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This week’s healthy schools highlights

DPS Nutrition Wellness Fairs planned

Nutrition Wellness Fairs will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, April 28, at Mcglone Elementary School, 4500 Crown Blvd., and from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, May 5, at Bradley Elementary School, 3051 S. Elm St., Denver.

There will be taste-testing, activities for kids, cooking lessons, garden tours, seed giveaways, and so much more. The nutrition wellness fairs promote nutrition education and resources that are available to students and community members. Come and speak with DPS Food and Nutrition experts and meet representatives from Cooking Matters, General Mills, Slow Foods Denver, Western Dairy Council, Johnson and Wales, and many others who will be in attendance. Come and learn about:

  • Healthy Kids – The link between academics and breakfast, Super Foods, and more.
  • Healthy Meals – Healthy recipes, scratch cooking, and fruit and vegetable bars.
  • Healthy Community – Chef demonstrations, label reading, and how to get involved.
  • Healthy Planet – Community gardens, composting, and the Garden to School initiative.

Contact Jeremy Vann for more information at jeremy_vann@dpsk12.org.

A lesson on med pot for school officials

A bunch of local school administrators were sitting around last week passing the marijuana-laced brownies. Read more in the Colorado Spring Gazette.

Judges in First Lady’s healthy recipe contest visit Greeley school

On Tuesday, April 26, a national judging team visited Harold S. Winograd K-8 School, which was recently named as a semi-finalist in First Lady Michelle Obama’s Recipes for Healthy Kids national competition.


The First Lady and the U.S. Department of Agriculture launched the competition last September, challenging teams of school nutrition professionals, chefs, students, and community members to develop creative, nutritious, and kid-approved recipes that schools can easily incorporate into National School Lunch Program menus.

For the contest, Winograd eighth-graders Abraham Aguilar, Jace Keopke, Amairani Pizarro and Bethany Vierow created a chicken and pasta dish they call Chic’ Penne. Their recipe was chosen as one of the nation’s top five entries in the whole grains category of the contest.

A judging team made of an official from the USDA, a chef from the American Culinary Federation, and a school nutrition professional from the National Food Service Management Institute visited Winograd K-8 School to evaluate the recipe. The judging included a recipe demonstration, a taste testing, and a lunchroom observation.

After reviewing the Winograd entry and the other national semifinalists, the judges will name three finalists, one from each of the three categories, who will participate in a national cook-off event this summer in Grapevine, Texas.

View the full recipe, complete with nutrition facts. You can also vote for the recipe for the “Popular Choice Award.” Online voting ends May 15.

‘Grandfather of jump rope’ retiring from Boulder school

Rich Cendali is retiring after teaching physical education to Boulder elementary students for 41 years, but he’s not convinced he can give up teaching entirely.

Either way, “Mr. C,” as he’s known to students, does plan to keep his volunteer job as coach of the Skip Its, a student jump rope demonstration team known for elaborate tricks and acrobatics while jumping. Read more in the Daily Camera.

Survey: Kids lack exercise, healthful foods

Nearly nine out of 10 parents say they’re providing a healthy home environment for their children. In fact, they aren’t, a new YMCA survey shows. Read more in USA Today.

DPS unveils 11 more Learning Landscape playground centers

Denver – During the next couple weeks, Denver Public Schools will unveil the next round of newly-completed Learning Landscape playground centers.  The playgrounds are part of several major construction projects under the voter-approved 2008 bond program of $454 million.

In all, about 100 schools have received Learning Landscapes under the bond project – 11 of which are getting ready to unveil theirs in the upcoming weeks.

Learning Landscapes include a playfield, age-appropriate equipment, gardens, trees, non-traditional play features, shade structures and a gateway to the neighborhoods. The objectives of the initiative include reducing discipline issues on school grounds, providing better physical education and resources for classroom projects, establishing a gathering place for neighborhood families and strengthening neighborhood-school partnerships.

