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Week of l2/13/10: Healthy schools highlights

Denver Public Schools pays for garden-grown produce

Several schools across the district will be receiving checks from Denver Public Schools Food and Nutrition Services for produce grown from school gardens this past harvest season. In all, Food and Nutrition Services used more than 1,200 pounds of school garden-grown fruits and vegetables over an eight-week harvest period, totaling more than $1,500 to be paid to participating schools. During this time, schools harvested pumpkins, squash, lettuce, strawberries, carrots, beets, tomatoes and other vegetables to be use in school salad bars and in scratch cooking. Food service employees used garden-grown pumpkins to make Pumpkin Cranberry Bread and a harvest dessert for schools’ Thanksgiving meals.

More than 24 DPS schools have their own school gardens, which are maintained by students and staff. Schools receiving money for their produce are Steele, Lowry, Fairview, Bromwell, Brown, Cory, Eagleton, Johnson, Munroe, Ellis, Slavens, Fairmont, Lincoln and Centennial. Read more.

Aurora West’s McCarthy named P.E. Teacher of the Year

Central District Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year by the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. She will be honored at the 2011 Central District AAHPERD Convention in Rapid City, South Dakota.

McCarthy’s physical education program promotes individual fitness and lifetime activities in her students. As a three-year teacher leader and mentor, McCarthy also provides professional development for P.E. teachers in APS. McCarthy will now go on to compete for the award at the national level.

School Food Project fundraising challenge

The School Food Project, a public-private partnership dedicated to healthier school meals throughout Boulder Valley School District, recently announced a community-wide fundraising challenge to improve school food in every BVSD school and combat a budget deficit. The campaign’s goal is to raise $250,000 by May 15, 2011. A $100,000 fundraising match is already committed by the local nonprofit, Luff Family Foundation. The fundraising efforts, entitled “Healthy Bodies = Healthy Minds” campaign, will be housed online at a special crowd-sourcing website.

MLK Early College students win cook off

Martin Luther King Jr. Early College recently won the 2010 EatWell@School Cooking Competition. This team’s menu was served at a fundraising luncheon on Dec. 8. Led by volunteer chef mentors – senior-level culinary students from Johnson & Wales University – each group of students was schooled in a variety of culinary topics, including the intricacies of taste, food safety and knife skills, while also learning about developing a nutritious meal plan, managing a cooking budget and healthy food sourcing. Get more information and watch a video at LiveWell Colorado.

Grant to pay for four extra neighborhood fitness centers at DPS high schools

Denver Public Schools recently announced it has secured nearly half a million dollars to support four additional state-of-the-art fitness centers in DPS high schools. The district currently has four fitness centers at four different high schools across the city, and thanks to a $495,455 grant from The Colorado Health Foundation, there will be eight fitness centers total to provide staff and community members with a low cost, convenient way to exercise once they finish their work day.

The district’s Sound Body Sound Mind fitness centers directly support the newly approved health goals in the DPS Health Agenda 2015. Bruce Randolph 6-12 School, Denver Center for International Studies, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln high schools each opened a Sound Body Sound Mind fitness center last school year to be utilized by the public during after school hours.

Gov. Ritter honors schools for serving thousands more meals

Gov. Bill Ritter celebrated the first anniversary of his historic Campaign to End Childhood Hunger by awarding cash prizes to schools that showed the highest increase in participation in the school breakfast program and releasing a five-year action plan.

Accomplishments of the Campaign to End Childhood Hunger include:

  • Serving nearly 1 million free meals this summer to children at community sites across Colorado. This represents a 26 percent increase compared to last year and the largest number of summer meals ever served in Colorado.
  • Serving more than 130,000 additional free and reduced-price breakfasts this October compared to a year ago during the School Breakfast Challenge.

More information about the Colorado Campaign to End Childhood Hunger can be found here.

More states let students opt out of P.E. classes

Read this USA Today story about the growing number of schools allowing kids to skip out of gym class – despite the obesity epidemic among children.

What you get when you cook from scratch

9News covers the movement to cook from scratch in Denver school kitchens.

When you start making food from scratch, the most important ingredient might not be able to fit in a bowl. Gloria Archeleta says it cannot be unwrapped, but it is changing school lunches like never before.

“The scratch cooking is pretty much just like cooking at home,” the assistant cook for the Denver Center for International Studies said.

Denver Public Schools is trying to get more of its cafeterias to make all of their meals with all fresh ingredients.

About our First Person series:

First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.

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