. Toys include soccer balls, jump ropes, coloring books and sidewalk chalk.

Now, instead of a cupcake, kids can enjoy a treat that will last, and may even encourage them to be more active.

“Partners is really good about saying ‘here’s what some other schools are doing’ and being a champion for our success,” says Principal David Milan. “Their role is critical in making sure we’re moving ahead with this. It’s a great partnership.”

One Response to “Something New in Store: Conestoga Magnet Encourages Healthy Treats”

  1. May 19, 2015 at 2:50 pm, Peggy Holloway said:

    Thank you so much for this initiative! I checked out this site because I am part of the Live Well Omaha email list and my fear was that this program was pushing the failed “eat low-fat, healthy whole grains” paradigm that has to tragically failed our society. It elates me to see that this program encourages treats that are not sugar-centered. You are doing one of the best things that can be done for these children and their families if there is to be any hope for a reversal of so many grain/sugar based health issues that plague our nation and to stop the climbing rates of childhood obesity. Bravo!


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