15 LCPS Schools Win Big With School Garden Scholarships

This spring, School Nutrition Services and Loudoun County Health Department (LCHD) teamed up to award 15 schools with scholarships to help develop and sustain their school garden programs. The partnership between LCHD and School Nutrition has been ongoing for the past 3 years. They have supported LCPS school garden initiatives by supplying nearly 150 indoor hydroponic self-watering vertical garden towers, soil, seeds, and garden kits to PK – 12 classrooms in the county. Jennifer Brady, Obesity and Chronic Disease Prevention Educator for LCHD, said “Pairing hands-on gardening education with nutrition education has been shown to increase a child’s likelihood to try new vegetables and this is the outcome we have heard anecdotally from teachers. LCPS kids are enjoying kale after growing it in their garden towers much to the surprise of their parents!”

Dr. Becky Domokos-Bays, Director of School Nutrition, described the school garden program as “an inter-disciplinary approach to nutrition education accomplished by coordinating school gardens, school cafeterias and physical education provides students with authentic, rich experiences that is helping them make nutritious choices is exciting. Students of all ages and abilities are learning life long positive health habits through the this valuable partnership.”

This year, thanks to funding from the Virginia Department of Health, LCHD provided $15,000 in additional supplies to gardens in 15 schools based on the individual needs of each school. Interested teachers completed an evaluation of their gardens and were able to request funding for the specific items they needed to take their school gardens to the next level. This ranged from lumber and rakes for gardens just starting out to more advanced gardening supplies like permaculture materials. School Nutrition Services utilized some of the funds received from their USDA Farm to School Planning Grant to provide additional supplies and tools to the select schools. They will also work with these schools during the upcoming school year to provide hands-on educational opportunities for the students.

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2018 School Garden Scholarship Winners:

Middleburg Charter Academy: $500
Lovettsville Elementary: $500
Mercer Middle : $1,000
Frederick Douglass Elementary: $3,000
Meadowland Elementary: $1,000
Rolling Ridge Elemetary: $1,000
Heritage High: $500
Loudoun Valley High: $500
Sully Elementary: $1,000
Smarts Mill Middle: $1,000
Cedar Lane Elementary: $500
Belmont Station Elementary: $1,000
JM Lunsford Middle: $1,000
Park View High: $1,000
Pinebrook Elementary: $1,500

For more information on school gardens or the farm to school program in LCPS, contact Stefanie Dove, RDN, SNS at Stefanie.Dove@LCPS.org.

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School Nutrition Helps Guilford Elementary Introduce PBL Unit

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Written By: Stefanie Dove, RDN, School Nutrition Marketing Coordinator

Last week, School Nutrition worked with the third-grade students at Guilford Elementary to kick off their year-long PBL project. The driving question for this unit is “how can we as young chefs, make healthy choices at school and at home?” Stefanie Dove, RDN and Marketing Coordinator, has collaborated with the teachers at Guilford to guide students with this project through a variety of activities from fruit and vegetable taste tests, recipe writing and development, cooking, and menu planning.

The introduce this project, Willowsford Farm and School Nutrition Services donated produce for all third-grade students, teachers and their parents to sample a variety of seasonal produce. The taste party included: broccoli, purple cabbage, radishes, spinach, carrots, apples, pears, roasted squash and beets. All students tried the items together while discussing the importance of trying new foods and eating a variety of fruits and vegetables to fuel their bodies with essential vitamins and minerals. At the end of the taste party, 10 students were randomly selected to take bags of produce home with them so that they could encourage their families to try new foods as well.

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For more information on this Project-Based Learning (PBL) project or to collaborate on a project or nutrition education activity, please contact Stefanie Dove, RDN at Stefanie.Dove@LCPS.org

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School Nutrition Gears Up to Celebrate National School Breakfast Week

Getting More Students to Begin their Day with Breakfast
“Take the School Breakfast Challenge” Encourages Loudoun County Families to Choose Breakfast at School

Ashburn, VA –February 23, 2017 – Busy weekday mornings make it a challenge for families to find time for a healthy breakfast. However, US Department of Agriculture data show that more students are starting their day with a nutritious breakfast in their school cafeterias. To encourage more families to take advantage of the healthy choices available with school breakfast, Loudoun County Public Schools will recognize National School Breakfast Week during March 6-10, 2017.

