By Nancy Maxson, Coordinator, Health and Prevention Programs, Ventura Unified School District
What does “health” look like in our school district? If you are a child or parent of a child in Ventura Unified School District (VUSD), you are in good hands indeed. With a strong Wellness Policy and support from our governing board members and superintendent, Dr. Michael Babb, Ventura Unified School District has a long history of supporting the whole child. VUSD is not only focused on academic achievement, but also on making sure every child is safe and healthy everyday on every campus.
Starting with a healthy breakfast is critical for student achievement. In VUSD, every school cafeteria, under the direction of Kara Muniz, Director of Food and Nutrition Services, provides a farm fresh salad bar with local seasonal fruits and vegetables in addition to hot meal entrees.
In the elementary classrooms, all students in grades K – 5 receive a comprehensive, developmentally appropriate Health Education curriculum called The Great Body Shop. Covering a scope and sequence that addresses the state and national health content standards, the Great Body Shop is common core aligned; cross curricular; and teaches a knowledge, health value, life skill and critical thinking objective. It is fun, educational, informative and interesting for students, teachers and parents. At all facilities in the school district, the use of tobacco or electronic-cigarettes are prohibited by students, staff and visitors.
Health Services in VUSD includes nine school nurses, supported by a part-time health technician at each school site. Our school nurses are the only credentialed, licensed, qualified health professionals in the district. They are a valuable support working closely with schools to keep students healthy and reduce absences.
VUSD’s Wellness Policy facilitates a coordinated school health system that supports and reinforces health literacy through health education, physical education and activity, health services, nutrition services, psychological and counseling services, health promotion for staff, a safe and healthy school environment, and parent/guardian and community involvement.
VUSD is also a proud partner of Summerfest along with the Ventura Education Partnership and the City of Ventura. Summerfest is a free healthy living community event that brings families together for a fun filled day of healthy activities and food provided by hundreds of local organizations.
It is through comprehensive, coordinated school health programs such as those in Ventura Unified that we continue to support the academic achievement of our students as they move through the schools and ultimately graduate and move on to college and career. For more information about the health programs and services in VUSD, contact 641-5000, ext. 1135.