SHIP Success Story

SHIP story

Partnership helps Rochester school score big healthy eating and active living victories

In football terms, it's first down and goal for Longfellow Choice Elementary School in Rochester.

The school has its health objectives within reach thanks to a partnership with the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) and Fuel Up to Play 60 (FUTP60). FUTP60 is a joint venture between the National Football League, the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Dairy Council. The effort encourages youth to eat healthier foods and achieve at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.

That effort aligns well with SHIP. FUTP60 provided funding to support Longfellow’s farm to school programming such as touring a local dairy farm. SHIP funding was used to buy a fleet of bikes and support a school-based agriculture project, allowing students to grow fruits and vegetables that they could taste test and add to their school’s breakfast and lunch menus.

The link between SHIP and FUTP60 initiatives at Longfellow has been an amazing success. - Jo Anne Judge-Dietz, Olmsted County SHIP

"This is a fantastic way for students to learn about healthy food in a hands-on environment," said Jo Anne Judge-Dietz, Olmsted County SHIP school coordinator. "Studies show that children who participate in growing their own food are more likely to try it.

"Every child contributes to the Longfellow garden," she said, "and that lends to a sense of belonging and school pride."

Playbook outlines strategies for students

Just as NFL teams use a playbook to choose the play they run in a game, schools are given a playbook that outlines strategies students can use. They pick their "plays" and get support from FUTP60 to ensure those strategies, focused on healthy eating and physical activity, successful in their schools.

"The link between SHIP and FUTP60 initiatives at Longfellow has been an amazing success," said Judge-Dietz.

"The school's staff has gone above and beyond to bring new health and nutrition opportunities to students. They worked with SHIP staff to develop plans and activities that they knew would work."

Students lead their FUTP60 programs and become their school’s program ambassadors. They encourage classmates to participate, stay healthy and be active. Participating students can use FUTP60 funds to start clubs (including hip-hop dance, winter snowshoeing and running/walking) at their schools.

"Fuel Up to Play 60, with its National Dairy Council and NFL partnership, makes being healthy cool in the schools," said Alexandra Larson, Health and Wellness Program Manager for the Midwest Dairy Council.

For more information about how schools can get involved, visit

Updated Tuesday, January 17, 2017 at 11:10AM