Three DMPS Schools Earn HealthierUS School Challenge Award

A teacher walks outside with students.Edmunds and King elementary schools, and Smouse Opportunity School are making news and realizing success through their work to support and improve the health of our children and our community. As part of their effort, healthy items are featured on their menus, and physical education and activity are emphasized.

The initiative is part of the HealthierUS School Challenge, a voluntary national certification for schools participating in the National School Lunch Program. Sponsored by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), it encourages all schools take a leadership role in helping students to make healthier eating and physical activity choices that will last a lifetime. Schools that champion the HUSSC work hard to make changes to their school nutrition environment in order to (1) make better food choices, (2) provide students with nutrition education, and (3) provide students with physical education and opportunities for physical activity.

The three DMPS schools will be honored for their success with Healthier US School Challenge awards. Edmunds and Smouse earned bronze awards, and King will receive a silver award. The recognitions include a cash award, $1,000 for silver and $500 for bronze, along with a certificate and banner to display at the school.

The Department of Education, along with DMPS Central Nutrition Services and Power Panther will present the first award at an Edmunds Elementary School rally Friday, April 21, at 7:45 a.m.

To qualify for an award, a school must submit a formal application and meet basic criteria set forth by the FNS. The HUSSC criteria reflect the recommendations of the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published recommendations (April 2007) for foods that should be served in schools, outside of the organized school lunch meals.

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.