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Eden Hall and Hance Named America's Healthiest Schools

Two of Pine-Richland School District’s elementary schools—Eden Hall Upper Elementary and Hance Elementary—are among the 406 schools nationwide named America’s Healthiest Schools for the 2021-2022 school year. The recognition, awarded by Alliance for a Healthier Generation, celebrates schools’ dedication to supporting the health and well-being of students, staff, and families.

Both schools were awarded in the following categories: 

  • Increasing Family & Consumer Engagement
  • Improving Nutrition & Food Access
  • Enriching Health Education
  • Promoting Tobacco-Free Schools
  • Supporting School Health Services <

Additionally, Hance was awarded for Strengthening Social-Emotional Health & Learning while Eden Hall was awarded for Cultivating Staff Well-Being

Specifically, both schools were lauded for: 

  • Parent and student engagement in student surveys
  • Clear emergency resources
  • Annual open house events
  • Counseling and grief resources
  • Friday Flash newsletters
  • PTO engagement on social media

“Hance Elementary is extremely excited and proud of our progress in earning recognition for this award,” said Dr. Greta Kuzilla, principal. “Our building-level sustainability committee is currently focused on finding ways to improve in each of the categories and integrate our efforts in tandem with the Six Schools Club at the district level.”

Hance was commended for a chill room that was developed during the 2021-2022 school year for students experiencing emotional difficulties. With parent permission, students are able to use the room for breaks when school becomes overwhelming. The Hance Elementary PTO has been an integral component of supporting these efforts and creating a home-school connection that continues to help support success with these initiatives. 

The award compliments both schools’ U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School designations. “This was an excellent opportunity for Eden Hall to showcase our continued improvement and focus on areas of sustainability and student/staff well-being, which were central themes around our 2019 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School designation,” said Dr. Joseph Domagala, assistant principal.

“Throughout the 22-23 school year, our committee will work to find ways to prioritize needs in each of the categories and expand our efforts to ensure that we have a healthy environment to continue to focus on learning for every student every day,” added Dr. Kuzilla.

America’s Healthiest Schools recognized both schools for prioritizing healthy policies and practices despite numerous challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. “The focal points of this award are embedded in the daily operations and opportunities provided to our community,” said Dr. Domagala. “With much of the COVID-19 pandemic behind us, we look forward to engaging our students and staff to expand opportunities in additional award areas and increase our experiences in sustainability.”

Healthier Generation’s list of America’s Healthiest Schools is one of the country’s longest-running nationwide recognition programs honoring schools for achievements in supporting the whole health of students, teachers and staff.