212 Michigan K-12 schools awarded Building Healthy Communities program to improve children’s health

by Erica Stamatoulakis

| 6 min read

Mask on a notebook
DETROIT, Nov. 9, 2021 — More than 200 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, reduce chronic disease, improve academic achievement and address mental health and well-being. It is expected that the BHC program this school year will serve more than 91,000 students in Michigan. Michigan schools were invited to apply for one of three options through the program for the 2021-2022 school year. Building Healthy Communities offers multiple programs so schools can apply for the option that best meets their needs: Reducing Health Disparities in Elementary Schools (grades K-5), Engaging Middle Schools Through Project Healthy Schools (grades 6-8) and Step Up for School Wellness (grades K-12). Of the 212 participating schools, 78% are in low-income, under-resourced communities in areas of great need across the state. Providing resources in areas of greatest need increases both the opportunity to address disparities and positively impact marginalized groups. A new resource was made available to participating Step Up for School Wellness schools this year, Adolescent Suicide Prevention for Schools and Communities,” which will specifically address the growing issue of adolescent self-harm and suicide attempts in Michigan and is offered to staff, administrators and students in grades 5-12. 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. “Over the past 13 years, the BHC program has made incredible strides in building healthier school environments for students in Michigan,” said Ken Hayward, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan vice president and special assistant to the president for Community Relations. “Impacting 469,000 students and 1,100 schools since the Building Healthy Communities program began is a milestone not only to celebrate but also an important benchmark for us in continuously improving the whole-person health and well-being of Michigan’s youth.” “It takes comprehensive efforts to give our children what they need to succeed in school and lead healthy lives,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, chief medical executive, MDHHS. “Schools play a critical role in modeling and support for children to develop healthy habits. It is exciting to continue in this partnership to offer the resources schools need to continue their movement toward healthy and supportive school climates.” “Providing our students, educators, and support staff with the tools to boost their social, emotional and physical health is essential as they push through the challenges of today’s world,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. “Healthy bodies and minds help make possible greater personal and academic outcomes.” "Building Healthy Communities continues to be a tremendous asset for Michigan schools as they find new ways to support the unique health needs of their students," said Becky Cienki, program director at the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. "Whether it's helping to develop skills for conflict resolution or a much-needed nutritious meal, this program is making a real difference for children facing challenging circumstances in our communities." "It is with great optimism that MEMSPA partners with the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Department of Health and Human Services to provide desperately needed resources to support student physical and mental health needs,” said Paul Liabenow, executive director of MEMSPA. “In its eighth year, Building Healthy Communities: Step Up for Wellness continues to serve hundreds of schools and thousands of students." “We are excited to once again partner with the Building Healthy Communities program,” said Cortney Freeland, director of Youth Wellness Programs at the United Dairy Industry of Michigan. “Supporting children’s health by ensuring they are fueled daily with the irreplaceable and essential nutrients that dairy provides is a top priority for us. Michigan dairy farmers are proud to be a part of this initiative.” "This year's Reducing Health Disparities in Elementary Schools allowed us to re-think our approach by not only adding additional features, such as Trauma Sensitive Schooling, but also by targeting our efforts throughout entire school districts in eight of the highest need communities in Michigan,” said Nate McCaughtry, director, Center for Health and Community Impact for Wayne State University. “The past few years have exacerbated many health and social disparities, and we are proud to play our part in helping to address them in meaningful and impactful ways alongside many like-minded partners." “Project Healthy Schools is looking forward to our continued partnership with Building Healthy Communities for the 2021-2022 school year in our new middle schools across the state,” said Kim A. Eagle, MD, co-founder of Project Healthy Schools, Albion Walter Hewlett Professor of Internal Medicine Director, Frankel Cardiovascular Center. “The success of BHC as a program is a testament to all the partners and organizations who continue to strive to create healthier school environments and improve health and academic outcomes for all Michigan students. This year, we are thrilled to be safely back inside school buildings where we can continue to engage with students, teachers, and staff through physical activity, nutrition, and social emotional knowledge and skill-based education.” 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 469,000 students and 1,100 schools statewide. For more information on Blue Cross’ ongoing efforts to help improve childhood health, visit or follow #MIKidsCan on Twitter. The schools receiving Building Healthy Communities programming for the 2021-2022 school year include: Building Healthy Communities: Reducing Health Disparities in Elementary Schools
Adlai Stevenson Elementary School
Albert Schweitzer Elementary School
Alexander Hamilton Elementary School
Alice M. Birney Middle School
