America’s 4 Healthiest Schools Found San Diego

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For the third year in a row, more San Diego Unified schools have been recognized on the list of “America’s Healthiest Schools.”

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, one of the nation’s preeminent children’s health organizations, named schools from 23 states to this annual list earlier this week. Among these nationally-recognized healthy campuses were Carson, Field, Ocean Beach and Rowan Elementary schools.

The naming of these four schools continues a growing trend for San Diego Unified; three schools made the list last year, up from two which were named in 2017.

“We are thrilled to see another strong showing of dedicated schools that are taking steps to create healthier school environments that support children’s physical, social, and emotional health,” said Kathy Higgins, chief executive officer at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

America’s Healthiest Schools — 77% of which are Title I schools that serve high-need student populations — receive Healthier Generation’s National Healthy Schools Award at the Bronze, Silver or Gold level, based on the number of best-practices they have implemented relating to children’s health. Healthier Generation’s team of school health experts evaluate schools based on their ability to serve healthier meals and snacks, get students moving more, offer high-quality health and physical education, and support staff wellness.

All of America’s Healthiest Schools: 

  • Meet or exceed federal nutrition standards for school meals and snacks   
  • Offer breakfast daily  
  • Incorporate physical activity before, during or after the school day  
  • Implement district wellness policies and update progress annually  
  • Involve parents and community members in decision-making   

“We are blown away by the number of schools, especially those serving youth from underserved communities, that doubled down on their commitment to health and academic success,” Higgins said. “This year’s list is a continued testament to the nationwide movement for improving the social, emotional and physical health of current and future generations.”

Rowan Elementary, now on the list for the second year in a row, earned recognition for its wide variety of health-conscious initiatives including nutrition classes for students, healthy cooking and mindfulness classes for staff and parents, and IMPACT, a unique partnership between UC San Diego Athletics, UC San Diego Pediatrics, and the San Diego Unified School District. 

"Being recognized as one of America's Healthiest Schools two years in a row is something we're really proud of," said Rowan principal Jen Carpenter. "It's really a credit to all the hard work our staff, parents, and students put in every day to make health and wellness a priority."

Ocean Beach Elementary credits the school’s wellness team for working hard to instill a culture of healthy habits on campus, and employs strategies for active recess, staff walking paths, organic school gardens, and healthy celebrations for students.

All of America’s Healthiest Schools also participate in the Healthy Schools Program, one of the nation’s largest school-based childhood obesity prevention initiatives that fosters a comprehensive approach to health promotion driven by administrators, teachers, counselors, parents, and the surrounding community.

“Schools have direct contact with more than 95% of our nation’s young people during some of the most critical years of their development,” said Holly Hunt, chief of the School Health Branch, in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

“This recognition shows how schools have worked to create an environment where children learn and practice healthy behaviors that can last a lifetime.” 

To view the complete list of America’s Healthiest Schools, visit




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