Thirteen McKinney ISD schools received a USDA Bronze Award recently for their participation in the HealthierUS School Challenge. Ellen Carlisle, Regional Director for Special Nutrition Programs with USDA Food and Nutrition Services, presented the awards at the McKinney ISD School Board meeting on March 27. The principal of each campus received a plaque, a “HealthierUS Bronze Award” banner and $500 to go toward the School Nutrition Department’s efforts to promote a healthier school environment.
The following McKinney ISD campuses received the HealthierUS School Challenge Bronze Award:
Glen Oaks Elementary
Valley Creek Elementary
The HealthierUS School Challenge is a voluntary national program developed by USDA to provide an incentive for school districts to create healthier schools. Under this program, campuses agree to adopt strict USDA nutrition standards and to follow specific guidelines regarding competitive foods, nutrition instruction and increased physical activity among their students. Foods served under the National School Lunch Program must meet strict guidelines that include offering a greater variety of fresh fruits, more dark green and orange vegetables, whole grains and dried beans and peas on a weekly basis. Under the program, students receive nutrition instruction and are encouraged to make better food choices while developing healthier eating habits. The importance of physical activity is emphasized, and students are given more opportunities each week to participate in it. The result is a school climate that fosters healthier children.
ARAMARK Education/McKinney School Nutrition worked closely with Julie Blankenship, MISD Director of Health Services, and MISD Health and PE Facilitator Karin Klemm during the application process to ensure all criteria were met.
“McKinney ISD coordinated health teams have added 13 additional awards to our already award- winning School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) and campus coordinated health teams,” said Blankenship. “The USDA has only awarded 3,000 schools nationwide with a HealthierUS School Challenge Award and 14 of those are in McKinney ISD! Our food services department, ARAMARK, has been promoting menus that meet the Gold Award criteria for the HealthierUS School Challenge for the last 2-3 years. There is a monetary award associated with these honors that the McKinney ISD SHAC plans to use to further food nutrition education. While the awards are nutrition based, it has taken the collaboration of the entire campus coordinated health teams to make these awards possible,” she said.