For Immediate Release: December 12, 2012
Contact: Lynne Richmond
(BORDENTOWN) – United States Department of Agriculture and Christie Administration officials presented Clara Barton and Peter Muschal Elementary Schools and MacFarland Intermediate School in Bordentown with Healthier US School Challenge Awards during a ceremony Wednesday, December 12 at the Bordentown Regional Schools Board of Education meeting. The program recognizes schools that promote good nutrition and physical activity.
The schools are among only 50 schools in New Jersey that have met the Healthier US School Challenge, a voluntary program open to schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program. Each school was presented with a banner and a certificate and will receive a prize of $500.
“These three schools involved students, parents and staff in making positive changes in school meal menus and physical activity opportunities that led to this recognition,” said Rose Tricario, New Jersey Department of Agriculture Division of Food and Nutrition Director. “These changes will better equip its students to do their best and help them grow to be strong, healthy adults. We encourage the schools to continue to build upon their success and reach higher levels of the award.”
The Healthier US School Challenge (HUSSC) is sponsored by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and encourages all schools to take a leadership role in helping students to make healthier eating and physical activity choices that will last a lifetime.
Ed Kenna and Dana Lehrer from Sodexo, Assemblyman Troy Singleton, school principals Daniel Riether, Louisa Kenny and Ed Chmiel, James Harmon, School Superintendent Constance Bauer, Rose Tricario, Bordentown Township Mayor Karl Feltes and Margaret Scroger of Sodexo.
“Achieving the Healthier US School Challenge recognition demonstrates the Bordentown Regional School District’s deep commitment to create and maintain a healthy school environment,” said James Harmon, Director of Special Nutrition Programs, USDA Food and Nutrition Service. “Clara Barton, Peter Muschal and MacFarland Schools can serve as models for others seeking to make improvements.”
To achieve the bronze level of the award, the district reworked the school meal menu to meet all the requirements, which included staff training, as well as educating the students on the changes and why they occurred. Changes were discussed in Student Action Committee meeting, educational information on the serving lines and on menus that went home to the parents.
“We appreciate the recognition of our District’s efforts and commitment to good nutrition and health for our students and community, as encompassed in our educational curriculum programs, including physical education, and in our philosophical approaches,” said Eloi Richardson, School District Business Administrator.
In addition, Jersey Fresh produce is used in the school meal program at the schools whenever possible and Clara Barton School has a garden where they grow a variety of seasonal vegetables and herbs each year.
Ultimately, FNS would like to see all schools receive a HUSSC award at any one of the four levels of superior performance: Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Gold Award of Distinction. Schools awarded receive a monetary incentive (Bronze $500, Silver $1,000, Gold $1,500, and Gold Award of Distinction $2,000), an award plaque signed by a USDA official, a banner to display in their school, and their name listed on the Team Nutrition Web site.
To qualify for an award, a school must submit a formal application and meet basic criteria set forth by the FNS for food that should be served in schools. HealthierUS Schools must also have a local school wellness policy, as mandated by Congress. Schools receiving a HUSSC award commit to meeting the criteria throughout their four year certification period.
Schools that champion the HUSSC work hard to make changes to their school nutrition environment in order to (1) improve the quality of the foods served, (2) provide students with nutrition education, and (3) provide students with physical education and opportunities for physical activity.
For more information on the HealthierUS School Challenge, visit www.fns.usda.gov/tn/healthierus/index.html.