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Ashe County Schools Focus on Health

The Ashe County Schools decided to focus on health in their Ashe County Schools Strategic Plan. The focus of Priority Area III in the plan, called Healthy and Responsible 21st Century Students, highlights the importance of both a healthy body and mind for the children of Ashe County.

The Priority Area has five separate goals, but each focuses on improving the health of students and faculty alike. This is an innovative goal that includes the staff of the school, which is critical because if students do not have good guidance in all aspects, they cannot follow their leader’s example.

Goals in the Priority Area include “support access to nutritious foods/beverages that meet/exceed national standards for all students and employees.” This will involve conducting a review of the county’s current wellness policy and developing new, healthier guidelines. In addition to the healthy food and beverage goal, there is a goal supporting physical activity on the school campus and in the community. The goal hopes to “encourage lifetime physical activities for all students, employees and community members.” It includes supporting alternative sports, enhancing recess and classroom activities and promoting health and safety programs.

Dr. Travis Reeves, Superintendent of Ashe County School District and member of the Appalachian District leadership team for Communities Putting Prevention to Work, led the Ashe County School District in a community-school collaborative strategic planning process that included student wellness as a top priority. He has also worked to empower staff to implement new opportunities for wellness. Dr. Reeves openly embraces opportunities to learn more about the risks that may impede a strong graduation rate by using the Youth Risk Behavior Survey data.

Furthermore, he encourages community agencies and school personnel to come together to create solutions. He hosted the 5K Ashe Dash Inaugural Race in which he encouraged students in the Go Far running club, along with their family members and others, to keep working to embrace a healthy lifestyle. This same day, May 15, was proclaimed as the Ashe County Annual Fitness Day by county leaders, which Dr. Reeves is carrying forward throughout the year by encouraging schools to host Family Fitness nights. His positive influence has made great strides in helping to support a healthier community in Ashe County and the entire Appalachian District.

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