Mask on a notebook

Photo: Steven White

341 Michigan K-12 Schools Awarded Building Healthy Communities Program to Improve Children’s Health

DETROIT, Jan. 27, 2021 —More than 340 schools statewide were awarded the Building Healthy Communities (BHC) program, a public-private school-based initiative that supports children’s health by providing teachers, administrators and students the resources, curriculum, equipment and professional development to create healthier school environments, prevent childhood obesity, improve academic achievement and address mental health and well-being. It is expected that the BHC program this school year will serve more than 158,000 students in Michigan.

Michigan schools were invited to apply for one of three programs for the 2020-2021 school year. The Building Healthy Communities programs include: Engaging Elementary Schools through Partnership (grades K-5), Engaging Middle Schools Through Project Healthy Schools (grades 6-8) and Step Up for School Wellness (grades K-12). All three programs are operating in virtual, hybrid and/or face-to-face formats to accommodate the ways in which schools are operating in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of the 340-plus participating schools, 74% are in low-income, under-resourced communities. A new resource made available this year to specifically address food insecurity related to the COVID-19 pandemic, “Meals on the Move,” will increase breakfast and lunch accessibility by providing various options to schools and districts in transporting meals safely.

Additionally, 35 school districts have many schools participating in one of the three programs. The districts with the most schools participating include:

  • Detroit Public Schools Community District (102)
  • Lansing Public Schools (21)
  • Farmington Public Schools (12)

Launched in 2009, BHC is supported by multiple statewide organizations, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Michigan Department of Education, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association, Michigan Health Endowment Fund, Michigan Fitness Foundation, Michigan State University Extension, United Dairy Industry of Michigan, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University Center for Health and Community Impact.

“Blue Cross commends Michigan’s academic community on its commitment to implementing a culture of wellness in their schools during this unprecedented school year,” said Suzanne Miller Allen, senior director, Community Responsibility and Social Mission at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “The Building Healthy Communities program was created over ten years ago to lead our state to a healthier future and invest in the next generation of Michigan citizens. Our evidence-based approach to crafting these programs have led to some incredible outcomes for children, including improving academic performance, fighting childhood obesity, addressing mental health and well-being and we look forward to continuing our work.”

“It is important that children practice healthy habits during this pandemic,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health for MDHHS. “Building Healthy Communities provides the resources and supports to create school environments that support the development and reinforcement of healthy habits, especially healthy eating and being physically active. We intend to support schools to reach their vision to build a culture of health and to support students to learn.”

One of the goals of the state’s strategic education plan is to improve the health, safety, and wellness of students, according to State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. “Strengthening the physical, mental, and social emotional health of our students is critical to student success,” Dr. Rice said. “Michigan’s students need to be healthy and eager to be engaged in learning. Many kids need the help of programs like Building Healthy Communities to keep moving forward, and we appreciate the support from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and our other partners in this effort.”

“The tremendous growth of this program is a win for students across Michigan—many of whom typically have low access to health support,” said Becky Cienki, director of behavioral health at the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. “By cultivating environments that provide everything from fresh produce and daily physical activity to lessons on how to manage emotions, the Building Healthy Communities program is able to plant the seeds for healthy habits of all kinds.”

Paul Liabenow, executive director of Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association, said, “At no time in our history has it been more important to provide support for Michigan’s pre-K 12 students to help them find success during this worldwide pandemic. MEMSPA is delighted to be a partner with Blue Cross Blue Shield, and other partners to deliver resources and guidance to nearly 300 Michigan schools. Resources focused on social emotional learning, nutrition, physical activity will help students develop healthy habits for improved quality of life.”

Cortney Freeland, director of Youth Wellness Programs at the United Dairy Industry of Michigan, said, “Michigan’s dairy farmers are proud to support our schools working daily to feed our children. It is exciting to see so many schools dedicated to supporting their students in creative ways at a challenging time.”

“The Center for Health and Community Impact is proud to have adapted the elementary school program so that we can meet schools where they are, whether they are operating completely virtually, in a hybrid format, or fully in-person,” said Nate McCaughtry, director, Center for Health and Community Impact for Wayne State University. “This evolution means that we can continue to partner with schools to increase children’s health enhancing physical activity, improve healthy eating, reduce and prevent childhood obesity, and enhance academic achievement in some of the most difficult times children and families have face in a century.”

