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School Health

UArizona Cochise County Cooperative Extension extends access to gardening, health, nutrition and learning during covid19 through Building Healthy Communities Initiative partnerships:

UArizona Coop Ext seed toolkit project.J
Building Healthy Communities  Seed pkg.j

Through a collaboration between UArizona, the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, the Cochise County Health Department, the Cochise County School Superintendents Office, SNAP Ed, EFNEP, and 4H – Three hundred Seed-Garden-Resource Toolkits were assembled and delivered to Palominas Elementary Unified School District for students participating in the Summer Lunch Food Program. The Building Healthy Communities initiative, which is funded by the Legacy Foundation of Southeast Arizona has been working to find ways to keep students, families, schools, and communities connected to educational resources and hands-on activities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. By partnering with Palominas Elementary USD summer school lunch program, this initiative was able to connect with 300 students by having the toolkits delivered along with the school lunches to students from Palominas Elementary School, Valley View Pre School and Coronado Elementary School.

Materials in the resource kit included information on seed planting, gardening, nutrition, online culinary programs, Cochise County 4H initiatives, information for families on the Cochise County WIC (Women Infants and Children) program and the United States Census.

To find out more about developing a school health policy or implementing a school health advisory council, school garden resources or school food pantry resources please contact:

Rhegan Derfus – UArizona – SNAP Ed

Cheyenne MacMasters – UArizona – Building Healthy Communities

Joseph Sepp Sprietsma – UArizona – Building Healthy Communities

Palominas ESD wins the School Health and Wellness Award

Cochise County School Health and Wellness Award
Palominas Elementary School District
May 20, 2020

In the 2018-2019 school year, the Cochise County School Superintendents Office in conjunction with UArizona Cochise County Cooperative Extension (Building Healthy Communities and SNAP-Ed) and the Cochise County Health Department launched the annual school health and wellness award. The School Health and Wellness Award seeks to recognize and celebrate achievements that have made your schools healthier places to learn, work, and thrive. 
This year’s award goes to Palominas Elementary School District for their effort and focus on developing, expanding, and fortifying not only their district health and wellness policy but also the policies at Palominas, Coronado, and Valley View Schools.  Palominas has gone steps beyond in improving school health and wellness through their school lunch program, student and faculty health initiatives on each campus, and outreach to the communities.
Because school health policies are as unique as every school community - we have developed a base rubric that easily identifies important components of school health policies. Along with the rubric, we have also included ‘unique initiative ideas’ that we have seen occurring in schools around Cochise County. 
A deep thank you to Superintendent Rosalik, Mrs. Herrera, Mrs. Allen, Mrs. Roark, Mr. Nieuwenhuis, Mrs. Woodman, students, parents, and community members for their energy, focus, effort to strengthen the health and wellness in Cochise County!
To learn more about developing a school health advisory committee in Cochise County – please contact Rhegan Derfus,; Daniella Reidmiller, or Joseph Sprietsma,
Jacqueline “Jacqui” R. Clay
Cochise County Superintendent of Schools


Connecting the dots in Benson


This is how the monies you donate are spent (see photos above) and how it makes a difference. Recently the Benson Students and Community packed 50 backpacks for BUSD kids, they restocked BUSD primary, middle and high school and for the first time, they were also able to fill the Pomerene and San Pedro Valley school pantries as well. The Benson USD Students and Community Thanks you all for your food and monetary donations.

Our New School Health Champion

Our School Health Champions


Marissa Herrera consistently goes above and beyond in working with students, faculty and staff at the school and district level to advocate for the physical, nutritional and social-emotional health needs. We thank you for your dedication, time and heart in promoting, expanding and fortifying school health on your campus and in your district. Your support of classroom walking programs, staff health newsletters, and the potential project of a mobile community food pantry are initiatives that ‘integrate education and health – which improves each child’s cognitive, physical, social and emotional health’ (CDC Healthy Schools, 2019).

Thank you for all you do.

Jacqui Clay



Elisa Vasquez teaches Preschool at Sarah Marley Elementary School in Douglas, AZ.  Ms. Vasquez is an energetic teacher that has created a wonderful classroom environment.  We are nominating her for school health champion for all the things she does to support her students.  To prepare for this school year Ms. Vasquez looked for ways to support parents in bringing healthy snacks for the students.  This resulted in a snack policy that was crafted keeping in mind the needs of her incoming students.  This policy also encourages students to drink water for thirst and not sugary beverages.  Ms. Vasquez encourages her students to explore new foods with stories and hands on lessons.  The students are eager to try gardening with experiences that allow then to get investigate the natural world.  We have been proud to partner with Ms. Vasquez in having a classroom that supports healthy children!

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