The Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) recognized two Pottawatomie County schools on Friday for their efforts to encourage healthy behaviors in students, faculty and staff.

Asher Public Schools received a $15,000 incentive grant and local leaders chose to purchase playground equipment, physical education equipment and a water bottle filling hydration station. 

South Rock Creek Public School accepted a $13,500 incentive grant and chose to install a concrete play pad for its prekindergarten-kindergarten playground. They also will use funds for an outdoor classroom, new physical education equipment, health education curriculum and upgraded water fountains.   

“The grants recognize the efforts of both school districts to actively promote healthy lifestyles,” said TSET Executive Director Julie Bisbee. “Studies show that active, healthy kids perform better in school. TSET wants to recognize these schools that are making the healthy choice the easy choice for students, faculty, staff and the community.”

To receive the incentive grants, the districts must implement a variety of policies and strategies to promote health and wellness for students, faculty and staff.

Thomas Larson, TSET director of public information and outreach, and Sharon Howard, TSET healthy incentive program manager for schools, presented a plaque and a check to representatives at each of the schools.

Superintendent Terry Grissom and Dean of Students Scott Hamilton accepted the check and plaque on behalf of Asher Public Schools; and Superintendent Mike Crawford and Principal Ryan Rosser, on behalf of South Rock Creek Public School.

Representatives from Gateway to Prevention & Recovery, a partner with TSET’s Healthy Living Program, were present to congratulate school members for creating a healthy environment for students, faculty and staff.

The incentive grant criteria focus on strengthening district wellness policies to improve school nutrition, increase physical activity, student well-being and provide tobacco-free environments for students, faculty, staff and the community. The health-promoting practices and policies are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Incentive grant funds must fund projects or programs that improve health.

TSET was created by a constitutional amendment in 2000 as a long-term strategy to improve health and ensure settlement payments from a 1998 multi-state lawsuit against the tobacco industry. Funds are used to improve the health of all Oklahomans and are placed in an endowment to ensure a growing funding source for generations to come. Only the earnings from the endowment are used to fund grants and programs.

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