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UCCE Riverside helped Alvord Unified get recognition

The Issue

Alvord Unified School District was awarded a $1.1 million Physical Education (PE) Program Grant for 2012-2015 and UC Cooperative Extension was a partner on this grant. In addition to improving PE programs, the grant objectives include increasing ongoing assessment and monitoring, increasing district and community support, and transitioning from a sports-based PE program to a wellness-based curriculum aligned to State standards. To be successful, Alvord Unified needed a team of dedicated partners. UC Cooperative Extension was one of the key partners working alongside others such as the Alliance for a Healthier Generation funded by Kaiser Permanente Thriving Schools, the Nutrition Education Obesity Prevention Program, and 15 other public entities and community-based organizations.

What Has ANR Done?

Both nutrition programs at UCCE Riverside (UC CalFresh and EFNEP) contributed to Alvord’s success transitioning to wellness-based physical education. UC CalFresh provided nutrition education, (EatFit and Money Talks Hunger Attack!), to seven middle and high schools in this school district and offered quarterly nutrition education training to PE teachers as part of their professional development. EFNEP taught Kindergarten through 3rd-grade students at eleven elementary schools using Happy Healthy Me, My Amazing Body, Good for Me and You, and It’s My Choice. Both EFNEP and UC CalFresh provided taste-testing experiences so the students could try new fruits and vegetables. In addition, in the 2015-2016 school year, UC CalFresh provided Smarter Lunchrooms Movement training to cafeteria staff at Wells Middle and Norte Vista High and helped Wells revitalize their school garden to bring about environmental changes that encourage healthy eating. UC CalFresh also participated in the twice per year district-wide family health and wellness events and provided nutrition education to over 180 parents during the three-year period.

The Payoff

Alvord schools were recognized for improved student health as a result of the program

The excitement and momentum around school wellness in Alvord Unified cannot be attributed to any one agency alone but is due to the collective impact of all major and minor partners in partnership with school PE teams and Alvord Food Service. In 2016, a total of nine schools in Alvord Unified were recognized by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation Healthy Schools Program. One school, Loma Vista Middle, was awarded gold and one school, Wells Middle, was awarded silver, while seven other schools received a bronze award. More importantly, the success in Alvord resulted in positive student outcomes. During the first year of the grant, 53% of the students were in the Healthy Fitness Zone for Body Mass Index (BMI), and after the third year, this number increased to 62%. During the first year of the program, 14% of middle school students consumed fruit two or more times and vegetables three or more times a day, and this percentage increased to nearly 29% after the third year of the grant.


Supporting Unit: Riverside County

UC CalFresh and EFNEP
Chutima Ganthavorn, NFCS Advisor cganthavorn@ucanr.edu
Connie Costello, EFNEP/UC CalFresh Supervisor, clcostello@ucanr.edu
Claudia Carlos, UC CalFresh Nutrition Educator, cfcarlos@ucanr.edu