DPS is ahead of schedule and more than $70 million under budget in completing the hundreds of school construction and renovation projects that are part of the bond program.  Due to strong cost controls and favorable market conditions, the district currently expects to be able to complete all of the originally envisioned bond projects in four years rather than five and have savings to spend on other high-priority construction, renovation and technology projects, including a new Stapleton elementary school, a new early childhood center in Far Northeast, and significant upgrades to classroom technology including new computers and audio-visual equipment.

Upcoming Learning Landscape celebrations:

  • Godsman Elementary: Friday, April 29 @ 9 a.m.
  • Valdez Elementary: Friday, April 29 @ 3 p.m.
  • Valverde Elementary: Tuesday, May 3 @ 8:30 a.m.
  • Cory Elementary: Tuesday, May 3 @ 2:30 p.m.
  • Center for Early Education: Wednesday, May 4 @ 9:30 a.m.
  • Park Hill Elementary: Wednesday, May 4 @ 2:30 p.m.
  • Asbury Elementary: Thursday, May 5 @ 9:30 a.m.
  • Denison Elementary: Thursday, May 5 @ 1:30 p.m.

Greening of Denver schools reduces district’s environmental impact

Denver Public Schools is focusing on sustainability by significantly reducing its energy usage and waste, and is reaping millions of dollars in cost savings as a result. Over the past year, the district has installed solar panels on 28 schools that are estimated to save the school district more than $1.5 million over 20 years. In addition, by replacing every water fixture district-wide over the next three years with high-efficiency systems, the district will save at least 55 million gallons of water per year and reduce costs by over $200,000 per year, according to a recently issued DPS news release.

The district’s conservation and energy reduction goals aim to increase efficiency-driven savings by 20 percent by year 2020. This school year alone, the district estimates it has saved 5 percent on its total energy consumption, and 4,167 metric tons of CO2 have been reduced.

DPS has also generated nearly $1 million in rebates from Xcel Energy and Denver Water from energy-saving capital improvement projects.

In addition to cost savings, the environmental impact of the greening of DPS schools has been significant.  To gauge the environmental impact of the district’s total conservation efforts, it equates to:

  • A reduction of 6,953 metric tons of CO2 annually
  • The solar energy produced alone provides an equivalent of 9 million fewer vehicle miles driven per year, or 542 cars taken off the road each year
  • Use of 779,515 fewer gallons of gasoline
  • Enough energy to power 844 homes
  • The equivalent of planting 178,289 trees
  • 2,423 tons of greenhouse gas emissions avoided by recycling instead of sending to the landfill

One of the drivers of energy conservation in DPS has been facility-efficiency improvements and upgrades at more than 35 schools funded through the 2008 voter-approved bond program.  These changes have included replacement of old windows, lighting and boilers with more energy-efficient models. The Bond program has also funded the low-water-use fixture upgrade project supported by Denver Water.

Automated controls have helped to reduce energy in buildings by going into energy-saving mode during unoccupied periods.  Additionally, DPS developed a computer-hibernation program, which automatically puts district computers in power-saving mode when not in use, that is estimated to save over $230,000 per year in energy costs.

The DPS Sustainability Team is also working with schools to develop individualized conservation plans and goals specifically tailored to reduce consumption and improve efficiency.  The team has rolled out an array of educational tools and curriculum to schools, including web-based monitoring systems to track a school’s energy usage, and student “Green Teams” that unite and empower kids to do their part by recycling, composting and growing produce in school gardens.

Students are hosting the following events in the upcoming weeks to help spread the word about the importance of waste reduction and the greening of Denver Public Schools:

  • From Trash to Treasure: Environmental Summit for high school and college students – Saturday, April 30, at DCIS, 574 W. Sixth Ave., Denver, 9 a.m. to noon.
  • Passport to Green Jobs An information session about green careers and sustainability for DPS high school students. Friday, May 13, at CEC Middle College of Denver, 2650 Eliot St., 8 a.m. to noon.


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