Francis Scott Key Middle School
Wellness for Success
Lead Partner: Montgomery Victory Gardens
Wellness for Success was an innovative program that helped students who were poorly nourished and in poor physical health overcome obstacles to mental and social emotional health, and put them on a successful path. Wellness for Success combined experiential food-growing education, science-based academic enrichment programs, structured physical activity and nutrition education.
Wellness for Success was implemented at Francis Scott Key Middle School, which had seen dramatic increases in low-income and diverse community populations in the past 10 years. Partner organizations create the following multi-faceted approach to learning.
Montgomery Victory Gardens led students through a year’s worth of planting, cultivating and harvesting food – including fall and winter crops – in newly constructed raised beds. Student families also learned about food and agricultural history and traditions.
Big Learning led students in hands-on activities and explorations utilizing scientific principles (biology, botany, physics) to teach the science of growing food and good nutrition, and also incorporated elements of the Math Common Core.
YMCA-YFS led health and nutrition education and physical activities using the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) curriculum to build a supportive team environment where students were encouraged to respect and value diversity, build perseverance through physical challenges, and learn to make constructive, healthy choices. Field trips were included through the YMCA Horizons Outdoor Adventure Program.
Key MS staff provided targeted homework support focused on math and science, which facilitated greater academic achievement while also helping to integrate the other elements of the program.
Through the integration and synergy of these different program elements, the Wellness for Success program cultivated a corps of students that understood how to produce fresh, nutritious food and how to make and practice healthy lifestyle choices around diet and physical activity. This understanding is integral to achieving academic success conducive to a more satisfying and productive life.