IDEA Healthy Kids Here Program

Program Type: 
Farm Based, Garden Classrooms, School Cafeterias, Academic Classrooms
Grade Level/Age Group: 
Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary, Middle School, High School
Number of Individuals Program Serves: 
30,000
Year Founded: 
2014
About the Program: 

At IDEA Public Schools, our goal is to get 100% of our students on the road to and through college. Our rigorous academics and “whatever it takes” mindset, have helped us make tremendous strides in this work. But we recognized that the roots of academic success for our students run far deeper than classroom learning alone. In order for our students to get to and through college, and beyond, they also need a foundation of skills necessary to maintain their health. So, in 2014 we launched our Healthy Kids Here Initiative to become the Healthiest School District in America.

Healthy Kids Here has three main areas of focus:

  1. Food: The USDA’s school meal requirements are the minimum standards set to ensure that students are getting items from all of the major food groups every meal. IDEA Public Schools meets this requirement, and in addition, we raise this bar for ourselves every year by prioritizing the quality of ingredients we serve our students. Each of our campuses receives organic, locally grown produce (often times from one our own farms). Our Nutrition Team reassesses our menu every semester, constantly looking for new ways to enhance school nutrition. 
  2. Fitness: Our culture is becoming increasingly sedentary—including our youth. According to the National Survey of Children’s Health, 71 percent of Texas children get fewer than 20 minutes of exercise per day. IDEA Public Schools is committed to helping families meet the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation that children aged 6-17 receive at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per day. Through Project Thrive—a program designed to reimagine lunch and play at IDEA— Healthy Kids Here is increasing students’ active minutes throughout the school day. Programs like 60-second rev push all students to participate in short bursts of moderately-vigorous activity multiple times each day outside of PE and recess. Additionally, we host 5K races in each of our regions, which provide opportunities for entire families and communities to adopt healthy habits in preparation for the event, and spend a morning being active together. 
  3. Forever: HKH’s ultimate goal is to help our students gain a strong foundation of healthy habits and knowledge to support them to and through college and beyond. To support a lifetime of healthy habits, we teach health-related topics through a combination of on-the-ground efforts (including classroom lessons, guest speakers, and events) and resource sharing.

Our work is a cross-functional effort involving representatives from the Child Nutrition Program, Health Services, Physical Education, Academic Counseling and Parent/Community Engagement, Marketing, Farms, School Launch, and IDEA parents. HKH also relies on mentorship and best-practice sharing from national, local, and community organizations dedicated to these missions.

Program Members: