School grant to promote health

Barclay Elementary/Middle School in Baltimore has received one of 11 grants awarded to schools throughout the United States and Canada to promote students' overall health.

The $10,000 grants were awarded by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, an international group that stresses education of the "whole child." It urges schools to address students' physical, mental and emotional needs, as well as their academic development.


Barclay plans to use the money to expand counseling to students with behavior problems and to form support groups for parents to discuss how they can improve their children's behavior at home.

The school already has about 30 outside partnerships with institutions that provide students and parents with a variety of services, from after-school programs to adult education. It offers debate, volleyball and basketball, and there are plans to build an outdoor tennis court.


Barclay has been working with the Greater Homewood Community Corp. for about the past seven years to promote the concept of a "community school," one that links students and their families with whatever social services they need for the children to be academically successful.

The community schools movement gained momentum in Baltimore this school year, with the city paying for 26 schools, including Barclay, to hire coordinators to organize the effort.

Leigh Fernald, Barclay's community school coordinator, wrote the proposal for the ASCD grant.

Theresa Lewallen, director of ASCD's Healthy School Communities initiative, said her organization awarded grants to nine schools and two school districts that were doing considerable work to meet students' overall health needs but wanted to do more.

The 11 grant recipients were selected from nearly 300 applicants, she said. They will be required to evaluate their schools using a "Healthy School Report Card," looking at factors including the availability of health care on site and fitness opportunities for students.

Barclay was the only grant recipient in Maryland. Other winning schools are in cities including Boston, Indianapolis and Pottstown, Pa. Three of the winners are in Canada.