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Oklahoma School Districts Receive Healthy School Incentive Grants From Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust

OKLAHOMA CITY (May 16, 2013) - The Board of Directors for the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) has awarded grants to 26 school districts as part of the Healthy Schools Incentive Grant program.

The board on May 9 approved $189,000 in grants for school districts across the state. This is the first year for the Healthy Schools Incentive Grant Program. School districts were eligible for these grants if at least 50 percent of their school sites were certified by the Certified Healthy Schools program, a partnership between the Oklahoma Academy for State Goals, the Oklahoma Turning Point Council, the State Chamber and the State
Department of Health. 

The school districts awarded grant funding will use the money to fund projects within their school districts to promote healthy lifestyles for students within the community. 

School districts that received this grant are Beggs, Bristow, Central, Cheyenne, Coyle, Edmond, Elk City, Fort Gibson, Gore, Guymon, Haworth, Indiahoma, Jenks, Madill, Morris, Oakdale, Okarche, Okmulgee, Olustee, Panola, Pryor, Tahlequah, Valliant, Washington, Watonga and Wewoka. 

Grants were awarded based on district enrollment size and specific criteria met. The incentive grant criteria focus on school districts strengthening their local wellness policies to involve stakeholders, set goals for nutrition education and physical activity, implement nutrition guidelines and publicly report progress toward implementation.

Tobacco-free campus policies, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, are a prerequisite for the grants. Other criteria include schools utilizing the School Health Index to assess -more strengths and weakness and develop action plans to improve health and safety for students and staff. 

“Schools play an important part in helping children learn and practice healthy behaviors,” said Tracey Strader, TSET executive director. “We want to support schools that are actively promoting a healthy lifestyle for their students, staff, and the community. School districts that make healthy choice the easy choice are making a difference in children’s lives.” 

TSET was created by a constitutional amendment in 2000 as a long-term strategy to ensure settlement payments from a 1998 multi-state lawsuit against the tobacco industry are used to improve Oklahoma’s health status. The funds are placed in an endowment to ensure a growing funding source for improving health for generations to come. Only the earnings from the endowment are used. 

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The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) serves as a partner and bridge builder for organizations working toward shaping a healthier future for all Oklahomans. TSET provides leadership at the
intersections of health by working with local coalitions and initiatives 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. For more information visit www.tset.ok.gov.