Twelve schools win awards in USDA HealthierUS School Challenge

The USDA and Colorado Department of Education Office of School Nutrition recently awarded 12 St. Vrain Valley schools with HealthierUS School Challenge: Smarter Lunchrooms (HUSSC: SL) Bronze Awards.

The HUSSC: SL is a certification initiative that recognizes schools for their efforts in improving food and beverage offerings, teaching kids about nutritious food choices, providing opportunities for physical activity, and having supportive school wellness policies.

“It’s so nice to see a positive outcome that impacts the academic process through healthy eating and active lifestyles,” said Shelly Allen, Director of Nutrition & Warehouse Services, St. Vrain Valley Schools.

The following schools have improved student health and wellness by meeting rigorous HUSSC: SL criteria and strict guidelines:

Burlington Elementary, Centennial Elementary, Central Elementary, Columbine Elementary, Eagle Crest Elementary, Erie Elementary, Indian Peaks Elementary, Longmont Estates Elementary, Mountain View Elementary, Northridge Elementary, Rocky Mountain Elementary, and Sanborn Elementary.

Providing Fuel for Student Achievement

To qualify for the awards, schools must have a breakfast and lunch program and 45 minutes of physical activity per day.

 St. Vrain Schools also provide “Breakfast in the Classroom,” with healthy offerings that include fruit, hot and cold cereal, yogurt, muffins, oatmeal, juice and milk. Lunch consists of healthy choices like a fresh salad bar, chicken sandwiches, fresh fruit and hot entrées.

Parents Applaud Healthy Choices

And no wonder. With 850,000 pounds of Colorado grown and local in-season produce, schools play a vital role in promoting student wellness and reducing childhood obesity. What’s more, students who have healthy eating habits and get regular physical activity are more likely to perform better academically.

“Parents know we’re putting good food and lots of healthy choices in front of their children," said Sarah Harter, School Wellness Coordinator. "We’re promoting student wellness and achievement every day.”

Students and many parents are also participating in the 100 Mile Club by way of a physical education grant.

An awards ceremony will take place at the end of March. Each school will receive $500, a HealthierUS banner and Bronze Award plaque as a symbol of their achievement. Additionally, all 12 Bronze Award winners will be added to the HUSSC awardees list on the Team Nutrition HUSSC and Office of School Nutrition HUSSC websites.