Huh? Green Beans in the Background?

(The question everyone is asking/Fall 2014 Newsletter #1)

Welcome Back Suburban Elementary School!

As the proud Suburban Elementary school counselor, I am excited to welcome each and every one of you back to SES for the 2014-2015 school year! This year is a new step for all of us with the start of the Municipal School District. I know we are all working hard to ensure this year will be the best SES has ever had! And without further ado.....on to the Great Green Bean Background question....

Last February, I conducted surveys with SES students and parents on our School Nutrition Program (Breakfast and Lunch). An overwhelming majority of responses indicated a dissatisfaction with the current program and a strong desire to improve it with a new program.

This year, as SES embarks as a Municipal School, I will be in charge of a School Nutrition pilot program. My hope is that the new program will prove successful and be implemented in all the Municipal Schools next year. Changes to the SES Nutrition Program will include the following:

  1. Lunches will be increased by five minutes (from 22 to 27) to allow students additional time to get through food lines and socialize with classmates.
  2. All meals will be prepared in-house and feature healthier foods. To encourage healthy eating, new menu offerings were selected from student satisfaction surveys. All meals will feature whole grains, baked (not fried) foods, two vegetables and a salad option, a single fruit or fruit salad option, a vegetarian option, and organic ingredients.
  3. A create-your-own baked potato bar and fruit/salad bar will be offered on the far side of the cafeteria for students who do not want the hot meal being offered.
  4. For as much food as possible, items will be kept colorful (unbreaded) and cut into fun shapes (encourages more healthy eating). We've learned over the years that shaped macaroni and cheese "tastes better" according to children!
  5. To encourage recycling and conservation, meals will be served on heavy plastic plates with metal utensils (instead of plastic).
  6. Throughout the year, I will be working with teachers to incorporate healthy eating into lessons. For example, in Spring math and language arts classes, students will make healthy smoothies using recipes they imagine and then making and enjoying them with the help of math formulas to learn measurements and ratios.
  7. A school garden will be located in the back of the school near the gym. This garden will be planned, planted, and maintained by the student body with my oversight. This process of a community garden will be used during science classes for education purposes. Next fall, students during science classes will learn to make pickles with the cucumbers from the garden. As much as possible, the food from the garden will be included in the school lunch program. A berry patch and small fruit orchard are also in the planning stages.
  8. Junk food incentives are eliminated from classroom treasure boxes and after-school activities. These incentives will be replaced with homework pass coupons, extended recess time, or healthier alternatives.
  9. For student birthdays, cupcakes will no longer be allowed. Sugar-free popsicles and/or popcorn parties are acceptable. All teachers are aware of the changes and will enforce them as birthdays come up in their classes.
  10. Finally, a two part form is attached to this newsletter. The top of the form has areas for you to indicate student food likes/dislikes and allergies. This portion is anonymous and should be cut off before resubmitting it. The bottom portion is an area for you to include your child's favorite dish you cook for them at home. Please put your name on this form to receive recognition. After reviewing favorite dishes from all forms and comparing it to anonymous allergies across the student body, four dishes from each grade will be selected to be served in the school lunch or breakfast programs this year. If selected, you will be informed of the date of your dish being served and are welcome to eat with us that day! Please return the form this week to your student's teacher.

If you have any questions about these changes, please do not hesitate to call or email me.

"In Good Health"

Suburban Elementary School Counselor