Arkansas elementary schools are encouraged to “Go for the GOLD or SILVER” with the HealthierUS School Challenge Award!
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will award HealthierUS Gold or Silver recognition to elementary schools taking leadership roles in addressing obesity and healthy lifestyle issues relevant to students. The HealthierUS School Challenge recognizes those schools that take specific steps to improve school nutrition environments, improve the quality of the foods served and provide students with more nutritious, healthy food choices.
The steps for elementary schools applying for either the Gold or Silver HealthierUS School Challenge recognition are:
1. Join or be enrolled as a Team Nutrition School (http://teamnutrition.usda.gov/Join/enrollmentform.pdf)
2. Offer reimbursable healthy lunches that meet USDA nutrition standards,
3. Provide nutrition education to students,
4. Provide physical activity opportunities for students,
5. Maintain an Average Daily LUNCH PARTICIPATION of 70 percent or higher of elementary school enrollment for reimbursable lunches, and
6. Adhere to guidelines established by FNS for foods served/sold in schools outside the National School Lunch Program.
Schools that meet all the criteria will be certified as either Silver or Gold Schools by FNS for two years. FNS has developed a Self Assessment Tool that details these standards and requests specific information to verify a school’s adherence to the standards. The assessment tool must be evaluated by a local review panel, i.e., Nutrition and Physical Activity/Wellness Policy Committee and endorsed by the school’s principal. Please contact a school district’s Child Nutrition Director for additional information and assistance. Each elementary school’s completed application and assessment tool must be submitted to the district’s Area Specialist, Child Nutrition Unit (CNU), Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) for review. CNU, ADE will forward state-approved application packets to FNS for consideration.
Once a school successfully meets the Challenge, it will be awarded a plaque celebrating the accomplishment of attaining either the Silver or Gold level; and the school will be recognized on the USDA Team Nutrition website. The school may also be chosen to participate in special USDA media events. Certification as a HealthierUS School is for two years, the year of approval and the subsequent year.
For additional information on becoming a Team Nutrition School, including an enrollment form, click on the link to the Team Nutrition website at: http://teamnutrition.usda.gov/team.html
An application packet, assessment tool and all back-up material needed for the HealthierUS School Challenge is available at: http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/HealthierUS/index.html