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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Putting School Nutrition in the Spotlight at the 1st Annual Regional Garden Summit

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

On October 14th, 2017, DC Greens hosted the first annual Regional School Garden Summit at Ludlow-Taylor Elementary in Washington, D.C. The goal of the Summit was to nurture the emerging regional network of nonprofits, schools, and government agencies interested in capacity and network building around school gardens by providing a space to learn, share best practices and make new connections. The day consisted of panel discussions covering topics such as innovative school garden program models, sustaining school gardens through public policy and advocacy, growing networks, and collaborative efforts to connect gardens and the cafeteria.

Stefanie Dove, RDN, School Nutrition Marketing Coordinator for Loudoun County Schools Department of School Nutrition, sat on the panel to discuss the ways LCPS utilizes school gardens as educational tools to connect the concepts to school meals. LCPS Cafe also provided copies of their School Garden Toolkit in the gift bags for all attendees. Mark Pankau, Physical Education Teacher at Guilford Elementary, sat on a panel to discuss the importance of growing school garden networks.

In the afternoon, all 75 attendees were provided a lunch that was prepared using ingredients from the school garden. After lunch, attendees were shuttled onto buses where they spent the afternoon touring several school gardens across the district. The summit ended with an evening of networking with other school garden advocates in the region.

For more information on the school garden program in Loudoun County, please contact Stefanie Dove at Stefanie.Dove@LCPS.org.

September is Better Breakfast Month

As we gear up for another school year, we can’t forget to fuel our students minds and bodies for the school day! September is Better Breakfast Month and School Nutrition is here to help make sure students across Loudoun County have the nourishment they need for the most important meal of the day. A study conducted by Kellogg’s recently found that about one-third of the 14,000 individuals surveyed found time to fit breakfast into their schedules. Mornings are hectic and everyone is in a rush to get to school and to get out the door as quickly as possible. Don’t make breakfast an afterthought.  Let school nutrition check that breakfast off of your morning “to-do” list! All schools in the district offer breakfast daily for students. We serve a variety of items from whole grain gourmet bread loaves, oven baked chicken sandwiches, egg and cheese pitas to fruit and yogurt smoothies, yogurt and bagels.  All breakfast entrees come with fresh fruit, 100% fruit juice and milk.

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The new chocolate chip whole grain gourmet breakfast loaf students can select for breakfast.

Why is breakfast so important? There are many reasons, but we are going to focus on a few of the essentials.  Students who eat a balanced breakfast will stay focused in the classroom and stay full for a longer period of time.  With some students not eating lunch until well in the afternoon, that can be a long time to go without a meal! Eating breakfast also fuels them with energy so that they can succeed in the classroom.  Those students who eat breakfast will also reduce their chances of overeating later in the day.  We have even made it easier for our students to enjoy breakfast at school.  Last year, we introduced our Breakfast After the Bell program in Harper Park Middle School and Smart’s Mill Middle School and are pleased to announce that Brambleton Middle School and Freedom High School have joined this program for the 2017-2018 school year! Breakfast After the Bell allows students the opportunity to purchase breakfast after first block in their class. Our staff brings the breakfast to them.  All they need to do is enter their number into the computer and grab their meal!

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The School Nutrition staff at Harper Park Middle School getting ready to welcome students for Breakfast After the Bell.

A nutritious breakfast will jump start their brains and power it throughout the morning, allowing students to think clearly and concentrate on tasks in the classroom. Breakfast is also a wonderful opportunity for students to increase their fiber intake. Fiber is a nutrient in which many Americans lack in consumption.   All school breakfast entrees contain at least 51% whole grains. Whole grains are higher in fiber than other meal choices. In addition to the whole grains, fruit and vegetables also contain fiber. As previously mentioned, all school breakfasts are served with fresh fruit options. Students can increase the nutritional value of their breakfast by adding fruit to their meal.

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The NEW fruit and yogurt smoothies are a student favorite for breakfast. They are made with low fat yogurt, low fat milk and 100% whole fruit puree. 

Want to find out more information on the School Nutrition Program or find out what’s for #LCPSBreakfast? Visit our website at www.lcpshealthycafe.org or contact Stefanie Dove, RDN at Stefanie.Dove@LCPS.org.

