5J schools hone health curriculum

By Jayson Jacoby / The Baker City Herald

By LISA BRITTON

For the Baker City Herald

Baker City now has access to cutting-edge curriculum for health education thanks to a sponsorship through St. Alphonsus Health System.

St. Al's has partnered with HealthTeacher, an online organziation that offers a comprehensive curriculum for grades kindergarten through 12.

In Baker City, the hospital has partnered with Baker School District 5J and the Baker YMCA, which provides health education for Brooklyn, South Baker and Haines elementary schools.

"It's really nice that St. Al's is sponsoring this and giving us access," said Shauna Coleman, Y director.

David Hanzlik, health education coordinator for HealthTeacher, came to Baker City Tuesday to provide a one-hour training for those who would be using the curriculum.

Hanzlik said it features more than 300 lesson plans that cover 10 health topics - alcohol and drugs, anatomy, community and environmental health, injury prevention, mental and emotional health, nutrition, personal and consumer health, physical activity, family health and sexuality and tobacco.

HealthTeacher lessons were developed by health educators and health providers, and reviewed by the Vanderbilt medical board. The curriculum meets the national health education standards.

"And we align with state standards, too," Hanzlik said.

HealthTeacher has 17 partnerships throughout the U.S., and is used by about 22,000 teachers.

After the one-time training, the partners have access to all the lessons plans.

"They can tailor it - teaching or supplementing. And other districts use it as a stand-alone curriculum," Hanzlik said.

Each lesson plan has a goal skill, such as advocacy, decision making and practicing healthy behaviors.

"A lot of the hospital partners come on board because there's a need for health education materials in the classroom," Hanzlik said.

Health issues are ever-changing, and being online allows frequent updates.

"We're able to easily modify and add lesson plans," he said.

"I think it's fantastic. It makes life so much easier for the teacher and it's all there, even handouts for the kids," said Noel Salazar, Y wellness director.

Jason Hardrath, who teaches P.E. at Brooklyn and South Baker schools, plans to begin implementing HealthTeacher lessons next week.

"I've been taught to set up lesson plans just like that," he said. "I appreciate the resources, and there's lots of background."

HealthTeacher also provides a monthly newsletter that can go home to parents, reinforcing the lessons learned at school.

Laura Huggins, St. Alphonsus' marketing and communication specialist, said the hospital nutritionist, Karlee Miller, also took the HealthTeacher training and will be teaching about nutrition in the schools.

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