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This week’s healthy schools highlights

Colorado schools recognized in nutrition challenge

First Lady Michelle Obama recently celebrated more than 1,200 schools—including 35 in Colorado—that made changes to boost nutrition and physical activity under the HealthierUS School Challenge. (Listen to her plea to parents to get involved in school wellness in the video above, which talks about her Let’s Move! initiative).


The voluntary program encourages schools to improve the amount of healthy foods available in cafeterias and increase kids’ physical activity. Last year First Lady Obama made an ambitious goal to double the number of schools participating in the program—one she said the country has now exceeded.

Schools participating in the challenge received gold, silver or bronze distinctions. Boulder Valley School District, which started revamping its school lunches in 2009, received three-fourths of Colorado’s 35 awards.

“It’s validating for the school district that supported the change that we really can do healthy food—and that not only do we know it’s important, other people know it as well,” said Ann Cooper, director of food services for the district.

All of the schools recognized will receive a small cash award. Cooper says Boulder Valley School District will invest its money back into the school lunch program. Learn more at KUNC.

Springs school reaps rewards of dome gardens

Galileo School of Math and Science had their first harvesting of the butter crunch lettuce that has been growing in

the geodome greenhouse. Staff, students, and the Pikes Peak Urban Garden growers were present for the first harvest, which weighed in at 51 pounds. Some of the lettuce was washed and prepared for the day’s lunchroom salad bar, and used as garnish for sub sandwiches. When it was announced at Galileo that the first harvest was going to be served at lunch, students and staff were very excited. Some parents even showed up to eat lunch

Come see what is going on at the greenhouse on Saturday, Oct. 22, from noon-2 p.m. Galileo will host a community-wide Greenhouse Garden Harvest Party, with a press conference and photo opportunity of lettuce being harvested from noon-12: 30 p.m. Then, at 12:45 p.m., master gardener Larry Stebbins from the Pikes Peak Urban Gardens will present, “Intro to Veggie Gardening.” At 1 p.m., there will be an introduction to permaculture discussion, and at 1:15, District 11 Executive Chef Brian Axworthy will do a healthy cooking demonstration.

Senate mashes school lunch potato rule


WASHINGTON — You can put the United States Senate on record as being pro-potato.

The Senate this afternoon unanimously approved an amendment to block efforts by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to limit the number of starchy vegetables schoolchildren can be offered each week in the federally funded school lunch program. Read more in USA Today.

Fitting in exercise, between math and English

Five years ago, Richard Reiss, the physical education teacher at Public School 197 in Far Rockaway, Queens, went to the principal with a problem: not even the most athletic among his students, most of whom are poor and black or Latino, had enough endurance to run a mile. Read more in the New York Times.

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.