McAllen ISD wellness initiatives to be shared worldwide

The McAllen ISD health framework is going global. Students in places all over the world, like Indonesia, Turkey, China and Spain, will eventually model practices and programs they learned about from McAllen ISD.

McAllen ISD’s wellness initiatives, some performed in a partnership with the City of McAllen, will be shared internationally starting this summer.

 “Everyone around the world has been impressed with McAllen ISD and the community support surrounding the importance Physical Education plays in social and emotional well-being,” Tom Root of HOPSports wrote in an email to the district. “The McAllen program along with McAllen Mayor Jim Darling and McAllen ISD school board will be highlighted at these upcoming events as global examples of best practice.”

 The locations and schedule includes:

  • Jakarta, Indonesia                   June 10-13, 2021
  • Istanbul, Turkey                        February 2022 (Euro-Asia Health & Wellness Forum)
  • Soochow, China                       May 30-June 1, 2022
  • Kaifeng, China                            June 6-9, 2022 (10th Asian Pacific Council on Exercise                                                                & Sport Science)
  • Barcelona, Spain                      Dec. 15-18, 2022 (7th International Conference for                                                                  Physical Education & Sport Science)

Root has built peer reviewed programs for schools and community organizations around the world over the last 30 years. McAllen ISD is covered in the video Root edited together.

 “I’d like to introduce Mario Reyna … located in McAllen, Texas, as another example of best practice here in the United States,” Root says to introduce the segment on McAllen ISD. It begins at 13:45 on the timeline.

 “I firmly believe that it all started when we first made a commitment to the Let’s Move program that was created at the national level several years ago,” Reyna, McAllen ISD’s Health & PE Coordinator, said. “From the Let’s Move initiative, we developed a strong relationship between our city and our school district.” 

All of McAllen ISD’s eligible schools have been named among America’s Healthiest Schools each year since 2014 by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. McAllen ISD’s initiatives have included health, exercise and nutritional components. 

This spring, the district tallied the most points of any school district in Texas in the It’s Time Texas Community Challenge. Officially finishing first in the School District (Medium) category, McAllen ISD had more points than the winners in the other school district divisions. McAllen ISD earned more than 4.2 million points and had more than 3,000 participants. 

In addition, the City of McAllen took first in its category (Large Community) for the fourth straight year and topped the entire state in all community categories for the third consecutive year. 

The It’s Time Texas Community Challenge is a statewide effort to improve health and wellness by pitting communities and school districts against each other in a friendly competition. Points are earned through exercise and healthy eating. The ultimate goal is to instill healthy living habits in state citizens. 

Since 2014, the school district and the City of McAllen have combined efforts to put on the annual McAllen Kids Marathon. It begins with a kickoff event where students in kindergarten through 8th grade run their first mile at DQ Fan Field at McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium. They then run 24 miles during the fall and run their final mile (to complete a 26.2-mile marathon) in January at a City of McAllen event.