Arborwood Elementary School
Avalon Elementary School
Briarwood Elementary School
Custer Elementary School
David Hicks School
Elmwood Elementary School
Erickson Elementary School
Estabrook Elementary School
Eugene B. Elliott Elem. School
Ford Early Learning Center
Holmes Elementary School
Lincoln Elementary School
MacArthur K-8 University Academy
Manor Elementary School
Marjorie Carlson Elementary School
McIntyre Elementary School
McKinley Elementary School
Morris Adler Elementary School
Mound Park Elementary School
P.D. Graham Elementary School
Perry Child Development Center
Pinewood Elementary School
Raisinville School
Roosevelt/McGrath Elem. School
Schofield Elementary School
Taft-Galloway Elementary School
Thomas A. Edison Elem. School
Thompson K-8 International Academy
Vandenberg Elementary School
Walker-Winter Elementary School
Waterloo School
Westview Elementary School
Westwood Elementary School
Wildwood Elementary School
Ypsilanti International Elementary School
 Building Healthy Communities: Engaging Middle Schools through Project Healthy Schools
Adlai Stevenson Middle School
Boyd W. Arthurs Middle School
Great Lakes Learning Academy
Pathfinder School
University Preparatory Academy
Woodley Leadership Academy
Building Healthy Communities: Step Up for School Wellness
A.L. Holmes Academy of Blended Learning
Academy of the Americas
Academy of the Americas at Logan
Adams Elementary
Anchor Bay High School
Ann Arbor Trail Magnet Middle School
Ann J. Kellogg School
Arnold Elementary School
Aspen Ridge Middle School
Athens High School
Barton Elementary School
Beal City Elementary School
Beal City High School
Bedford School
Benjamin Carson High School of Science and Medicine
Bennett Elementary School
Blackwell Institute
Bow Elementary School
Bozymowski Center Elementary
Bozymowski Center Secondary School
Bunche Preparatory Academy
Burt Township School
Burton International Academy
Camden-Frontier High School
Carleton Elementary School
Carstens Academy of Aquatic Science at Remus
Cass City Elementary School
Cass City Jr/Sr High School
Cass Technical High School
Central Elementary School
Charles R. Drew Transition Center
Charles Wright School
Chrysler Elementary School
Cityside Middle School
Coleman A. Young Elementary School
Columbia Central Sr. High School
Columbia Elementary School
Columbia Upper Elementary School
Comstock STEM Academy
Coopersville West ECC
David Ellis Academy
Davis Aerospace High School
Davison Elementary-Middle School
Denby High School
Detroit Collegiate Prep HS at Northwestern
Detroit International Academy for Young Women
Detroit Lions Academy
Detroit School of Arts
Dixon Educational Learning Academy
Doris Klaussen Dev. Center
Dossin Elementary-Middle School
Dudley STEM
Duke Ellington Conservatory at Beckham
E.A. Johnson Memorial H.S.
Earhart Elementary-Middle School
East English Preparatory Academy
East Leroy Elementary School
Edison Elementary School
Emerson School
Field Elementary School
Fisher Magnet Lower Academy
Fisher Magnet Upper Academy
Fremont International Academy
Galesburg-Augusta Middle School
Gardner Elementary School
Garvey Academy
Gladys Dillon Elementary School
Golightly Education Center
Gompers Elementary-Middle School
Greenfield Union Elementary School
Hamilton Elementary & Middle School
Hanover-Horton Elementary School
Hanover-Horton High School
Hanover-Horton Middle School
Harms Elementary School
Henry Ford High School
Herrick Park Intermediate Learning Center
Holland Language Academy
Holy Ghost Lutheran School
Hope Academy
Huntington Elementary School
J. E. Clark Preparatory Academy
Jefferson Middle School
Jerry L. White Center
Jesse L. Anderson Elementary School
Jonesville Middle School
Julian O. Strong Middle School
Keicher Elementary School
Keidan Special Education Center
Lamora Park School
Legacy Academy
Lincoln School
Linsday Elementary School
Litchfield Elementary School
Litchfield High School
Ludington Magnet Middle and Honors School
Mackenzie Elementary-Middle School
Mann Learning Community
Marion Law Academy
Mark Twain School for Scholars
Marquette Elementary School
Marvin L. Winans Academy of Performing Arts Elem.
Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary School
Mattawan Later Elem. School
Maybury Elementary School
Michigan Center Jr/Sr High School
Middle School at Parkside
Moses Field Center
Mumford High School
Munger Elementary-Middle School
Nah Tah Wahsh Public School Academy
Neinas Elementary School
Nichols Elementary-Middle School
Northeast Elementary School
Northwest High School
Nouvel Catholic Central Elementary School
Nouvel Catholic Central High School
Onsted Elementary School
Osborn High School
Palmer Park Preparatory Academy
Parchment Middle School
Pardee School
Patterson Intermediate Learning Center
Pennfield Dunlap Elementary
Pennfield North School
Pennfield Purdy School
Pine River Area Elementary School
Pittsford Middle/High School
Post Franklin Elementary School
Potterville Elementary School
Priest Elementary-Middle School
Pulaski Elementary-Middle School
Randels Elementary School
Randolph Career and Technical Center
Reese High School
Renaissance High School
Richard Elementary School
Roberto Clemente Learning Academy
Ronald Brown Academy
Sampson-Webber Leadership Academy
Schoolcraft Elementary School
Schulze Academy for Technology and Arts
Springport Elementary School
Springport Middle School
St. Michael Parish School
St. Peter Lutheran School
Tecumseh Middle School
The Lincoln Center
The School at Marygrove
Three Oaks Public School Academy
Traverse City West H.S.
Turning Point Academy
Ubly Community Elementary School
Unionville-Sebewaing Middle School
Valley View Elementary School
Verona School
Wagar Junior High School
Waldron Elementary School
Waldron High School
Waldron Middle School
Warner Elementary School
Washtenaw Alliance for Virtual Education
Wayne Elementary School
Wayne Memorial High School
West Side Academy of Info Technology & Cyber Security
Will Carleton Charter School Academy
Woodhaven High School
# # # 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 and

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