Middle School Science Teachers Professional Learning Opportunities

July 20, 2023
Professional Learning Opportunities for Middle School Teachers 2023

Health in Our Hands Middle School Life Science Professional Learning Workshop Series! FREE with Funding from the National Institutes of Health!

Health Summits Were Back in 2023!

January 10, 2023
Community and University Partners judging 7th grader community action projects










For the first time since January 2019, Health in Our Hands Health Summits were held in-person.  Seventh and eighth graders from Holmes STEM Academy Middle School (Flint Community Schools) and Atherton Junior High completed the “Health in Our Hands” curriculum in science class.  The middle school curriculum consists of two units which focus on the concept of gene-environment interactions and natural selection through two community health concerns relevant to students, Type 2 diabetes (“What controls my health?") and Substance Use Disorder (“How can looking for thrills make me miserable?”). Health in Our Hands units culminate in a final project. Middle school students conducted an action research project to improve their school or neighborhood to help prevent or reduce disease. Students presented the results and recommendations at a Youth Health Summit to their peers, family and community onTuesday, January 10th and Tuesday, January 24th. Both events were hosted at the Genesee Career Institute (GCI) in Flint, Michigan.

During the  two health summits organized with community partners, 207 students presented to peers and about 50 adults.
Congratulations to our six teachers who enacted the curriculum and their students who participated:

  • Teacher: Ms. Felicia Johnson - Holmes STEM Academy Middle School   
    Class Question: How does social media and tv affect children’s food and exercise choice?
  • Teacher: Ms. Darlene Calvert  - Holmes STEM Academy Middle School 
    Class Question: How does the type of exercise affect our well-being?
  • Teacher: Ms. Lauren Jones - Atherton Jr/Sr High School                         
    Class Question: How does knowledge about nutrition affect school lunch choices?
  • Teacher: Ms. Terri Jones - Holmes STEM Academy Middle School
    Class Question: How does technology affect my well-being?
  • Teacher: Ms. Erin Sage - Holmes STEM Academy Middle School
    Class Question: How does technology affect my well-being?
  • Teacher: Ms. Joanie Rusinek - Atherton Jr/Sr High School
    Class Question: How do cell phones affect your daily life? 

Students from GCI videographed the health summit and also interviewed community partners. Tarnesa  Martin “Nurse T” with Hurley Medical Center shared “the health summit gives the students the opportunity to connect. Community is very important and one of the things about community is engagement. So when the students come here (GCI) they are able to connect with community leads and facilitators so when they do go out in the community they feel comfortable and familiar  with the education to be able to connect.”

Not only did our students present to community partners and their peers, Atherton Jr/Sr High School took their community action research project to the next level. The 8th grade students presented to their Board of Education on February 13th about “How do cell phones affect your daily life.”  The decision to create this research question came from the Atherton Community School cell phone ban November 2022. Students collected survey data from middle school, high school students and staff. The conclusion from their board presentation, “They (cellphones) are a major  factor in students, emotional and physical states. We can conclude that all of students do not feel they are addicted to their cellphones, their reactions (crying, skipping class, transferring schools etc.) indicate their addiction since they cannot be without cellphones. Teacher and staff data support this conclusion.” Read more about their interview with the Genesee County View.

Health in Our Hands Health Summits 2023

December 20, 2022
Health in Our Hands Health Summits 2023

Youth Diabetes: Tuesday, January 10th 

Substance Use Disorder: Tuesday, January 24th 

10am - 1:30pm

Genesee Career Institute

Conference Center

G-5081 Torrey Road 

Flint, MI 48507

Celebrating Recovery with Serenity House Communities

September 24, 2022
Walk and Rally Group Picture

On Saturday, September 24, 2022 Serenity House Committees hosted their 8th Annual Recovery Walk and Rally 2022. Maria Salinas, HiOH Project Coordinator, participated and helped out, distributing lunch to the attendees and encouraging participants to create posters to take along on the walk. Maria commented, “ What a  great experience to meet new people and listen to the recovery and remembrance stories of the attendees.

HiOH was pleased to support a wonderful community event like the 8th Annual Walk and Rally that brought many people together from all walks of life to share in the “Healing Happens” motto. Tara-Moreno Wallen, Founding Director of Serenity House Communities is an active community partner who attends the monthly HiOH Flint Genesee Partnership (FGP) Committee. The FGP connects the science classroom to community health through student centered learning and action research. Tara is very passionate about sharing her story and is also a great advocate for supporting the HiOH  middle school curriculum “ Substance Use Disorder: How can looking for thrills make me miserable?.”

Tara and her organization have played an  important part of supporting the HiOH middle school curriculum through in-class interviews with students. In 2021, Tara Moren-Wallen was a Genesee County Prevention Coalition (GCPC) Champion nominated by HiOH. The GCPC Prevention Champion “is someone who inspires others to take preventive actions to change the lives of youth and the community around them”. 

Atherton Community Schools earns a grant to further HiOH Curriculum

August 31, 2022
3P Grant

This summer Atherton Community Schools was one of 16 schools which received a grant from the State of Michigan to expand STEM programs. The $10,000 grant  will engage 195 middle and high school science students in project-based, place-based  learning through its “Health in Our Hands” curriculum. Through this curriculum, students are introduced to a variety of STEM careers. Funding will support health summits events where students will present their research to family and community members, and provide professional learning for science teachers

HiOH connects the science classroom to the community to give youth and adults an understanding of modern concepts in genetics. Designed to meet the Michigan Science Standards, HiOH curriculum uses Community-Inspired Project Based Learning, Students Investigate critical community health concerns and use these real-world contexts to appreciate the importance of both genetic and environmental factors in their risk for disease.

Atherton Wolverines 7 - 8 graders will learn about  Diabetes and Substance Use Disorder (SUD) this Fall. Seventh graders meet Monique by video, a girl diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. They investigate how lifestyle options for healthy foods and exercise help prevent or reduce diabetes and answer the question “What controls my health.”

Eighth graders are guided through a journey to figure out how thrill seeking evolved as a survival mechanism.  But because of environmental changes and modern lifestyle, thrill seeking can sometimes lead to addiction, misery and even death. 

Through this grant, Atherton Community Schools and Health in Our Hands join a state-wide collaborative to develop a “Playbook”, a framework of strategies based on both research and practice, for building STEM project-based and place-based learning in K-12 schools and districts to ensure high-quality STEM experiences for students.

The grants are a collaborative effort of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity's (LEO) MiSTEM Network to expand freshwater literacy and place-based STEM education and to support innovative STEM 3-P (problem, place and project-based) learning.