McKinney ISD and ARAMARK Education, the District’s food service provider, are pleased to announce that six McKinney ISD elementary schools have recently been awarded Gold level designation by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC). The HUSSC initiative is a major component of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign to reduce childhood obesity and transform the nation’s schools into models for healthier living.
The following McKinney ISD elementary schools have earned HUSSC Gold Designation:
• Albert A. & Iola Lee Davis Malvern Elementary School
• Burks Elementary School
• Caldwell Elementary School
• Finch Elementary School
• Press Elementary School
• Webb Elementary School
With the recognition of these six schools, each of McKinney ISD’s 20 elementary campuses has now earned a HUSSC designation. Seven have received Gold, and 13 have earned Bronze awards.
Created in 2004, HUSSC recognizes those schools participating in the National School Lunch Program that have created healthier school environments through promotion of nutrition and physical activity. Participating schools can earn any one of four levels of superior achievement: Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Gold Award of Distinction. With their HUSSC designation, schools receive a monetary incentive (Bronze: $500, Silver: $1000, Gold: $1500 and Gold Award of Distinction: $2000), an award plaque signed by a USDA official, a banner to display in their school and recognition on the Team Nutrition Web site.
For these six newly-recognized McKinney ISD campuses, Gold designation status is the gratifying result of focused collaboration between the District and ARAMARK Education and increased efforts to promote regular physical activity among their students.
“The McKinney ISD School Health Advisory Council and ARAMARK have worked closely together for several years to improve the health, wellness and school nutrition of our students,” said Julie Blankenship, McKinney ISD Coordinator of Health Services. “This award through the USDA is great validation of these efforts.”
To be recognized as a Gold level award winner, schools must meet rigorous criteria, including:
• Enrolling as a Team Nutrition School, which provides a framework for team efforts by school nutrition staff, teachers, parents, the media and other community members to focus on nutritious school meals
• Reimbursable lunches that meet the USDA nutrition standards
• Average Daily Participation for lunch that meets or exceeds a minimum of 70 percent
• School lunch menus that allow students to select a different vegetable and fruit everyday, 100 percent fruit juice, a whole-grain food serving, only low-fat (1 percent or less) and fat-free (skim) milk
• Nutrition education programs
• Physical education/activity classes and messages
The Gold Standard menus further elevate the District’s and ARAMARK’s focus on nutrition and wellness, which includes promoting and expanding the availability of breakfast; offering healthy, nutrient-dense snacks; eliminating added trans fats; reducing the use of processed foods, added fats, sugar and salt; sourcing high quality, local produce and products; and advancing employee knowledge of nutrition and health principles.
“We are committed to serving nutritious meals, and this commitment is at the heart of how we deliver on our promise of helping students flourish,” said James Shoemake, Food Service Director. “We encourage students to embrace good eating and healthy lifestyle habits at an early age, and we understand that a school’s food and nutrition program play a big role in this effort. We are excited about the new menus and our partnership with the school district.”
For morning information about the USDA HealthierUS School Challenge please visit fns.usda.gov.
About ARAMARK Education
ARAMARK Education provides a complete range of food, facility, uniform and other support services to more than 500 K-12 school districts in the U.S. It offers public and private education institutions a family of dining and facility services including: on-site and off-site breakfast and lunch meal programs, after-school snacks, catering, nutrition education, retail design and operations, maintenance, custodial, grounds, energy management, construction management, and building commissioning. Visit aramarkschools.com.
About McKinney ISD
One of the fastest growing school districts in Texas, the McKinney Independent School District currently enrolls more than 24,000 students in 20 elementary schools, five middle schools, three high schools, one alternative school and one early childhood education school. The mission of McKinney ISD, the champion for progressive learning throughout the diverse McKinney community, is to inspire and equip all students to explore, develop and express their unique potential as innovators, critical thinkers and collaborators through challenging, engaging and diverse learning experiences in vital partnership with the community. Visit the district's website at mckinneyisd.net.