Monday, April 13, 2015

Somerville Mayor and Superintendent celebrate National Nutrition Month

On Wednesday, April 1 the Winter Hill Community Innovation School was treated to a lunchtime visit by Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone and Superintendent of Schools Tony Pierantozzi. The Mayor and Superintendent were at the Winter Hill attending one of our National Nutrition Month Celebrations, which included joining students during lunch period and taking part in a taste test. In a speech to the students, both the Mayor and the Superintendent reminded students about the importance of eating fresh foods and whole grains. They emphasized that food is the fuel that gives our bodies energy to be physically active and stay fit. The Mayor challenged the students to be ambassadors for health in their own lives, encouraging friends and family members to "Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle." 

Superintendent Tony Pierantozzi addressing Winter Hill students.
Mayor Joseph Curtatone reminding students to be ambassadors for health.
The Mayor and Superintendent also personally thanked the kitchen staff for their dedication to producing high quality, nutritious foods for Somerville students. This dedication and hard work were also recognized by the USDA. Six Somerville elementary schools received the USDA's HealthierUS School Challenge Bronze Award for excellence in nutrition and physical activity.

Winter Hill School Kitchen Staff

"The purpose of all these efforts is to support the 'whole child' and to develop the intellectual, physical, social and emotional potential of all students. This is a goal of the Somerville School Committee and is reflected in the District Wellness Policy. The HUSSC award represents the dedication to the students of Somerville that happens at all district schools on a daily basis.  I would like to thank my staff who work hard every day to ensure students are entering the classroom ready to learn and succeed. " - Lauren Mancini, Food and Nutrition Services Director

Winter Hill School Cafeteria
Winter Hill School Cafeteria
While the quality, stability and dependability of the school lunch and physical education programs were honored, we also shared details about innovative nutrition education and physical activity programs being piloted and implemented in the district through funding from a Carol M. White Physical Education Program Grant (PEP Grant).
According to Caitlin Kelly, PEP Grant Director, "The PEP grant is working to 'Create a Culture of Healthy Lifestyles' by expanding opportunities for physical activity and nutrition education and healthy eating among our students."

To date, the PEP grant has provided funding for
  • National Nutrition Month Celebration in collaboration with Somerville Food and Nutrition Services and UMass Extension Team Nutrition
  • School garden activities including a seeding sowing project in collaboration with the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program 
  • Healthy Body Healthy Mind Family workshops in collaboration with the Somerville Family Learning Collaborative
  • Let's Get Cooking: An afterschool cooking club held at two schools in collaboration with Somerville Community Schools
  • SPARK (Sports, Play, and Active Recreation for Kids) program has begun to be implemented in all K-8 schools as well as in school based afterschool programs and 3 community based afterschool programs
  • BOKS (before school physical activity program which includes a nutrition "bit" in each session) was expanded into two additional schools this year
  • Community Adventure Education programming which included rock climbing, Parkour and snow shoeing/cross country skiing was expanded in collaboration with Community Schools, the Recreation Department, and the Boys and Girls Club
 Somerville Neighborhood News was on hand to film the event.
Throughout the celebration students tasted freshly made veggie yogurt dip. Over 90% of the students who tried the veggie dip would eat it again!

We extend a special thank you to all of our collaborators, especially UMass Team Nutrition and Shape Up Somerville, for all of their hard work.

Content provided by Karyn Novakowski, PEP Grant Nutrition Education Coordinator.

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