Montello School District’s Wellness Success

The district takes a two-fold path to prevent childhood obesity: model it, then teach it.

Students harvesting raspberries from their school garden.

Students harvesting raspberries from their school garden.

Key Takeaways

  • Montello is building capacity among existing staff to overcome limited resources and bring wellness to both staff and students.

  • Engaging students, parents, and the community contributes to wellness success.

Major Actions for Policy Change

We’re on a mission to improve teaching and learning in our district... and wellness is a component of all of that.

Existing Resources. Striving to build a healthy school environment for students and staff alike, Montello School District utilized the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction's policy making tool to improve the language of their policy. 

Engaged Wellness Champions. Montello's wellness committee is comprised of teachers, parents, students, staff and the Board of Education. The committee met regularly to incubate ideas and implement changes. Placing a key emphasis on nutrition education, Montello hired an innovative food service director who has instilled new energy within the district and promoted healthy foods.

Staff Leaders. The District is taking the opportunity to update their policy and implement new staff leaders who can model healthy habits for their students. Students engage, too. Montello School District encourages students to share their observations around health and wellness during the school day to provide the district with feedback and areas for growth.  

Bananas with positive messages written on them as a way to promote healthy eating.

Bananas with positive messages written on them as a way to promote healthy eating.

Overcoming Obstacles to Making Change

Due to Montello’s small district size, there are often staffing and resource vacancies that cannot be filled. It has been difficult to find skilled staff to cater to wellness initiatives and mental health services. They have found a solution to this problem by building capacity and knowledge within their existing staff. A current employee participates in Breathe for Change, which teaches educators to provide yoga within their workplaces. Through this program Montello School District's employee models mindfulness and movement for other staff and students. The District has found a creative way to build their wellness resources from inside.

Policy Implementation

Wellness is part and parcel with kids being ready to learn and staff being ready to teach.

Montello School District is carving wellness into their everyday experiences. They implemented a school garden where students grow and harvest fruits and vegetables. Then, the students have the opportunity to cook the foods they grow. In August 2018, Montello held their first ever wellness fair that focused on economic, social and emotional wellbeing. They also have a wellness day coming up and a collaborative event with the local health department. 

Montello School District is equipping their students with knowledge to make healthier choices. With the implementation of an advisory period during the day, students participate in learning experiences focused on social, emotional and wellness learning standards.  

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