October Newsletter

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October Newsletter

October 24, 2019

TSET honors public schools throughout the state for efforts to improve health

In October, the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) recognized McAlester Public Schools, Krebs Public Schools and Monroe Elementary School in Oklahoma City for their efforts to improve the health of their students and faculty through the TSET Healthy Incentive Program for Schools.

McAlester received a $30,000 incentive grant as matching funds for a new KaBOOM! Playground at Parker Intermediate Center. This playground will promote active, fun exercise for McAlester’s children and the community.

Krebs received a $15,000 incentive grant and will install a walking track for student, staff and community use.

Monroe received a $15,000 grant and will use the funds to purchase a mobile Action Based Learning Lab, staff development training, PE equipment and a two-year subscription to an online classroom physical activity program. Action Based Learning Labs prepare the brain for learning. Each activity station in the lab focuses on the connection between the brain and the body. Research shows that the lab activities improve memory retention, reinforce academic concepts and build brain pathways for learning.

Congratulations to these districts and schools for enacting policies designed to encourage healthy habits in students, faculty and the community!


Pictured from left to right: TSET Healthy Living Program Wellness Coordinator II, Linda Callaway; Krebs School Principal, Angela White; TSET Executive Director, Julie Bisbee; Krebs School Superintendent, Patrick Turner; Program Manager for TSET Healthy Incentive Program for Schools, Sharon Howard; TSET Healthy Living Program Wellness Coordinator I, Rick Westbrook; and Wellness Coordinator I, Michelle Marston.

Oklahoma schools promote physical activity through National Walk and Bike to School Day

Walk to school

The 23rd Annual Walk and Bike to School Day took place earlier this month, with more than 4,100 schools registered for the event in the United States, including 99 schools in Oklahoma. The hope is that these events lead to regular and ongoing activities that will promote walking and biking throughout the year.

Regular physical activity provides many health benefits for children (and adults) including increased attention, a boosted immune system, improved sleep and reduced stress. It also reduces childhood obesity. Children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. As long as it’s safe, walking or biking to school is a great way to work physical activity into everyday routines. If you think your child is ready to walk or bike to school, click here for some great tips from Shape Your Future to help keep them safe while adding some physical activity to their day.

This year, TSET Executive Director Julie Bisbee participated in the event with students from Monroe Elementary School in Oklahoma City. Check out Julie Bisbee’s Twitter account to hear more about her experience.

Great American Smokeout highlights free services offered to Oklahomans who want to quit tobacco

For over 40 years, the Great American Smokeout has offered a new beginning for tobacco users around the country. Smokers across Oklahoma have the opportunity to quit tobacco on November 21 for a day, or a lifetime.

Hundreds of Oklahomans use Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline services each year during the Smokeout, and millions of Americans participate in the event by putting down their cigarettes for at least one day.

FREE services from the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline are available 24/7 every day of the year. The Helpline provides smokers with tools and support to quit tobacco their own way. That includes free text and email support, phone and web coaching, patches, gum or lozenges and more for registered participants.

Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit OKhelpline.com to explore all the free services and resources available to Oklahomans. Connect with the Helpline through social media by liking the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline on Facebook or following @OKhelpline on Twitter and Instagram.


Sensory sidewalk at Valliant Schools provides physical activity oppurtunity for students


The Valliant Middle School student council designed and painted a sensory sidewalk in their playground. In addition to creative expression, sensory sidewalks promote physical activity and complex play.

Sensory sidewalks can take many forms. The Valliant sidewalk is a pathway with painted designs that encourage kids to play active games, such as Foursquare, Twister and others. The sidewalk at Valliant Middle School even features a square for a dance-off.

“It creates an opportunity for every child to do something outside,” said Shalan Prince, TSET Healthy Living Program coordinator for McCurtain County. “It allows kids to be creative.”

“It’s promoting movement in a fun way,” said Brandon Frazier, Valliant Middle School principal.
Sensory sidewalks are part of a larger initiative to generate “brain breaks”, or outdoor activities for children that provide a break from the classroom and incorporate physical activity, but also use the mind to complete tasks and solve puzzles.

“Brain breaks give kids another activity to do while outside. It gets the brain going. They’re having to use their entire body to play certain activities,” said Prince.

The playground, which is shared between the middle and elementary school, “is in the process of a complete makeover,” the principal confirmed. Using TSET Healthy Incentive grant funds, the administration has been able to add a balance beam and other outdoor exercise equipment. At the moment, though, the sensory sidewalk is the main attraction.

“The kids love it,” said Frazier. “It’s added a lot of life and color to the playground. It’s kind of the center of attention right now.”