“Through Building Healthy Communities: Engaging Middle Schools through Project Healthy Schools we’ve reached tens of thousands of  Michigan students with important health messages that can change their lives and their futures”, said Michigan Medicine cardiologist Kim Eagle, M.D., Albert Walter Hewlett Professor of Internal Medicine, director of the Frankel Cardiovascular Center and co-founder of Project Healthy Schools.  “This year, more than ever, supporting our students and teachers with online classes and resources is important to shape healthy behaviors for both students and their families making a lifelong impact on their health”.

Building Healthy Communities supports Blue Cross’ ongoing commitment to children’s health and its #MIKidsCan campaign – an initiative focused on encouraging kids to adopt healthy habits early in life that are more likely to be carried into adulthood. Since its inception in 2009, BHC has supported 450,000 students and 1,000 schools statewide. For more information on Blue Cross’ ongoing efforts to help improve childhood health, visit AHealthierMichigan.org/MIKidsCan or follow #MIKidsCan on Twitter.

The schools receiving Building Healthy Communities programming for the 2020-2021 school year include:

Building Healthy Communities: Engaging Elementary Schools through Partnership

  • All Saints Catholic School, Alpena
  • Battle Creek Dunlap Elementary School, Battle Creek
  • Beacon Elementary School, Dexter
  • Beechview Elementary School, Farmington Hills
  • Crescent Academy, Southfield
  • Crescent Academy International, Canton
  • Farley Hill Elementary, Pinckney
  • Fife Lake Elementary, Fife Lake
  • Forest Elementary, Farmington Hills
  • Fortis Academy, Ypsilanti
  • Francis Street Primary School, Jackson
  • Gerald R Ford Academic Center, Grand Rapids
  • Gill Elementary School, Farmington Hills
  • Henry Niedermeier Elementary, Newport
  • Hillside Elementary School, Farmington Hills
  • J.A. Lanigan Elementary School, Farmington Hills
  • Kenbrook Elementary, Farmington Hills
  • Leonard Elementary School, Leonard
  • Longacre Elementary, Farmington
  • Michigan Islamic Academy, Ann Arbor
  • Mulick Park Elementary, Grand Rapids
  • New Paradigm Loving Academy, Detroit
  • Oakside Scholars Charter Academy, Waterford
  • Oxbow Elementary School, White Lake
  • Pine Island Elementary School, Comstock Park
  • Riverside Elementary School, Constantine
  • St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School, Grand Rapids
  • St. John Lutheran School, Rogers City
  • St. Mary School, Williamston
  • State Street Academy, Bay City
  • Susick Elementary, Troy
  • Twin Rivers Elementary School, Muir
  • University Prep Art and Design Elementary School, Detroit
  • Whitman Elementary, Pontiac
  • Wildwood Elementary School, Westland
  • Wood Creek Elementary, Farmington Hills
  • Woodworth Elementary School, Leslie

Building Healthy Communities: Engaging Middle Schools through Project Healthy Schools    

  • American Montessori Academy Upper Campus, Westland
  • Beacon Day Treatment, Southgate
  • Detroit Community Elementary/Middle, Detroit
  • East Middle School, Farmington Hills
  • Farmington STEAM Academy, Farmington Hills
  • OJ DeJonge Middle School, Ludington
  • Power Middle School, Farmington Hills
  • St. Clare of Montefalco, Grosse Pointe Park
  • Swan Valley Middle School, Saginaw
  • Warner Middle School, Farmington Hills

