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Dr. Joey Vaughn,
Director of Schools

The Manchester City School District is proud of its legacy of strong academic performance.  We look forward to continuing that tradition in a safe environment that fosters leadership, independence, and scholarship.


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Healthy School Environment: One of the Eight Components of Coordinated School Health

By Jesslyn Johnson

 A healthy school environment is just one of the eight components of a Coordinated School Health initiative. Our Coordinated School Health model was created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC also developed the School Health Index (SHI), a tool for schools to assess and improve its policies and programs like those regarding physical activity, healthy eating, tobacco use prevention, mental health, and safety. In each one of our schools, our healthy school teams use the SHI to improve the health and academic performance of our students; and these improvements are also added to the School Improvement Plan.

 One of the evaluation questions on the SHI asks about students’ “connectedness to school”. The exact question is:

Do the school’s staff and environment promote a sense of connectedness in students and their families with all of the following practices?

·         At least one adult communicates personally with each student each day

·         Faculty and staff encourage students to ask for help if there is a problem

·         Faculty and staff promote respect for and appreciation of individual differences

·         Faculty and staff take action to solve problems reported by students or their parents

·         Faculty and staff offer praise of students’ behavior to students and their parents

·         Faculty and staff promote active parent participation in the school

Connectedness is the degree to which students and families feel part of the school community. Students and families feel more connected when they perceive that faculty and staff care about them and when they share responsibility for how well the school functions.

 Fortunately, we didn’t have to make many improvements in this area in any of our three schools. Teachers, administrators, cafeteria staff, nurses, and custodians are all very helpful and pleasant; and we are great at giving out praise for good behavior and awesome school work. When it comes to respecting individual differences, well… the city schools are on top of that. But, when you walk in the front door to each of our school offices, the first person you see and speak to makes a BIG impact on students and parents. That is why we are highlighting our front office receptionists. They are the best! They are caring, helpful, courteous, kind, and pleasant to be around. We hear good things from students and parents about how awesome our receptionists are. It not only makes the school experience better for students and visitors, but also contributes to the way our community sees our schools. Next time you visit or come to work at CSES, WES, or WJH, thank your receptionist for contributing to a health school environment!

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Physical Activity-Not Just for PE Anymore

By Jesslyn Johnson

 When you think of physical activity do you think of a loud gymnasium full of fourth graders running and playing so hard that they have sweat rolling off their faces? Although most of the physical activity in school is done in PE classes, that is not the only time it is useful. As a teacher, you might say that allowing time for physical activity in the classroom is like giving your students three cans of soda each and then trying to get them to settle down to read a book!

 Actually, it has been proven that if you incorporate physical activity in your classroom lessons, your students’ brain power will be boosted! What? You say…Yes, it is true.

 Dr. John J. Ratey, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, in his book, "Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain" says, "We really need to think about exercise to keep the brain functioning well, and that it also happens to be good for the body. We tend to think about it the other way around." He adds that “exercise itself doesn't make us smarter. Instead, exercise makes us more able to learn and focus.” “It puts the brain of the learners in the optimal position for them to learn.”

 Very young children also may learn partly through movement. Physical activity helps them learn about various spatial or temporal relationships. Exercise has also been shown to reduce anxiety and depression and raise self-esteem. Removing or at least lowering such emotional barriers may help children focus more in the classroom.

 One of the questions from the Physical Education and Physical Activity module of the School Health Index (SHI) asks if all students in each grade receive physical education for at least 150 minutes per week throughout the school year. Here in Tennessee, we have a 90-minute PE law which requires certified Physical Education teachers to provide 90 minutes per week . That leaves 60 minutes a week of the recommended 150.

 Schools that offer physical education programs – even when time is taken from the academic day – post positive effects on academic achievement, including increased concentration, improved scores in mathematics, reading and writing, and reduced disruptive behaviors. If you are interested in resources for simple activities to increase physical activity in your classroom see the Coordinated School Health office.

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