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WEA Trust wins Prevention Partner Award

From the DPI and WEA Trust

The WEA Trust was among four organizations, whose work statewide has made schools and students safer, to receive inaugural State Superintendent’s Prevention Partner Awards during the Building the Heart of Successful Schools conference Thursday (December 6, 2007) in Wisconsin Dells.

“Schools are much more effective at keeping our students safe and feeling connected, valued, and engaged in learning, if they are in partnership with parents and community organizations. These Prevention Partner Award recipients work with schools statewide to help prevent and reduce barriers that keep students from achieving at optimum levels,” said State Superintendent Elizabeth Burmaster in announcing the awards.

The State Superintendent’s Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) Advisory Council assisted in identifying significant contributions made by partner agencies and organizations. Awards were made in four prevention program areas: tobacco prevention and cessation, adolescent mental health and suicide prevention, school safety and crisis response preparation, and school employee health and wellness.

Wisconsin Education Association Trust, led by Chief Executive Officer Fred Evert and represented at the awards program by Steve Lyons and Mary Hughes, was recognized for providing a first-rate team of regional health educators who have worked closely with member schools to improve staff wellness.

WEA Trust has worked with the DPI to support the highly successful Movin’ and Munchin’ schools program and the Governor’s School Health Award. The Movin’ and Munchin’ Schools program is administered through DPI and sponsored by the WEA Trust (a not-for-profit group health insurer that insures many Wisconsin public school employees).

Movin’ and Munchin’ is a program designed for public school employees, children, and their families. It helps schools organize innovative and fun approaches to healthy eating and exercise. Schools that participate in the Movin’ and Munchin’ program may receive up to $1,000 in awards.

Through the Trust’s promotional efforts, participation in the program has increased by more than 30%, to 36,500 children and adults.

“We are honored to be receiving this award. Movin’ and Munchin’ is yet another example of the Trust’s commitment to our Wisconsin public school employees and the kids they teach. This program helps to instill a culture of healthy lifestyle choices,” said Fred Evert, WEA Trust President and CEO.

Other award recipients were:

  • The American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest, Wisconsin division, led by Susan Swan, senior vice president and represented at the awards program by Keri Schneider, was recognized for its long history of helping schools reduce tobacco use among youth. The organization has worked with the Department of Public Instruction and schools on many tobacco-related projects including a school tobacco policy campaign, the Not-On-Tobacco smoking cessation program, and a statewide youth leadership program.
  • Burmaster honored Mental Health America of Wisconsin, led by Martha Rasmus and represented at the awards program by Brenda Jennings and Shel Gross, for its more than four-year partnership with the DPI on youth suicide prevention. The organization assisted in the development of a toolkit and provided training, grants and other resources to help schools and community coalitions prevent youth suicide. More recently, the organization worked with the DPI to train educators on mental illness and removing the stigma too often linked to it.
  • The Center for School, Youth, and Citizen Preparedness, led by Mary Jean Erschen, director, has helped many schools prepare to prevent and respond to crises that may include violence, natural disasters, and accidents. The center lead a series of statewide conferences for school and community professionals as well as training sessions to help youth leaders assist their schools and communities in the event of an emergency.

“These statewide organizations have committed themselves to improving the health and safety of Wisconsin’s schools, students, and educators,” Burmaster said. “Their work is critical to fulfill our New Wisconsin Promise of a quality education for all students. Reducing learning barriers and supporting the development of each child into a caring, contributing, and productive citizen is vital,” Burmaster said.

Posted December 13, 2007

Education News