March Newsletter

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TSET awards $10,000 Healthy Schools Incentive Grant to Jenks Public Schools

Jenks Award

From left to right: Don Millican, member TSET Board of Directors; Tracey Strader, TSET Executive Director; Stacey Butterfield, Jenks Superintendent; Chuck Forbes, President of Jenks Public Schools Board of Education

 A comprehensive wellness policy for students and staff and a solid commitment to improving health has helped Jenks School District qualify for a $10,000 Healthy Schools Incentive Grant.

Jenks' wellness policy includes 24/7 tobacco free campus policy, as well as efforts to promote health among staff and students. Jenks has worked very hard on their District Wellness Policy, and with the assistance of the PAN CX staff, the Jenks Public School Board passed a comprehensive Wellness Policy that met the Healthy District Incentive Grant requirements, and the district has been awarded an additional $10,000 grant by the TSET Board of Directors.

A previous grant of $20,000 awarded in 2013 went to expanding the Action Based Learning Lab program at Jenks Elementary schools. Specifically, Jenks West Elementary has seen major improvements in student academic performance since adopting the Action Based Learning Lab program.

TSET Board of Directors approved $1.5 Million for community incentive grants

The TSET Board of Directors approved more than $1 million in grants to 21 cities that have implemented policies and strategies that work to increase healthy opportunities for residents at the Feb. 20 board meeting. 

Since the Healthy Communities Incentive Grant program began three years ago, $1.5 million in grant funds have been awarded to 42 communities. To see a list of awards, read the full press release.

Districts and schools awarded incentive grants for promoting health

 The Board of Directors for the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust awarded 13 Healthy Schools Incentive grants at their quarterly board meeting in February. The Healthy School Incentive Grants, awarded to eight school sites and five school districts, totaled $60,000.

TSET research grantee study shows secondhand smoke can cause permanent DNA damage

A new study conducted by a TSET research grantee shows that small levels of secondhand tobacco smoke cause significant DNA damage in human cells.

The study supported by the Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center (OTRC) and the Stephenson Cancer Center sheds light on a new, highly-sensitive detection process used to measure damage to human cells caused by various amounts of exposure to secondhand smoke.

The results show that even very little exposure to secondhand smoke can leave cells unrepaired for up to 16 hours, and may even cause permanent DNA damage.

To read more about this landmark study, click here.

Application period for incentive grants for communities, schools remains open


The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) offers incentive grants to schools and communities that have been designated as "Certified Healthy" through the Certified Healthy Oklahoma program in 2014.

 The programs provide opportunities for schools and communities to apply for grants based on the size and the level of incentive criteria met. 

Incentive grants are intended to encourage schools and communities to implement health and wellness policies and programs, and work on projects that promote healthy choices.

The application period is now open; check our website for more details.

Upcoming Events


Open Streets OKC

Open Streets OKC, noon to 4 p.m., March 22,  on NW 23rd Street between Western and Robinson, Oklahoma City. Learn more at Open Streets OKC.

Oklahoma Baile Dance Competition is excited to present the solo, duo, and group Dance Competition, Oklahoma Baile, at Plaza Mayor at the Crossroads Mall every Sunday between March 1 and March 29 at 2:30 p.m. Call 405-414-0444 to enter.


TSET Day Gathering

TSET Day at the Capitol

TSET Day at the Capitol will be held on March 26 in the fourth floor rotunda. Come see us!

Kick Butts Day

 Several community coalitions across the state will celebrate Kick Butts Day, which empowers young people to speak up against Big Tobacco's efforts to market to youth. Learn more at or Kick Butts DayCheck out a few of these local events.

  • STAND (Students Taking A New Direction) Youth Coalition and Pontotoc County Turning Point/Systems of Care Coalition will do a park clean up 10 a.m. to noon,  March 18 at Wintersmith Park in Ada
  • Osage Nation will host a Kick Butts Day walk to celebration tobacco free lifestyles at noon, March 18. The group will meet in front of City Hall in Pawhuska.
  • Cherokee County SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) will host Kick Butts Day with games, park clean up and picnic at Norris Park, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. March 25 in Tahlequah.








Active, healthy students equal great gains in the classroom


Active brains perform better. That’s according to emerging neurological science that backs up the benefits of physical activity and brain function especially in the classroom.

This information isn’t lost on the educators in our state. Many of them are harnessing the power of an active brain and using it to help students maximize their potential.

Well-nourished and active children are more likely to perform better in the classroom, according to research compiled by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Recently we had the pleasure of presenting the Jenks School Board with an award as part of TSET’s Healthy Schools Incentive Grants program. Jenks educators are reporting a 67 percent improvement in reading scores for cohort of ninth graders who did cardio exercises before their most challenging class.  There is a growing body of scientific evidence that shows children who are more active demonstrate increased levels of concentration, cognitive function and perform better on standardized tests, according to a report by the Institute of Medicine. 

Schools across Oklahoma are passionate about making the healthy choice, the easy choice for students, staff, families and the community. School boards are opting to make their campuses tobacco free 24 hours-7 days a week. 

Cafeteria staff are taking a role in learning more and promoting healthy food options. Districts are encouraging families and the community to use school playgrounds and walking tracks outside of the school day. 

Districts are encouraging families and communities to use the school playgrounds and walking tracks outside of the school day. Teachers and administrators are embracing active learning and the difference physical activity can make in academic achievement.

In Oklahoma, those investments are showing the first signs of positive return. Childhood obesity in our state is leveling off and showing signs of decline.  

The school is often the center and the heart of the community, and yet schools can’t go it alone. Every member of the community benefits from healthy children who are ready to learn. Those children eventually become the healthy workforce and community leaders that create a thriving and prosperous Oklahoma.   

Everyone can take action to improve the school environment. Join and participate in the PTA, run for school board or speak at school board meetings, ask for healthy food offerings at concession stands, and healthy fundraisers.



KD MVP Challenge: it's not too late to participate!

Shape Your Future and Kevin Durant have partnered together to create the Shape Your Future KD MVP Challenge, a series of healthy challenges for children in Oklahoma. The fun continues this month with all new challenges for you to try at home.

Enter by taking a photo or video of yourself doing one of the challenges and post it to the Shape Your Future Facebook page for a chance to win cool prizes and even meet KD!