PAWTUCKET — In addition to their “reading, writing and 'rithmetic,” the city's school children are also learning about healthier eating. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service just announced that the Pawtucket School District has received the HealthierUS Schools Challenge Award for eight of its elementary schools.
With two city elementary schools, Curvin McCabe and Cunningham, having received the HealthierUS Schools Challenge Award last year, this means that all of the city's elementary schools have been recognized for excellence in nutrition and physical activity.
The eight elementary schools receiving “bronze” level awards are Potter Burns, Fallon, Nathanael Greene, Winters, Little, Curtis, Baldwin and Varieur. Last year, Cunningham and Curvin McCabe both received “gold” level awards.
The USDA's HealthierUS School Challenge is a voluntary national certification program that is designed to bring schools closer to compliance with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Institute of Medicine's recommendations for school meals and foods in schools.
In addition to a plaque, banner and recognition from, HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) schools will receive monetary incentive awards according to the following categories: $2,000—Gold Award of Distinction, $1,500—Gold, $1,000--Silver, and $500--Bronze. All HUSSC award monies are to be deposited into the non-profit school food service account and used for allowable expenses under that account.
In a press release, Karin Wetherill, associate director of Kids First sent congratulations to Solange Morrissette, general manager of Sodexho, the food service company for the city's schools, as well as the principals and staff at all of the schools. She noted that all of these individuals had to work together to complete the application process for the national award as well as to consistently meet the high standards of the program.
According to a press release, Pawtucket is the only school district in Rhode Island to have won this prestigious award and the state currently leads New England as the state with the most schools that have won. Less than one percent of the nation's schools have won this award, which is fully supported and encouraged by First Lady Michelle Obama as part of her “Let's Move!” initiative.
An award ceremony is being planned for a future date in which each of the eight schools will be recognized.