Friday, January 8, 2016

McLaughlin Middle School joins national group of healthy schools

The U.S. Department of Agriculture presented McLaughlin Middle School with a bronze HealthierUS School Challenge: Smarter Lunchrooms award. McLaughlin joins the ranks of an elite group of schools across the country recognized for excellence in their integration of health, nutrition and fitness education. Only about 7% of the nation’s schools have achieved bronze, silver, gold, or gold of distinction HealthierUS status.

The HealthierUS challenge is a key component of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative to end childhood obesity within a generation. Schools participating in the challenge voluntarily adopt USDA standards for food they serve at their schools, agree to provide nutrition education, and provide opportunities for physical activity.

McLaughlin demonstrates the award criteria in all areas. Principal Bill Krantz is an active member of the school district wellness council and promotes healthy behavior throughout the school. The physical education curriculum emphasizes lifelong fitness and why physical activity is important. The middle school life skills class includes nutrition education and food science in every unit. Students learn to make healthy eating choices at school and at home. McLaughlin's cafeteria offers a variety of fruits, vegetables, snacks and milk along with daily meal choices. Food services staff welcome feedback from the students and look for creative ways to make healthy food presentations appealing.

"We are proud of all of our schools for the healthy meals they provide to students," said Manchester
School District school food and nutrition director Jim Connors. "This award recognizes the efforts that go above and beyond to enhance the integration of the smarter lunchroom with everyday education."

To celebrate McLaughlin Middle School's accomplishment, a representative from the USDA presented Connors, school administrators and staff with a banner and plaque.

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