Shrewsbury Named WV Fuel Up to Play 60 Advisor of the Year

04/30/2012 by Story from the Fuel Up to Play 60 Website

Winfield Middle School Assistant Principal Debbie Shrewsbury has been chosen as West Virginia'sl Fuel Up to Play 60 Program Advisor of the Year.

Following is a story about Shrewsbury's efforts to bring healthier habits to her school that was published on the Fuel Up to Play 60 website:

Assistant Principal Identifies Strengths and Builds a Strong Team!
What can an administrator do to ensure Fuel Up to Play 60 is a success at her school? Debbie Shrewsbury, assistant principal and Program Advisor at Winfield Middle School, Winfield, West Virginia has an idea. Her advice? Take a lead role in building a team and get the buy-in of colleagues. She notes, “As an administrator, you know your faculty's strengths!”

Drawing on the Strength of Others
Recognizing her school day is very busy and never goes as planned, Debbie held her team’s first Fuel Up to Play 60 meeting at her house. She brought together staff members of various titles and backgrounds to utilize their particular strengths. Her team consists of: the school nurse, who is committed to school wellness; a special education teacher who has great planning skills; school counselors, because of their availability and knowledge of the entire student body; a health teacher, who is interested in wellness at all levels; and the cafeteria’s head cook who advises the team on what goes on in the kitchen.

“Fuel Up Fridays” at Winfield
Winfield’s Fuel Up to Play 60 team got started right away. Debbie took a lead role by designating Fridays at Winfield Middle School as “Fuel Up Fridays." "Fuel Up Fridays" include a 60-minute period of physical activity for the entire school, which Debbie arranged during the regular school day. Now students have the full hour set aside to exercise, all at the same time. Debbie factored in the weather, and both indoor and outdoor activities are provided such as hiking, soccer, kickball, tennis, hula hoops,
Zumba dance and yoga. Debbie reports nearly 100% of the school is participating. Out of 650 students, maybe three or four opt out. Debbie says, “That’s pretty awesome!”

Funds and Flexibility Lead to Increased Breakfast Participation
With Funds for Fuel Up to Play 60 and an eye toward increasing breakfast participation, Debbie purchased a blender to make smoothies. She also made time in her busy schedule to volunteer every Thursday morning to make and serve the smoothies with the help of staff. Additionally, oatmeal was added to the daily breakfast menu, along with low-fat yogurt and cheese, and berries. Debbie recognized that a heated server was needed to serve the oatmeal. Though limited by resources to purchase one, she did not give up. She found a heated serving tray in the kitchen that was purchased by a previous administrator that was still in its wrapping. She sectioned it off for individual servings, and it works beautifully. Students are really enjoying the nutritious additions to the menu, and breakfast participation has increased by approximately 9% this past year.

Providing Support and Coordination
Debbie notes that providing support is also important to ensure success. When students participated in a local Dairy Council youth summit at Marshall University, Debbie coordinated the buses for 100 students from 11 schools to attend. Students were excited that the summit was attended by a former NFL player, and they learned how to make a healthy breakfast commercial. The summit also provided tremendous leadership opportunities for students. Students brought those leadership skills back to Winfield and got busy! They developed a school-wide physical activity competition. Since the school is currently under construction and opportunities to spend time outdoors are limited, student leaders
challenged themselves to come up with creative ways to exercise indoors. Students lead exercise classes in karate, jazz and dance. The student-led broadcasting group films classes that compete, and the winning class’s routine will be broadcast on inclement weather days. It is a great way to lead the entire school in exercise and sustain the program.

A K-12 Fuel Up to Play 60 Initiative
Debbie provides support outside of Winfield Middle School as well. The high school and the elementary school in Debbie’s district have also signed up for Fuel Up to Play 60, and Debbie happily shares her ideas with them. And one of Winfield Middle School's coordinators is speaking with the high school's assistant principal, to learn about implementing other breakfast initiatives.