Fort Worth

O.D. Wyatt H.S. to Add ‘Thrive North Texas' Curriculum Next Year

'Thrive North Texas' helps teach students social-emotional coping skills while providing a way to get free, healthy food

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O.D. Wyatt High School in Fort Worth will be the third school in North Texas to adopt Texas Health Resources' "Thrive North Texas" curriculum.

"We're about 94% to 95% economic disadvantage," O.D. Wyatt High School Principal Howard Robinson explained about his student body. "Having the Thrive program partnering with us is just a great opportunity for us."

Thrive North Texas is a web-based learning module that teaches students social-emotional resiliency coping skills while rewarding them with points to use to "purchase" healthy food at an on-campus grocery store that is run by students.

"So, they take a module on a resiliency skill, they earn points, those points are then the currency for the grocery store," Texas Health Resources Senior Director of Community Health Marsha Ingle said. "When you're hungry, you just can't learn because you're focused on the lack of food."

Thrive North Texas is already being used in Sanger and Lewisville. Next school year, O.D. Wyatt will become the third school in North Texas to use the curriculum.

"We are looking specifically for locations where we know food insecurity is high, or access to healthy foods is low, called food deserts," Ingle said. "So we are specifically targeting areas where we know accessing healthy food is a challenge."

"The number of fast food options greatly outnumber the healthy options for our students and families in this neighborhood," Robinson said. "It's also cheaper to eat unhealthy than it is to eat healthy."

An old portable building on the O.D. Wyatt campus will be replaced with a new one to house the grocery store.

"That's one of the first jobs I had. Worked in Kroger," Robinson said. "So I'm excited about that experience."

Students will help manage and operate the grocery store, giving them work skills, too. The Thrive North Texas curriculum and store will be in place for the start of the next school year.

"Any time that our campus can be a light for our community, then that's what we're here for," Robinson said.

Through a fundraising campaign, Thrive North Texas is slated to be in 10 local schools by the year 2025.

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