To encourage district employees to improve their health, Conway has developed a new wellness program that incorporates a point system and a wide-variety of options for involvement.

"The CPSD Staff Wellness program is a health initiative to encourage and provide employees with a variety of opportunities to improve their health," the school’s website states. "The conditions that affect the health of employees also influence the health and learning of students."

The statement continues to read that by encouraging the improvement of both physical and mental health for the employees, the health of students and their academic success is also protected.

"Healthy employees, you’re going to have healthier kids and a healthier school environment," assistant athletic director Janet Taylor said.

Taylor said the school wellness committee, which is required in schools by law, has been wanting to do something like this for employees for around two years now and finally got it started the middle of October.

"We have a sponsorship with Conway Regional Health System who is making this possible," she said. "We’re really fortunate to have them on board and to allow us to do this. Not a dime of the money is coming from the school district."

Taylor said all employees in the district are encouraged and welcome to participate in the optional program which offers a variety of physical activities to help reduce stress and improve health including fitness classes, competitive contests and other educational opportunities.

She said the way it works is each employee — so far there is more 600 who have signed up — is given a report card time brochure and are required to self-report with a specific point system.

For example, if an employee attended the kick off presentation, they are given 10 points. If they don’t use sick leave during a quarter, they are given 10 points as well. Other items include getting a flu shot, five points, getting a blood pressure check, three points, attending a healthy cooking demonstration for five points, daily physical exercise, one point for each day, and other incentives.

Employees who earn a minimum of 30 points from exercise are eligible for a nine-weeks drawing. The more points they earn, the more times their name is put into the drawing for a cash prize.

Taylor said recently they had a Zumba class at one of the schools .

"It’s going great," she said. "We’ve had a lot of positive response. We’ve had a great start to it."

Superintendent Greg Murry said they are excited about the program and the great community partnership with Conway Regional.

"Our ultimate goal is to have a healthier staff because we know that the healthier we all are, the better we perform [and] the better our staff performs, the better off our students are," he said.

Communication Specialist Heather Kendrick, who is on the wellness committee with Taylor, said all district employees are excited about the new addition.

"We are so thankful to be able to provide this for our people," she said. "It’s a challenge to find time for everything in our busy lives and when your workplace makes healthy living a priority, that helps you to prioritize it as well."