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W.E. Parker Elementary School Celebrates 2023 Designation as One of America’s ‘Healthiest Schools’ by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation

Edgefield, SC – When physical education teacher Jessica Byers welcomes “Parker Pride” students to her gymnasium classroom, says hello to a colleague or speaks with a parent around campus at W.E. Parker Elementary School, she does so with a tremendous amount of school pride following a national announcement recognizing W.E. Parker as one of “America’s Healthiest Schools”.

W.E. Parker Elementary is one of 781 schools nationwide this school year to have been named one of “America's Healthiest Schools” by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. The school is one of 83 awardees in South Carolina, and one of just 17 in the Palmetto State to have been awarded in more than one of nine focus areas.

Healthier Generation’s prestigious annual recognition program honors schools for implementing best practices to support the physical, mental, and emotional health needs of the learning community. The nine focus areas include Strengthening Emotional Health & Learning, Cultivating Staff Well-Being, Increasing Family & Community Engagement, Improving Nutrition & Food Access, Implementing Local School Wellness Policy, Bolstering Physical Education & Activity, Enriching Health Education, Promoting Tobacco-Free Schools and Supporting School Health Services.

W.E. Parker was recognized as a 2023 awardee in the following three areas:

- Increasing Family & Community Engagement

- Cultivating Staff Well-Being

- Bolstering Physical Education & Activity

“We invite the nation to join us in thanking America’s Healthiest Schools for their commitment to prioritizing the health of their students, staff, communities and families,” stated Kathy Higgins, chief executive officer at Healthier Generation, in a media release. “In these challenging times, these awardees are a testament to the critical role schools play in establishing whole health as foundational and essential to learning environments – so that all children may thrive.”

Byers, who says the school will strive to achieve “Healthiest Schools” designation in more of the nine focus areas in the future, led the application process for the school and says she could not be prouder of what the “Parker Pride” family has achieved together to be honored as a nationally recognized healthy school. She also says true school health goes far beyond the typical focus on healthy meals, counting calories and individual fitness.

“I looked at it and knew we were already doing some great things here so that’s where it started for us,” commented Byers. “For us to be able to say we are one of America’s healthiest schools just means we are looking at the whole child and not just concerned with their physical health, but other aspects of their health. That goes for our families and our faculty and staff as well. It speaks to the well-rounded, healthy community we have here at W.E. Parker Elementary. We just have a lot of things in place to ensure we meet the needs of students and engage with families and staff.”

“We were one of a few schools to have been named as an awardee in three different areas, so that’s a huge achievement,” she added. “It’s a pretty cool accomplishment. We want to show our students that their school community really cares about their health. It’s a huge step for us.”

You may access more information online at

ECSD Public Information Office