Friday, February 19, 2016

USDA adds another Manchester school to its healthy ranks

Beech Street Elementary School is the second school in Manchester this year to be recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture with a HealthierUS School Challenge: Smarter Lunchrooms award. With its silver award designation, Beech Street 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 -- and 31 in New Hampshire! -- 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.

To celebrate Beech Street School's accomplishment, a representative from the USDA presented Manchester School District Food Services and school staff with a banner and plaque.  The school's emphasis on healthy eating choices, its elementary health curriculum, and encouraging activity through physical education and games were mentioned as key factors in the school's success.

Beech Street also gives credit to community partners, such as the Manchester Health Department and Elliot Health System, for funding a brand new campus playground for the children. At the award assembly, children demonstrated some of their favorite recess games and invited their special guests to play along. Members of the Board of School Committee, school district administration, and USDA staff played Four Square and Switch, and were great sports when the kids clearly outplayed them!

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