In the Grandview Heights City School District, we believe Wellness for Life is a subject that should transcend and integrate into every grade level and content area for all students, beginning in kindergarten and extending beyond graduation.

When students are physically, mentally and emotionally healthy, they are more prepared to learn and realize their full potential.

The vision for Wellness for Life in Grandview Heights is to ensure that every student has the skills and experiences they need to live life to its fullest potential. It all starts with our District Wellness Committee, composed of a broad range of representatives from our school district and the community. The committee provides guidance and helps to design programs and instruction that explore healthful behaviors in relation to physical, emotional and social wellness.

We provide our students with a variety of healthful seasonal and local food choices as a part of our lunch program. With the support of our Department of Food Services and PTOs, we encourage students to expand their palates by exploring healthful choices of vegetables and fruits on Foodie Fridays.

Additionally, you will find tower gardens within our classrooms throughout the district where students harvest produce throughout the school year.

In partnership with the Farm to School Program, our high school and middle school students partnered to build raised-bed gardens on campus. The students designed and led the building, planting, sustaining and harvesting processes.

Our students also have a variety of opportunities for exercise. On Fitness Fridays, students in grades 4-8 are given various wellness options, such as exercising in the Health and Wellness Center, yoga or Zumba.

In addition, a period is offered three days a week for high school students who would like to exercise before school with an available planned workout. Stevenson Elementary School students are encouraged to move during indoor recess by choosing activities such as yoga or walking.

Our schools provide our older students with opportunities to focus not just on the body, but the mind as well. Thanks to a collaboration between the district and Syntero Counseling Services, students in grades 4-7 can access mini-courses twice weekly during their STAR period.

A mini-course is an eight-week, small-group educational opportunity for students that focuses on discussion and activities related to a topic relevant to them and their social or emotional development. The courses also align to our learning attributes of communication, empathy, respect, safety, resourcefulness, collaboration, accountability and perseverance.

Our school counselors work together to discuss effective communication skills, healthy relationships and human growth and development with our eighth-graders. Using the Signs of Suicide curriculum, our older students learn how to recognize the signs of depression and suicide in themselves and others and gain a better understanding of mental illness.

The Wellness for Life initiative celebrates the critical importance of building healthy and capable students.

We believe Wellness for Life is truly the subject of a lifetime.

Jamie Lusher is chief academic officer for the Grandview Heights City School District.