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Hillsborough's Turner Elementary Says,
"Put a Tiger in Your Tank!"

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Turner Elementary School (Hillsborough County) can officially be called America's Healthiest School according to Family Energy Magazine's recent national contest on health in education. As a new school in 2005, the Turner Tigers wasted no time in creatively setting the bar for how to infuse the principles of good health into a rich academic curriculum. It's called "Tiger in Your Tank" and the program consists of three components that bring a unique awareness and culture of good health into the classroom:

  1. Nutritional Focus — Turner adopts monthly themes surrounding good health practices; for example, this month's theme is: Sun Protection. Materials with information on the theme are provided for students to take home and share with parents. Materials this month included samples of sunscreen provided by community sponsors to protect students from ultra-violet UV rays.
  2. Fitness Challenge — P.E. coaches create fitness challenges that students are encouraged to meet. Students keep journals to track their progress in meeting different fitness goals while having their own fitness progress card hole-punched which ultimately can be redeemed for rewards.
  3. Harvest of the Month — finally, this component encourages students to eat their fruits and vegetables by highlighting a Harvest of the Month. All students get the opportunity to taste a fruit or vegetable they've never tried before while learning about its history and how it gets from the farm to the grocery store.

Suzanne Fletcher, a parent at Turner, came up with the idea after discovering her daughter wasn't eating her boxed lunch from home. "I was concerned that she wasn't eating a healthy lunch," said Fletcher. "So we decided to do something about it."

The program has already received many awards including a Regional PTA Award, and 1st place in Family Energy Magazine's national contest on healthy schools. Florida Education Commissioner John Winn recently visited Turner Elementary to personally congratulate and acknowledge their efforts. "I'm a big believer in seeing health education become a culture in our schools where best practices and healthy habits can be infused in any rich-academic curriculum," said Winn. "Turner Elementary is a perfect example of that."

For more information on Turner Elementary School in Hillsborough County, please visit: http://www.sdhc.k12.fl.us/

For more information on how to develop a wellness/healthy school team, contact the Department of Education's Coordinated School Health Program at 866-312-6497 or