Five elementary schools in RSU 20 have been awarded national recognition for their efforts to improve school meals and overall wellness among their students and staff. Only 5 percent of schools in the United States have achieved this award.
Receiving a bronze award from HealthierUS School Challenge were the Ames School in Searsmont, Belfast Area High School, Captain Albert Stevens School in Belfast, East Belfast School, and Frankfort Elementary School.
To earn this award, a school must serve healthy meals, teach nutrition education taught in all grade levels and encourage physical activity. Physical education has to include at least 45 minutes a week. There must also be a wellness policy, which states that physical activity is neither denied nor required as a means of punishment, and use of food as a reward is prohibited.
Honored June 3 were the principals, wellness champions and food service personnel from the five schools, along with Linda Hartkopf, the school health coordinator, a position funded by Waldo County General Hospital; Perley Martin, RSU Food Service Director; Healthy Waldo County, Let’s Go! Waldo 5210 and the RSU 20 Healthy Kids parents’ group. With the bronze award, each of the schools received $500 for their nutrition program.
Hartkopf said the goal for next year will be to have the entire district earn a silver or bronze award.
The HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) is designed to improve the health of the nation’s children by promoting healthier school environments.