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Cedar Lane Elementary students enjoying breakfast

The National School Breakfast Week (NSBW) campaign theme, “School Breakfast Challenge”, reminds the entire school community that school breakfast provides a healthy, energizing start to the day for students. Students will be encouraged to “Take the Challenge” from March 6-10 with special menus, decorations, cafeteria events, and more. Many schools will be offering special prizes and giveaways all week. Cedar Lane Elementary will be promoting the newest school breakfast trend: egg pops on Tuesday, March 7th. Harmony Middle School is celebrating all week long, offering free breakfasts to all students on select days. They will also have a #LCPSBreakfast selfie booth where they can take pictures while enjoying breakfast and students can cast their school breakfast votes with a customized ballot. Lovettesville Elementary will host special breakfast guests all week long, including the mayor. At Smart’s Mill Middle School, the new Breakfast After the Bell program launched in January, which now allows students a second chance to get school breakfast after the bell rings. Students will see special breakfast items featured on the menu during this week, including the launch of our new fruit and yogurt smoothie program.

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Students at Cedar Lane ES decorated breakfast bags to promote healthy eating

“A healthy breakfast at the start of the day is one way to ensure students are getting the best education they can,” said Dr. Becky Bays, Director of School Nutrition. “National School Breakfast Week helps us educate parents and students about all the healthy and appealing choices we offer”. The district serves over 5,104 breakfast meals daily through the federally funded School Breakfast Program. Over 350 school nutrition professionals in Loudoun prepare breakfast and lunches every day that meet federal nutrition standards – limiting fat, calories and sodium – and encourage students to choose from the fruits, vegetables and whole grains offered with school meals.

Students can select from healthy breakfast options daily with everything from cereal, breakfast sandwiches, open faced breakfast toast, yogurt smoothies, freshly baked cinnamon rolls, whole grain banana bread, and a variety of breakfast bars. Breakfast also includes a fresh milk, fresh fruit, and 100% juice. Students receive all of this for $2.10. If a student qualifies for free or reduced lunches, breakfast will also be at no cost.

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Principal Waldman at Smart’s Mill Middle School with the new Breakfast After the Bell cart.

National School Breakfast Week was launched in 1989 to raise awareness of the availability of the School Breakfast Program to all children and to promote the links between eating a good breakfast, academic achievement and healthy lifestyles. The “Take the School Breakfast Challenge” is made possible by the nonprofit School Nutrition Association, Kellogg’s and Potatoes USA. Parents and students can follow the fun on Facebook.com/TrayTalk.

For more information about schools meals, visit http://www.lcpshealthycafe.org or http://www.schoolnutrition.org/SchoolMeals.

Media contact:
Stefanie Dove
(571) 252-6502
Stefanie.Dove@LCPS.org

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School Nutrition Announces Farm to School Art Contest Winners

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School Nutrition Services kicked off National Farm to School Month in October with their first annual art contest. The theme for the 2016 contest was “What Farm to School Means to Me.” The contest was open to all Loudoun County students’ grades K-12. There were 75 entries in the contest from grades K-8 only. All entries went through a preliminary judging and the top 14 were then submitted for the final judging by an esteemed panel of judges where all student and school identifying information was omitted from the entries.

Grand Prize winner: Parnika S., Mercer Middle School, 8th Grade

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Elementary Winners:
Craftsmanship: Abigail K., Madison’s Trust Elementary, 2nd Grade

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Visual Impact: Ashley S., Lowes Island Elementary, 4th Grade

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Interpretation and Creativity: Ishaan D., Meadowland Elementary, 2nd Grade

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Honorable Mention: Katelyn M., Kenneth Culbert Elementary School, 5th Grade

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Middle School Winners:
Interpretation & Creativity: Charly B., Trailside Middle School, 6th Grade

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Visual Impact: Parnika S., Mercer Middle School, 8th Grade

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Craftsmanship: Samah N., Mercer Middle School, 6th Grade

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Composition and Design: Zoe L., Eagle Ridge Middle School, 7th Grade

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Honorable Mention: Anaghasree H., Stone Hill Middle School, 8th Grade

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The grand prize winner will have their artwork featured on Loudoun Farm Tour marketing materials for the spring 2017 season. The individual winners in both elementary and middle school will have their artwork developed into posters that will be displayed in the cafeteria at their individual schools. All participants will receive a certificate of participation in the art contest.
Loudoun County Public Library has also agreed to feature the student entries at various locations. The dates and locations for these exhibits will be announced in January, 2017. The artwork will also be featured on School Nutrition Services website http://www.lcpshealthycafe.org.
The judges for the art contest were:
Dr. Becky Domokos-Bays, RDN, SNS
Supervisor, School Nutrition Services
Loudoun County Public Schools

Kellie Hinkle
Agricultural Development Officer
Loudoun Economic Development

Cassie Walls
Rural Business Development Assistant
Loudoun Economic Development

Chris VanVlack
President of the Board
Loudoun County Farm Bureau

Lorraine Moffa
Library Aide
Loudoun County Public Library

Stephanie Kehoe
Art Teacher
Stone Hill Middle School

If you have any questions or comments regarding this contest, please contact Stefanie Dove by email at Stefanie.Dove@LCPS.org or by phone at (571)252-6502.

This promotion was made in part by the USDA Farm to School Planning Grant.