“Got Water?” initiative reaches more than 11,000 students
Six more Madison schools to receive hydration stations in 2019
Just about every day after recess, Muir Elementary 4th grader Aaron Beard stops for a drink at his school’s water bottle refilling station.
“I stop by there to drink because I think it’s the freshest,” he says. And he’s pretty sure his classmates are drinking more water since the station made its debut a few months ago. “Everybody’s been using it. They think it’s cool because we’ve never had one in our school.”
The new station is part of the “Got Water?” initiative from Madison Water Utility, the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) and the Healthy Kids Collaborative based at American Family Children's Hospital. For the past five years, the organizations have been working to give kids easy access to clean, fresh water by installing hydration stations in schools across Madison.
“We know that healthy students make better learners, and water consumption is essential to overall nutrition and health,” says Healthy Kids Collaborative program manager Julia Stanley.
Before the “Got Water?” program began in 2015, no Madison elementary or middle school had a water bottle refilling station. After this year, a total of 21 elementaries and four middle schools will be using hydration stations because of the program.
Program organizers have announced the 2019 schools. This spring, stations will go to: Thoreau, Cesar Chavez, Lincoln, Marquette, Olson, and Sennett Middle.
“Our ‘Got Water?’ partnership has been amazing,” says Steve Youngbauer, MMSD Director of Food and Nutrition. “The access to healthy water, educational opportunities and school celebrations have been so impactful for thousands of our students.”
The initiative also provides new water bottles for every child and staff member at each school and a school-wide celebration where kids can learn about the importance of clean water and conservation.
Muir Elementary school nurse Nancy Godfrey agrees with Aaron about her school, noting that having a water bottle filling station in the school has increased water consumption by both students and staff.
“This, in turn, has positive effects on our personal health and that of our planet by using our refillable water bottles,” she says.” The whole experience has been positive.”
“The hydration station has been a great addition to the school. It is well used and the kids love it, as do staff. My class uses it every day to refill bottles.” says Crestwood Elementary 3rd grade teacher Katrina Ladopoulos. Crestwood received a hydration station in 2018.
But mostly, the initiative has offered an easy, fun way for kids to stay hydrated.
“Kids have been enjoying cool, refreshing water daily since we received our water bottle refilling station,” says Kathy Hellenbrand, physical education teacher at Kennedy Elementary.
By the end of this school year, more than 11,700 students and staff will be filling up water bottles at 25 “Got Water?” school hydration stations across Madison.
All “Got Water?” hydration station schools:
2015: Huegel, Leopold, Elvehjem
2016: Allis, Lindbergh, Lake View
2017: Orchard Ridge, Falk, Schenk, Gompers, Glendale, Wright Middle, Sherman Middle
2018: Kennedy, Muir, Crestwood, Lapham, Lowell, Cherokee Heights Middle.
2019: Thoreau, Cesar Chavez, Lincoln, Marquette, Olson, Sennett Middle