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This week's healthy schools highlights

Denver public schools going for a ‘green’ star

If things continue on the same path, the Denver Public School system may be the greenest school district in the nation. Read more in the Examiner.

Poll: U.S. parents want kids more active during school day

A new poll finds that almost all parents of young children believe it’s important for elementary school kids to get exercise during each school day. However, one-third said their children don’t get enough physical activity at school. Read more in HealthDay News.

‘Renegade lunch lady’ Ann Cooper earns national honor

Fair labor practices in the organic berry industry, environmentally-responsible biopesticides, a new crop of young sustainable farming stewards in the Midwest, and a lunch food revolution in schools – these are the winning innovations receiving recognition today by the Natural Resources Defense Council’s third annual Growing Green Awards.

An independent panel of sustainable food experts selected the four winners from a pool of 265 candidates that included diverse growers, business leaders and activists across the country. The 2011 winners include EdNews Parent expert and Boulder Valley food services director Ann Cooper, who was named the 2011 Knowledge Leader winner.

Cooper started the Food Family Farming Foundation, which provides schools with the tools and guidance they need to transition from over-processed meals to healthy, fresh ingredients on a limited budget. Her day job is in the trenches of the Boulder Valley School District, where she is transforming lunch menus in the entire 48-school district, just as she has done before on the East and West coasts.

“I am so honored to receive this award not only for the work of the Food Family Farming Foundation, but on behalf of all the school food advocates and professionals across the country who are working toward better school food for all children,” said Cooper. “This award showcases the fact that nutritious food in schools is becoming mainstream, giving our children a brighter and healthier future.”

Greeley kids gain healthy dash of pride in cooking contest

GREELEY — The school cafeteria could have been a Food Network studio as four judges at a raised table tucked into their “Chic Penne” pasta Tuesday. This was the moment of truth for the eighth-grade culinary team that had labored over the dish for two months. Read more in the Denver Post.

Aurora Public Schools program provides healthy meals

Hundreds of elementary students in the Aurora Public Schools district will be greeted in their classrooms with a free breakfast this morning. Today, APS is launching “Breakfast in the Classroom,” a program aimed at providing nutritious meals at high poverty schools. Kitchen staffers at Elkhart and Sable elementary schools and Boston K-8 School will personally deliver free breakfast to students. Read more in Your Hub.

Survey: Have your say on sustainability

Funded by a grant from the Governor’s Energy Office, Denver Public Schools is in the process of developing its first ever Sustainability Management Plan (SMP) for its own operations. This SMP will identify ways the district can be a good environmental steward; save resources and money; and support staff and students by providing healthy, productive learning and work environments.

One of the key, first steps in developing the SMP is to hear from community members. DPS is conducting an online survey to collect feedback on what topics are most important to address in the SMP, what the district is already doing well, what it can do to improve and how you can participate in implementing the SMP.

The survey is open to all DPS stakeholders including staff, teachers, students, parents, district and school leaders and others. Click here to have your say. All responses will remain anonymous. Please complete the survey by no later than 5 p.m. Friday, May 6.

If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Laurel Mattrey at

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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