Building Healthy Communities: Step Up for School Wellness

  • A.L. Holmes Academy of Blended Learning, Detroit
  • Academy of the Americas, Detroit
  • Academy of the Americas at Logan, Detroit
  • Adams Elementary, Zeeland
  • Adams Middle School, Westland
  • Alcott School, Pontiac
  • American Montessori Academy, Westland
  • Ann Arbor Trail Magnet Middle School, Detroit
  • Ann J. Kellogg School, Battle Creek
  • Arnold Elementary School, Michigan Center
  • Arrowwood Elementary School, Saginaw
  • Aspen Ridge Elementary School, Ishpeming
  • Athens High School, Troy
  • Atherton Elementary School, Grand Blanc
  • Bagley Elementary School, Detroit
  • Bahweting Anishnabe PSA, Sault Ste. Marie
  • Barber Preparatory Academy, Highland Park
  • Bark River-Harris Elementary School, Harris
  • Barryton Elementary School, Barryton
  • Barton Elementary School, Detroit
  • Bates Academy, Detroit
  • Beal City Elementary School, Mt. Pleasant
  • Bedford School, Dearborn Heights
  • Beekman Center, Lansing
  • Benjamin Carson High School of Science & Medicine, Detroit
  • Bennett Elementary School, Detroit
  • Betsie Valley School, Thompsonville
  • Big Rock Elementary School, Cheasaning
  • Birchview School, Ishpeming
  • Blackwell Institute, Detroit
  • Blesch Intermediate School, Menominee
  • Bow Elementary School, Detroit
  • Bozymowski Center Elementary, Warren
  • Bozymowski Center Secondary School, Sterling Heights
  • Breckenridge Elementary School, Breckenridge
  • Brenda Scott Middle School, Detroit
  • Brewer Academy, Detroit
  • Brighton High School, Brighton
  • Brookside Elementary School, Big Rapids
  • Brown City Elementary School, Brown City
  • Bunche Preparatory Academy, Clinton Township
  • Burns Elementary-Middle School, Detroit
  • Burton International Academy, Detroit
  • Carleton Elementary School, Detroit
  • Carsonville-Port Sanilac Elementary School, Carsonville
  • Carsonville-Port Sanilac MS/HS, Carsonville
  • Carstens Academy of Aquatic Science at Remus, Detroit
  • Carver Elementary School, Detroit
  • Cass City Elementary School, Cass City
  • Cass City Jr/Sr High School, Cass City
  • Cass Technical High School, Detroit
  • Cavanaugh School, Lansing
  • Central Academy and High School, Detroit
  • Central Elementary School, Muskegon
  • Central Elementary School, Menominee
  • Central School, Vassar
  • Charles R. Drew Transition Center, Detroit
  • Charles Wright School, Detroit
  • Cheboygan Middle School, Cheboygan
  • Chesaning Union High School, Chesaning
  • Chrysler Elementary School, Detroit
  • Cityside Middle School, Zeeland
  • Clara B. Bolen Elementary School, Tawas City
  • Cleveland Elementary School, Port Huron
  • Clippert Multicultural Magnet Honors Academy, Detroit
  • Coleman A. Young Elementary School, Detroit
  • Communication & Media Arts HS, Detroit
  • Comstock Elementary School, Kalamazoo
  • Comstock STEM Academy, Kalamazoo
  • Constantine Middle School, Constantine
  • Cooke Elementary School, Detroit
  • Coopersville East Elementary School, Coopersville
  • Coopersville West ECC, Coopersville
  • Corunna High School, Corunna
  • Corunna Middle School, Corunna
  • Cumberland School, Lansing
  • Davis Aerospace High School, Detroit
  • Davison Elementary-Middle School, Detroit
  • Denby High School, Mount Clemens
  • Detroit Collegiate Prep HS at Northwestern, Detroit
  • Detroit Enterprise Academy, Detroit
  • Detroit Internat’l Academy for Young Women, Detroit
  • Detroit Lions Academy, Detroit
  • Detroit School of Arts, Detroit
  • Diann Banks Williamson Education Center, Detroit
  • Dixon Educational Learning Academy, Detroit
  • Donald J. Yacks Elem. School, Harrison Township
  • Doris Klaussen Dev. Center, Battle Creek
  • Dossin Elementary-Middle School, Detroit
  • Duke Ellington Conservatory at Beckham, Detroit
  • Dundee Elementary School, Dundee
  • Durfee Elementary-Middle School, Detroit
  • Dwight Rich Middle School, Lansing
  • Dye Elementary School, Flint
  • E.A. Johnson Memorial H.S., Mt. Morris
  • Earhart Elementary-Middle School, Detroit
  • East Elementary School, Grandville
  • East English Preparatory Academy, Detroit
  • Eastern High School, Lansing
  • Eastside Elementary School, Niles
  • Edgemont Elementary School, Belleville
  • Edison Elementary School, Detroit
