Academy for Global Citzenship Among First to Officially ‘Go for the Gold!’ in Food & Fitness

July 14, 2010

by Rosa Ramirez, Go for the Gold Campaign Manager

Lunchroom_AGC 

Lunchtime at AGC

Academy for Global Citizenship (AGC) is a pioneer school in many ways. Not only is it one of the first Chicago elementary schools to implement the challenging International Baccalaureate (IB) program, it is also one of the few IB schools located in a low-income and minority community: Archer Heights on the southwest side of Chicago. And recently AGC became one of the first Chicago schools to apply for the HealthierUS School Challenge Gold with Distinction award as part of the city-wide Go for the Gold campaign to help schools meet the HealthierUS School Challenge. (Go for the Gold is a partnership of HSC, Chicago Public Schools, and the USDA Midwest. You can learn more here.)

When First Lady Michelle Obama introduced Let’s Move, incorporating the HealthierUS School Challenge into her campaign to raise a healthier generation of kids, only about 600 schools nationwide had met the program criteria and received an award. Chicago has yet to have a school meet the First Lady’s Challenge. But that may be changing very soon, as many Chicago schools are stepping up to participate in the Go for the Gold campaign. And AGC is leading the way.

Girl_egg_AGC In March of 2010, AGC submitted their HealthierUS School Challenge application documenting school practices that include serving healthful foods, providing students with nutrition education, and providing students with a variety of daily physical education and physical activity opportunities, all while engaging their families in the process.

Healthy food, positive nutrition and physical activity have become so central to the educational and lifestyle philosophy at AGC that it “just made sense” to meet the First Lady's challenge and demonstrate it can be achieved in Chicago, said Ippel. She is committed to the idea that “everybody can start somewhere.” She hopes that what her school is doing in the areas of food and fitness will become the norm for all schools.

Ippel explained that she sometimes encounters the perception that the wellness practices at AGC are not attainable for other schools — but when people look closely, they see practices that can be incorporated anywhere.

“Yes, we are in a unique position in that these components have been integrated as a core part of our mission from day one,” she said. “But there are a myriad of examples at AGC of new innovative programs and practices that are a result of an impassioned teacher taking an initiative — it truly starts with a single step. There are great lessons here: mainly, everybody can start somewhere, and that’s the message we want to get across.”

Do you know a school working toward the HealthierUS School Challenge that we should spotlight? Let us know!