Three Pottawatomie County school districts have just been awarded grant money to help improve the health and wellbeing of their students.

Three Pottawatomie County school districts have just been awarded grant money to help improve the health and well-being of their students.

The TSET Board of Directors on Thursday approved 34 incentive grants for communities and schools through the TSET Healthy Incentive Program.

TSET funds were awarded to 10 communities and 24 school districts that have adopted health promoting policies and strategies at the board meeting.

The three area districts in Pottawatomie County that were among grant recipients: Shawnee Public Schools, Pleasant Grove Public School and Asher Public Schools.

Shawnee received $30,000 in funds; Pleasant Grove secured $13,500; and Asher received $15,000.

Shawnee Public Schools Superintendent Dr. April J. Grace said the grant will help her district continue to promote health and wellness.

“We are extremely excited about being awarded this grant,” she said. “Every site will be getting a water bottle refill station; we will also being doing Lunch-and-Learn sessions as a result of this grant.”

The TSET Healthy Incentive Program for schools and communities are part of a comprehensive effort to prevent and reduce the leading causes of death in Oklahoma — heart disease, stroke and cancer by preventing unhealthy behaviors before they take root. Grants are awarded to communities and schools that have implemented key strategies aimed at creating an environment that encourages Oklahomans to eat better, move more and be tobacco free.

In communities, key strategies for health include tobacco-free, vape-free environments, suicide prevention, supporting active transportation such as biking or walking, offering and promoting fruits and vegetables through community gardens, farmers markets and making healthy foods more appealing and affordable.

Strategies for schools include district wellness policies that focus on quality nutrition and increased physical activity to improve the health of students. Schools must also provide a tobacco-free, vape-free environment at all times.

Grant funds are often used to leverage additional partners for projects that promote health. Incentive grant amounts vary based on community population, school enrollment size and the types of health-promoting strategies implemented.

“We are proud to recognize communities and schools that are engaging in conversations about how to improve invest in citizens and students in a community,” TSET Executive Director John Woods said.

Preventing and reducing tobacco use and obesity in Oklahoma takes a comprehensive approach that supports healthy habits, removes barriers for healthy behaviors and encourages Oklahomans to be tobacco free, he said.

“Combined with other prevention efforts, these communities and schools are working to reduce the demand on an already stressed health care system, saving lives and saving money and improving quality of life,” Woods said.

The funding awarded for 10 communities in six counties totaled $368,000. The cities were Broken Bow; Holdenville; Poteau; Clearview; Delaware; Heavener; Muldrow; Pocola; Spiro; and Wetumka.

The 24 grants awarded to school districts in 16 counties totaled $394,000. The counties were Lincoln (4); Pottawatomie (3); Sequoyah (2); Delaware (2); Coal; Kingfisher; Logan; Seminole; McCurtain; Okfuskee; Nowata (2); Cherokee; Wagoner; Payne; Adair; and Hughes.