  • Edmonson Elementary School, Detroit
  • Einstein Elementary School, Oak Park
  • Elmwood School, Lansing
  • Elsa Meyer Elementary School, Corunna
  • Emerson Elementary-Middle School, Detroit
  • Environmental Education Center, Wayland
  • Escanaba Area Public High School, Escanaba
  • Ethel C. Bobcean Elem. School, Flat Rock
  • Everett High School, Lansing
  • Field Elementary School, Canton
  • Fisher Magnet Lower Academy, Detroit
  • Fisher Magnet Upper Academy, Detroit
  • Ford Early Learning Center, Ypsilanti
  • Foreign Language Immersion & Cultural Studies, Detroit
  • Forest View School, Lansing
  • Forrest G. Averill School, Lansing
  • Frederick Douglass Academy for Young Men, Detroit
  • Fremont International Academy, Battle Creek
  • Galesburg-Augusta High School, Galesburg
  • Galesburg-Augusta Middle School, Augusta
  • Gardner Elementary School, Detroit
  • Gardner Middle School, Lansing
  • Garvey Academy, Detroit
  • Gladys Dillon Elementary School, Burton
  • Golightly Education Center, Detroit
  • Gompers Elementary-Middle School, Detroit
  • Greater Heights Academy, Flint
  • Greenfield Union Elementary School, Detroit
  • Gull Lake Middle School, Richland
  • Hamilton Elementary & Middle School, Detroit
  • Hampton Elementary School, Bay City
  • Hanover-Horton Elementary School, Hanover
  • Hanover-Horton Middle School, Horton
  • Harms Elementary School, Detroit
  • Hartford High School, Hartford
  • Henderson Academy, Detroit
  • Henry Ford High School, Detroit
  • Henry Ford II High School, Utica
  • Henry North Elementary, Lansing
  • Herrington School, Rochester Hills
  • Highview Elementary School, Dearborn Heights
  • Hillcrest Elementary School, Dearborn Heights
  • Holy Ghost Lutheran School, Monroe
  • Huntington Elementary School, Riverview
  • Hutchinson Elementary-Middle School at Howe, Detroit
  • Imlay City Christian School, Imlay City
  • International Technology Academy, Pontiac
  • E. Clark Preparatory Academy, Detroit
  • J.W. Sexton High School, Lansing
  • Jackson Area Career Center, Jackson
  • Jerry L. White Center, Detroit
  • Jesse L. Anderson Elementary School, Trenton
  • John M. Barnes Elem. School, Flat Rock
  • John R. King Academic and Performing Arts Academy, Detroit
  • Keidan Special Education Center, Detroit
  • Kendon School, Lansing
  • Key Elementary School, Oak Park
  • Kinloch Elementary School, Dearborn Heights
  • Kuehn-Haven Middle School, Montrose
  • Lake City Elementary School, Lake City
  • Laker Elementary, Pigeon
  • Lakeshore Middle School, Grand Haven
  • Legacy Academy, Detroit
  • Leroy Elementary School, Leroy
  • Lewton School, Lansing
  • Linsday Elementary School, Bay City
  • Ludington Magnet Middle and Honors School, Detroit
  • Lutheran High School-Westland, Westland
  • Lyons School, Lansing
  • Mackenzie Elementary-Middle School, Detroit
  • Mann Learning Community, Detroit
  • Maple City-Glen Lake Jr/Sr High School, Maple City
  • Maples Elementary School, Dearborn
  • Marble School, East Lansing
  • Marion Law Academy, Detroit
  • Mark Twain School for Scholars, Detroit
  • Marlette Elementary School, Marlette
  • Marlette Jr./Sr. High School, Marlette
  • Marquette Elementary School, Detroit
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School, Detroit
  • Marvin L. Winans Academy of Performing Arts Elem., Detroit
  • Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary School, Detroit
  • Mason Academy, Detroit
  • Mattawan Later Elem. School Mattawan
  • Maybury Elementary School, Detroit
  • McComb Elementary School, Saginaw
  • Meridian Elementary School, Grosse Ile
  • Michigan Center Jr/Sr High School, Michigan Center
  • Milan Middle School, Milan
  • Monroe Elementary School, Wyandotte
  • Moses Field Center, Detroit
  • Mumford High School, Detroit
  • Munger Elementary-Middle School, Detroit
  • Nah Tah Wahsh Public School Academy, Wilson
  • Negaunee Middle School, Negaunee
  • Neinas Elementary School, Detroit
  • Nellie B. Chisholm Middle School, Montague
  • Nellie Reed Elementary School, Vernon
  • New Groningen School, Zeeland
  • New Lothrop High School, New Lothrop
  • Nichols Elementary-Middle School, Detroit
  • Noble Elementary School, Detroit
  • Nolan Middle School, Detroit
