Deerfield Community District’s Wellness Success

Deerfield on the run. After school running club grades 4 through 6.

Deerfield on the run. After school running club grades 4 through 6.

Deerfield is a destination district mindful of health and wellness.  

Key Takeaways

  • The next generation at Deerfield is taking ownership and leading the school community to be healthy and sustainable.

  • The district seeks out external resources from professional organizations to learn from other districts and network.

Major Actions for Policy Change

Diverse and Active Wellness Committee. For over a decade, the Deerfield Community District has had an active Health and Wellness Team that allows them to be proactive about student health. The committee’s membership is diverse, allowing for a breadth of expertise, and they’ve maintained their momentum by meeting consistently throughout the school year.

To be sustainable, the next generation has to take some ownership, and that’s what happened here in Deerfield.

External Grants. The district received an Active School grant from the Department of Public Instruction that funds wellness initiatives for staff and events for the community. The grant came with a stipend of $25,000 that allowed immediate changes to take place.  They hired Pam Klein as their Active School Coordinator, as well as  implemented new staff initiatives and community events.

Supportive Administration. Their supportive administration encouraged ideas to become actions. Deerfield Community School District believes that “active kids and healthy kids are better learners.” Their administrative team are passionate people who are willing to make sure everyone has a seat at the table.

Deerfield Family Fitness Night

Deerfield Family Fitness Night

Overcoming Obstacles to Making Change

Making wellness a priority is difficult when the time, energy, and resources of key players are stretched thin. Deerfield Community School District recognizes that wellness can be promoted without a surplus of district funds. The district relies on external resources, such as the Department of Public Instruction’s professional development opportunities and the Wisconsin Health and Physical Education Association. 

To meet the goal of improving school health holistically, the district works hard to adhere to their own wellness guidelines. They are also taking strides to improve the district’s nutrition initiatives and eliminate conflicting practices. 

Policy Implementation

I think that school districts are the catalysts of it all…Families can belong to gyms and participate in family nights, but I think schools are the most important because we have a captive audience for 180 days a year.

Deerfield is recognized as an active district blazing the path for student wellness. And students are helping, too. Deerfield has implemented programs like NFL Play 60, where students are able to create activities for their classmates to be more physically fit. They have been successful in planting the seed for their students, so that they too are invested in being active and eating healthy.

Other efforts that aren’t captured in their policy include their family fitness nights. These often include healthy dinners, and various forms of exercises such as yoga, cardio drumming and even activities from the Amazing Race. 

Click here to download a PDF version of Deerfield’s success story.