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Ponca City School District Honored for Efforts to Improve Health

PONCA CITY, OK (September 6, 2018) –  The Ponca City Public School District was honored Thursday for its efforts to improve health through the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) Healthy Incentive Program for schools.

To receive the $20,000 incentive grant, Ponca City Public Schools put a variety of policies and strategies in place to promote health and wellness for students and staff. The school district worked with local contractor, Evans & Associates, to construct a walking track at Liberty Elementary School. The track is available for use by the students during the school day and can be utilized by the community outside of the school day for physical activity.

TSET Executive Director John Woods and Sharon Howard, incentive grant program manager, presented a plaque to Ponca City Superintendent Shelly Arrott, executive director of operations at Ponca City Schools Bret Smith and Jennifer Martinez, Liberty Elementary principal. TSET Healthy Living Program staff from the OSU Seretean Wellness Center were also on hand for the presentation.

The incentive grant criteria focus on strengthening district wellness policies to improve school nutrition, increase physical activity, student wellbeing and provide tobacco-free environments for students, staff, faculty and families. These health-promoting practices and policies are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Incentive grant funds must be used for projects or programs to improve health.

 “These grants recognize the efforts of schools and school districts that are actively promoting healthy lifestyles. Studies show that active, healthy kids perform better in school,” said TSET Executive Director John Woods. “Habits formed early last a lifetime and we want to recognize schools that are making the healthy choice the easy choice for students, staff and the community.” 

“All the hard work that goes into assisting students and staff for safe and healthy living is worth the effort,” said Bret Smith. “With the help of the TSET Healthy Living Program, the State Department of Education, the local health department and our community, we have created a great team to give our students and staff the tools needed to be successful during and after the school day”.

The TSET Healthy Living Program through the OSU Seretean Wellness Center serves Kay, Payne and Creek counties and works to prevent and reduce tobacco use and obesity by partnering with schools, community organizations, worksites, and local governments to promote healthy choices. The TSET Healthy Living Program staff collaborate with community champions across all sectors to make their counties a healthier place to live, learn, work, and play.

TSET was created by a constitutional amendment in 2000 as a long term strategy to improve health and ensure settlement payments from a 1998 multi-state lawsuit against the tobacco industry are used to improve the health of all Oklahomans. The funds are placed in an endowment to ensure a growing funding source for generations to come. Only the earnings from the endowment are used to fund grants and programs.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                
Julie Bisbee, julieb@tset.ok.gov
Direct: 405-521-4992
Cell: 405-301-3693

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 The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) serves as a partner and bridge builder for organizations working towards shaping a healthier future for all Oklahomans. TSET provides leadership at the intersections of health by working across the state, by cultivating innovative and life-changing research, and by working across public and private sectors to develop, support, implement and evaluate creative strategies to take advantage of emerging opportunities to improve the public's health. TSET. Better Lives Through Better Health.