Awards for ‘healthy choices’ given to David Douglas District schools

Look and you’ll see they got far more than a “gold star” for their efforts to provide healthy school and exercise at all of their elementary schools …

These students of West Powellhurst Elementary School show respect for visiting guests by quickly being seated and quietly listening to the presentation.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
From all across the David Douglas School District (DDSD), elementary school principals gathered in the gymnasium of West Powellhurst Elementary to receive accolades for helping their students become healthier.

Each of the nine outer East Portland elementary schools received a “Healthier U.S. School Challenge” Bronze Award at the morning ceremony on October 17, during an all-school assembly.

“We’re certainly pleased to be recognized for making very good choices about the food we serve in our cafeteria, and about the ‘movement routines’ that we do here in our school,” the host school’s principal, Allen Browning, told East Portland News, as students took their places.

Principal Browning greeted his students, and complemented them on their exemplary behavior, as the assembly began. He then introduced USDA “National Farm to School” Director, Deborah Kane.

USDA’s “National Farm to School” Director, Deborah Kane, speaks to West Powellhurst Elementary.

“I have one of the best jobs,” Kane began. “I get to work with farmers, ranchers, and fishermen, and all the men and women who make food. And guess what? All they want to do is to make sure that you try some of the stuff that they make.

“I’ve heard you done a very good job and supporting farmers and ranchers,” Kane continued. “And special thanks to the efforts of Ms. Taylor (Jody Taylor heads DDSD Nutrition Services) for supporting the local farmers, and making all those good local healthy [nutrition] choices.”

Kane then introduced USDA Food and Nutrition Service Western Regional Administrator, Allen Ng.

USDA Food and Nutrition Service Western Regional Administrator, Allen Ng, commends the district for participating in the program.

“It’s my pleasure to be here with you,” Ng said. “With the presentation of these nine bronze School Challenge Awards, your schools join a unique group of schools. Your schools are nine of 4,400 schools that receive this award, out of the 100,000 total elementary schools throughout the United States – so you are in very good company.”

The USDA administrator went on, “When the First Lady launched her ‘Let’s Move Initiative’, to combat childhood obesity, she said we would all have to work together to make our next generation more healthy. So, to parents, caretakers, teachers, and schools  – I want to thank you for putting students first in your schools.”

USDA Administrator Allan Ng congratulates and presents “Bronze Awards” to Jody Taylor, head of David Douglas Nutrition Services; West Powellhurst Principal Allen Browning; Ventura Park Principal Jakob Curtis; Cherry Park Principal Kate Barker; Earl Boyles Principal Ericka Guynes; Gilbert Heights Principal Cherie-Anne May; Gilbert Park Principal Stacie Moncrief; Lincoln Park Principal Rebecca Chase; Menlo Park Principal Elise Guest; and Mill Park Principal Rolando Florez.

After the assembly Ng told East Portland News more about the awards presented. “This means that the district has achieved a good level of participation, in terms of physical activity, and in terms of the meals they serve,” Ng said.

Mrs. Narver’s third-grade class provides a “Movement Demonstration”, led by Mr. Fulks, West Powellhurst Elementary’s music teacher.

“This means their students participate in physical activities, and are offered whole grains every day, plus fruits and vegetables – more varieties of fruits and vegetables. The Bronze level of participation is, I think, that least 60% of the kids enrolled in the school get a school lunch.”

Ng paused, then added, “Each school also gets a $500 award, as well!”

Congratulations to all outer East Portland David Douglas Schools for this nationally-recognized achievement.

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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