Submitted by Shane Mauldin, McKinney ISD
McKinney ISD and ARAMARK Education, the District’s food service provider, are pleased to announce that six McKinney ISD elementary schools have recently been awarded Gold level designation by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC). The HUSSC initiative is a major component of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign to reduce childhood obesity and transform the nation’s schools into models for healthier living.
The following McKinney ISD elementary schools have earned HUSSC Gold Designation:
Albert A. & Iola Lee Davis Malvern Elementary School
Burks Elementary School
Caldwell Elementary School
Finch Elementary School
Press Elementary School
Webb Elementary School
With the recognition of these six schools, each of McKinney ISD’s 20 elementary campuses has now earned a HUSSC designation. Seven have received Gold, and 13 have earned Bronze awards.
Created in 2004, HUSSC recognizes those schools participating in the National School Lunch Program that have created healthier school environments through promotion of nutrition and physical activity. Participating schools can earn any one of four levels of superior achievement: Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Gold Award of Distinction. With their HUSSC designation, schools receive a monetary incentive (Bronze: $500, Silver: $1000, Gold: $1500 and Gold Award of Distinction: $2000), an award plaque signed by a USDA official, a banner to display in their school and recognition on the Team Nutrition Web site.
For these six newly-recognized McKinney ISD campuses, Gold designation status is the gratifying result of focused collaboration between the District and ARAMARK Education and increased efforts to promote regular physical activity among their students.
“The McKinney ISD School Health Advisory Council and ARAMARK have worked closely together for several years to improve the health, wellness and school nutrition of our students,” said Julie Blankenship, McKinney ISD Coordinator of Health Services. “This award through the USDA is great validation of these efforts.”
To be recognized as a Gold level award winner, schools must meet rigorous criteria, including:
—Enrolling as a Team Nutrition School, which provides a framework for team efforts by school nutrition staff, teachers, parents, the media and other community members to focus on nutritious school meals
—Reimbursable lunches that meet the USDA nutrition standards
Average Daily Participation for lunch that meets or exceeds a minimum of 70 percent
—School lunch menus that allow students to select a different vegetable and fruit everyday, 100 percent fruit juice, a whole-grain food serving, only low-fat (1 percent or less) and fat-free (skim) milk.
—Nutrition education programs
—Physical education/activity classes and messages
The Gold Standard menus further elevate the District’s and ARAMARK’s focus on nutrition and wellness, which includes promoting and expanding the availability of breakfast; offering healthy, nutrient-dense snacks; eliminating added trans fats; reducing the use of processed foods, added fats, sugar and salt; sourcing high quality, local produce and products; and advancing employee knowledge of nutrition and health principles.
“We are committed to serving nutritious meals, and this commitment is at the heart of how we deliver on our promise of helping students flourish,” said James Shoemake, Food Service Director. “We encourage students to embrace good eating and healthy lifestyle habits at an early age, and we understand that a school’s food and nutrition program play a big role in this effort. We are excited about the new menus and our partnership with the school district.”
For morning information about the USDA HealthierUS School Challenge please visit www.fns.usda.gov/.