School Wellcare Grant
WellCare Health Plans helps fund Team Ultra efforts at two elementary schools in Marshall County
In September 2016, Team Ultra began operations in all county elementary schools. Inclusive were two schools (Sharpe Elementary and Central Elementary) with a history of large interest from the student population wishing to participate in the Team Ultra program. 2016-17 was no exception. Due to space and staffing limitations, a maximum number of 50 students was allowed at each school. Beyond the cap, a waiting list became necessary. Central Elementary had 110 students and Sharpe Elementary had 85 students sign up for the program in the fall of 2016. Due to the grant funding supplied by WellCare, assistance was provided to help fund/cover staffing costs associated with operating Team Ultra at Central and Sharpe Elementary Schools. As of January 2017, 90% of students that signed up to participate in Team Ultra remained in the program at both schools (177 out of 195 students). Collectively, the program currently operates in all six elementary schools in the Marshall County School District.
Team Ultra exists to promote the character and physical health of students. Thanks to funding via WellCare the opportunity to support increased physical activity, knowledge of nutrition, visits to PCPs for preventative care, and assessment of body mass index (BMI) in Team Ultra students was acquired at both Sharpe and Central Elementary Schools.
The majority of time spent during Team Ultra sessions allows students to engage in physical activity. As Team Ultra operates one day per group per week, youth are left with six days to engage in moderate to vigorous activity each week through other venues and/or on their own. At Team Ultra, we strive to empower youth to take personal responsibility in the pursuit of their personal health. As such, we chose heart month as the launching pad for promoting physical activity outside of the program . Youth were encouraged to be mindful of both their physical activity and screen time with the challenge. In addition, we promoted/engaged character building through the utilization of our catch phrase “...and then some”. During the reduced screen time, we encouraged youth to engage in activities that assist others (family, friends, neighbors, etc.). and/or engage them in daily chores around their home without being asked or reminded to do so.
Nutrition knowledge was assessed by way of the Team Ultra Knowledge Challenge. Students were provided the Challenge in the first semester of Team Ultra without any instruction. Only pronunciation of words was provided during the Challenge. As the 2016-2017 year progressed, students were educated on topics related to the Challenge. The Knowledge Challenge was distributed to all students at the end of March prior to Team Ultra Field Day. Pre- and post- answers were assessed with the overall pre-knowledge score at 59% and post-knowledge score at 68%.
In an effort to encourage and empower Team Ultra students to maintain/improve health and prevent disease, encouragement of acquiring a wellness visit with their PCP or equivalent was encouraged via assistance from MCHD’s school nursing staff. Physicals were performed throughout the county’s elementary schools. 234 out of 410 (57.07%) 5th grade students received a preventative health visit (well child visit) via services of the Marshall County Health Department.
Heights and weights of elementary students throughout the Marshall County School District were acquired throughout the 2016-17 school year. Body Mass Index for Age (BMI-for-Age) was calculated for each of the schools throughout the district. During the 2016-2017 school year, aggregate data showed little to no differences in BMI-for-Age. Exploration of acquiring, recording, and tracking data is in process for 2017-18 school year and beyond.