  • North Branch Elementary School, North Branch
  • North Huron Secondary School, Kinde
  • North Star Academy, Marquette
  • Norway Elementary School, Norway
  • Nouvel Catholic Central Elementary School, Saginaw
  • Oak Park Preparatory Academy, Oak Park
  • Onaway Elementary School, Onaway
  • Onsted Elementary School, Onsted
  • Osborn High School, Detroit
  • Palmer Park Preparatory Academy, Detroit
  • Parchment Northwood Elem. School, Kalamazoo
  • Pardee School, Dearborn Heights
  • Parke Lane School, Grosse Ile
  • Parsons Elementary School, Belleville
  • Pasteur Elementary School, Detroit
  • Pattengill Middle School, Lansing
  • Perry Child Development Center, Ypsilanti
  • Pinewood School, Jenison
  • Polk Elementary School, Dearborn Heights
  • Pontiac Northern High School, Pontiac
  • Portage West Middle School, Portage
  • Post Oak School, Lansing
  • Powell Twp. Elementary School, Big Bay
  • PREP Academy, Adrian
  • Priest Elementary-Middle School, Detroit
  • Pulaski Elementary-Middle School, Warren
  • Randolph Elementary School, Livonia
  • Rawsonville Elementary School, Ypsilanti
  • Renaissance High School, Detroit
  • Reo School, Lansing
  • Richard Elementary School, Grosse Pointe Farms
  • Richfield Public School Academy 3-8, Flint
  • Riddle Elementary, Lansing
  • Riley Elementary School, DeWitt
  • Roberto Clemente Learning Academy, Detroit
  • Robeson Academy, Detroit
  • Rogers School, Auburn Hills
  • Romeo Middle School, Romeo
  • Ronald Brown Academy, Detroit
  • Sampson-Webber Leadership Academy, Detroit
  • Sandusky Jr/Sr HS, Sandusky
  • Schoolcraft Elementary School, Waterford
  • Schulze Academy for Technology and Arts, Detroit
  • Shepherd Elementary School, Detroit
  • Sheridan Road School, Weidman
  • Shoreline Elementary School, Whitehall
  • Sonoma School, Battle Creek
  • South Olive Christian School, Holland
  • South Range Elementary School, South Range
  • Southeastern High School, Detroit
  • Spain Elementary School, Detroit
  • Springport Elementary School, Springport
  • Springport Middle School, Springport
  • St. John Vianney Catholic School, Flint
  • St. Michael Parish School, Grand Ledge
  • St. Peter Lutheran School, Macomb
  • Summit Academy North High School, Romulus
  • Sunset Lake Elementary School, Vicksburg
  • Switzer Elementary School, Shelby Township
  • The Lincoln Center, Wyandotte
  • The School at Marygrove, Detroit
  • Thirkell Elementary-Middle School, Detroit
  • Thurgood Marshall Elementary School, Detroit
  • Turning Point Academy, Detroit
  • Ubly Community Elementary School, Ubly
  • University Prep Science & Math Elementary School, Detroit
  • University Prep Science & Math High School, Detroit
  • Vassar High School, Vassar
  • Vernor Elementary School, Detroit
  • Wagar Junior High School, Wagar
  • Wainwright School, Lansing
  • Waldorf School Assn. of Michigan, Detroit
  • Warner Elementary School, Spring Arbor
  • Washington Elementary School, Wyandotte
  • Washtenaw Alliance for Virtual Education, Ypsilanti
  • Waverly Middle School, Lansing
  • Wayne Elementary School, Detroit
  • West Side Academy of Info Technology & Cyber Security, Detroit
  • Western International High School, Detroit
  • Westfield Preparatory High School, Redford
  • Whitehall Early Elem. School, Whitehall
  • Whitehall Middle School, Whitehall
  • Whitehall Senior High School, Whitehall
  • Whitmore Lake Elementary School, Whitmore Lake
  • Williams Elementary School, Jonesville
  • Williamston High School, Williamston
  • Willow School, Lansing
  • Woodhaven High School, Brownstown
  • Ypsilanti International Elementary School, Ypsilanti

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit mutual insurance company, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCBSM provides health benefits to more than 4.7 million members residing in Michigan in addition to employees of Michigan-headquartered companies residing outside the state. The company has been committed to delivering affordable health care products through a broad variety of plans for businesses, individuals and seniors for more than 80 years. Beyond health care coverage, BCBSM supports impactful community initiatives and provides leadership in improving health care. For more information, visit bcbsm.com and MiBluesPerspectives.com.