Share Your Promising Practice
Schools can play a critical role in the national effort to improve children’s diet and physical activity habits. Many schools are implementing creative strategies to do so. Through this Promising Practices reporting site, we would like to hear about what you are doing related to the areas described below. Selected activities will be featured on this site.
Please submit Promising Practices related to:
1. Working Toward Meeting the HealthierUS School Challenge
For more information on each of these areas click here.
2. School Breakfast
3. Farm to School/School Gardens
Please Note Use the link found in the LEFT sidebar menu — Submit Promising Practices — to enter your submission.
Working Toward Meeting the HealthierUS School Challenge
USDA’s goal in initiating the HealthierUS School Challenge was to improve the health of the nation’s children by promoting healthier school environments. The HealthierUS School Challenge provides recognition and incentives for schools that have made healthy changes in the areas of nutrition education, physical activity/physical education, and foods offered in school. The challenge is offered at four award levels: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Gold Award of Distinction. Schools qualify for the challenge by completing an application process. Schools that meet the challenge receive community recognition, national recognition on USDA’s Team Nutrition web site, an award plaque and banner from USDA, and monetary awards. For more information, go to: http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/healthierus/index.html
Participation in school breakfast has been shown to be associated with lower rates of absenteeism and tardiness, improved attentiveness, higher standardized test scores, better diet quality, and may even be related to lower rates of obesity. However, fewer students participate in school breakfast than participate in school lunch. Schools have found innovative, creative ways to overcome barriers to offering school breakfast and to increase participation in school breakfast programs. For more information about school breakfast, go to: http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/breakfast/. To access Project PA’s on-line course, “Breakfast: The Most Important Lesson of the Day,” go to: http://www.schoolnutritiontoolbox.org.
Farm to School/School Gardens
Schools in Pennsylvania and throughout the nation are working to provide healthier foods to students and teach them the skills they need to make good decisions about nutrition and health in order to address the growing problem of childhood obesity. As part of these efforts, there is growing interest among schools in Farm to School programs. While a primary objective of Farm to School activities is to connect schools with local farms to promote purchasing of local foods for school meals, a variety of other types of activities fall under the Farm to School umbrella including school gardens, nutrition and agriculture classroom lessons, field trips to local farms, and taste-testing of local products. In addition to providing healthy foods in school meal programs and providing students with health and nutrition education, Farm to School programs support local farmers and therefore strengthen local food systems.