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Four Jefferson City School District Schools named to 2020 list of America's Healthiest Schools

Four schools across the Jefferson City School District are among the 517 schools nationwide to earn a spot on the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s (Healthier Generation) 2020 list of America’s Healthiest Schools for their commitment to promoting quality nutrition, regular physical activity and strong wellness policies. The four schools from the JC Schools district, which served about 9,000 students during the 2019-2020 school year, are among 37 schools in Missouri to receive this recognition.

The four schools that have received the honor are Callaway Hills Elementary, East Elementary, South Elementary, and Thorpe Gordon Elementary. In recent years, these schools have been active participants in Healthy Schools, Healthy Communities, a grant-funded program through the Missouri Foundation for Health with the mission to increase healthy eating, physical exercise, and other wellness opportunities in the schools. 

Despite the conclusion of the Healthy Schools, Healthy Communities grant, JC Schools will continue building healthy habits in its schools. This school year, JC Schools welcomed Kelsey Chrisman as the district’s first-ever JC Healthy Schools coordinator. For the past three years, Chrisman has worked with the four award-winning schools through the Healthy Schools, Healthy Communities grant. In her new role, Chrisman will work with all elementary schools in the district.

Though Callaway Hills, East, South, and Thorpe Gordon were evaluated on practices taking place prior to the COVID-19 school closures, they leveraged their strong foundations in wellness and were positioned to prioritize healthy habits throughout the pandemic. These schools have promoted good health by: 

  • Meeting or exceeding federal nutrition standards for school meals and snacks;
  • Incorporating physical activity opportunities before, during or after the school day;
  • Implementing student wellness procedures and updating progress annually;
  • Encouraging and educating families and community members in healthy decision-making.

“As a district, we are so proud of these schools for being named among America’s healthiest schools,” said JC Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Linthacum. “They have worked hard to give their students new opportunities for healthy eating and physical exercise that are fun, engaging, and can easily be incorporated in their everyday lives. The teachers, parents, students and staff at these four schools recognize the critical role that health plays in learning On behalf of JC Schools, congratulations to Callaway Hills, East, South, and Thorpe Gordon elementary schools on this incredible honor.”


“Callaway Hills, East, South, and Thorpe Gordon elementary schools are giving students the tools they need to live a healthy and happy life, and they absolutely deserve this national award,” said Kelsey Chrisman, JC Healthy Schools coordinator. “The work of having every student healthy and ready to learn is on-going. These four award-winning schools are shining examples to all our JC Schools. From JC Schools and myself, congratulations on being named one of America’s healthiest schools!  

For nearly 15 years, Healthier Generation’s annual recognition program has honored schools that are implementing best practices that support children’s learning and development, including meeting or exceeding federal standards for nutritious school meals and providing regular opportunities for students and staff to be active throughout the school day. It remains one of the country’s longest-running, nationwide recognition programs honoring schools for achievements in nutrition, physical activity and wellness policies.  

“We commend this cohort of school leaders for prioritizing the essential health needs of students and staff in a time of great challenge and with limited resources at their disposal,” said Kathy Higgins, chief executive officer of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. “Over time, these awardees established strong foundations in health – allowing them to pivot and adapt to meet acute health and wellness needs in a year unlike any other.”    

As members of the Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program, Callaway Hills, East, South, and Thorpe Gordon elementaries work to implement wellness policies and practices that meet federal requirements and support a comprehensive approach to kids’ health. 

Any school can join Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program to access training, resources and technical assistance by visiting To view the complete list of America's Healthiest Schools, visit 

VIDEO: Four JC Schools ranked among the healthiest in America  


About JC Healthy Schools

JC Healthy Schools’ mission is to build a healthier community and empower all JC Schools elementary students to develop lifelong healthy habits. By promoting healthy eating and physical exercise through fun clubs, celebrations, and fundraisers, JC Healthy Schools better prepares students to learn in the classroom. JC Healthy Schools encourages healthy habits among students with programs and events such as National Walk to School Day, The Walking School Bus, Cooking Club, Fitness Club and the Girls on the Run after-school program.

About the Alliance for a Healthier Generation

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation believes every child deserves a healthy future. For over a decade, Healthier Generation has empowered kids to develop lifelong healthy habits by ensuring the environments that surround them provide and promote good health. Driven by our passion that all young people deserve a chance to live healthier lives, our work, in total, has reached more than 29 million kids across the country. To learn more and help make a difference, visit and join us on Facebook and Twitter. 

About Missouri Foundation for Health

Missouri Foundation for Health is a resource for the region, working with communities and nonprofits to generate and accelerate positive changes in health. As a catalyst for change, the Foundation improves the health of Missourians through partnership, experience, knowledge, and funding. To learn more, please visit