Three Delaware County Public School Districts were honored on Thursday for their efforts to improve health through the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) Healthy Incentive Program for Schools.
Jay Public Schools received a $25,000 grant and will be using the funds for playground equipment and improvement.
Colcord Public Schools received a $17,000 grant and will be using the funds for hydration stations and replacement drinking fountains, cafeteria tables, and safe street crossing.
Oaks-Mission Public Schools received a $15,000 grant and will be using the funds for playground equipment and improvement.
To receive incentive grants, the school districts are required to put a variety of policies and strategies in place to promote health and wellness for students and staff. Sharon Howard, TSET healthy incentive program manager for schools, presented a plaque and big checks to Jay Superintendent Larry Shackelford, Colcord Superintendent Bud Simmons, and Oaks-Mission Superintendent Wyman Thompson. Representatives from the ROCMD Area Youth Services Healthy Living Program serving Delaware County were also on hand for each presentation.
The incentive grant criteria focus on strengthening district wellness policies to improve school nutrition, increase physical activity, student wellbeing and provide tobacco-free environments for students, staff, faculty and families. These health-promoting practices and policies are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Incentive grant funds must be used for projects or programs to improve health.
“These grants recognize the efforts of school districts and school sites that are actively promoting healthy lifestyles,” said TSET Executive Director Julie Bisbee. “Studies show that active, healthy kids perform better in school and we want to recognize schools that are making the healthy choice the easy choice for students, staff and the community.”
Funds for the TSET Healthy Incentive Program are limited and all available funds have been exhausted for this fiscal year. Grant applications will not be accepted for the remainder of this fiscal year, which ends June 30. The grant program is expected to re-open for the next fiscal year.
The TSET Board of Directors has awarded grants to 54 school districts and school sites and 33 communities. Over $1.9 million in grants have been provided to promote partnerships at the local level to improve health and promote healthy behaviors in schools and communities.
TSET was created by a constitutional amendment in 2000 as a long term strategy to improve health and ensure settlement payments from a 1998 multi-state lawsuit against the tobacco industry are used to improve the health of all Oklahomans. The funds are placed in an endowment to ensure a growing funding source for generations to come. Only the earnings from the endowment are used to fund grants and programs.