School Nutrition Is Here To Help

The Loudoun County Public Schools Department of School Nutrition is made up of a team of food and nutrition professionals including Registered Dietitians, that are dedicated to students’ health, well being and their ability to learn. We are taking the lead to promote nutrition, wellness and physical activity for our students. Check out our district’s new interactive and user friendly Nutrition Services website by visiting www.lcpshealthycafe.org.

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Good nutrition leads to great academic performance. When your nutritional needs are met it is easier to focus and learn. When you are physically fit you are more alert, more positive and enjoy a better quality of life. Combine good nutrition with physical activity and you will have a winning combination to succeed in school. Our team is also here to help our students, parents, teachers and community partners develop and grow the farm to school program in our district.  Whether we assist with garden implementation, taste parties or nutrition educations or work with our local farmers to organize activities in the classroom, we are always happy to help!

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Along with information about menus, food allergy guidelines, meal applications, and online payments…you will find interactive nutrition lesson plans, nutrition videos, nutrition games, fitness calculators, fun activities, and healthy recipes…and it is all updated quarterly! Want to access this information from your mobile device? Download our FREE app!

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In Loudoun County, it is cool to eat at school and Nutrition Services is committed to helping you form the healthy habits today that will last a lifetime! Stop by and try one of our new menu items to help you fuel up for the day!

For more information on our program, please contact Stefanie Dove, RDN at Stefanie.Dove@LCPS.org or (571) 252-6502.

School Nutrition Connects Nutrition and Project-Based Learning for Secondary Teachers

School Nutrition Helps Teachers Connect Nutrition with Project-Based Learning
for a day of nutrition education and farm to school training

Ashburn, VA: Last month, School Nutrition Services collaborated with Virginia Cooperative Extension of Loudoun County, Giant Food and Virginia Family Nutrition Program to provide a full day of training to nineteen Loudoun County Middle and High School teachers. The training included topics on general nutrition, food science, plant science and farm to school. This training demonstrated how these subject areas could easily be applied to project-based learning initiatives while meeting SOL standards. Those who attended were able to engage in hands-on learning activities including cooking and food preparation demonstrations, soil lab experiments and recommendations on how teachers can connect students with community partners to achieve measurable learning outcomes. A follow-up survey from the training reported that 82% of attendees felt well equipped to incorporate school garden and nutrition education activities into their lesson plans while 84% plan to implement these lesson ideas during the 2017-2018 school year.

Jennifer Gardner, AP Biology teacher at Loudoun Valley High School, stated, “I really enjoyed the training and it gave me some great ideas to take back to my students.” Renae Sterling, Marketing teacher and DECA advisor at Briar Woods High School, has already started collaborating with School Nutrition to plan for her Advanced Marketing classes. Natalie Kannan, RD and In-Store Nutritionist for Giant Food stated, “This training served as a wonderful opportunity to highlight the importance of nutritious fruits and veggies, in a way that our youth can easily connect with and implement at home. From math to science, in the classroom, these activities allow for introductions to new fruits and vegetables, as well as basic cooking skills, all while reinforcing the subject matter being taught.” Carly Griffith, Associate Extension Agent was pleased to see the training incorporating 4-H curricula. “Being able to incorporate 4-H nutrition programs into our school system will help insure that our message of “pledging my health to better living” reaches youth of all ages, backgrounds and lifestyles.” Snap-Ed Agent, Van Do, summarized the day with “the experience was truly enjoyable for both facilitators and participants and was a great example of a good community partnership.”

As part of the USDA Farm to School Planning Grant received by School Nutrition, all teachers who attended the training will receive the following at the beginning of the upcoming school year:
• Complete sets of the 4-H curricula used for the training
• School Nutrition will also randomly select eight participating schools to receive their choice of a composting tumbler or raised garden bed to enhance farm to school experiences for students.
• Through a partnership with the Loudoun County Health Department, all attendees will receive a hydroponic garden tower for their classrooms or designated area in their school.

For more information about School Nutrition Services or our community partners, visit www.lcpshealthycafe.org or contact Stefanie Dove at (571) 252-6502.

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Cedar Lane and Sugarland Receive Grants for School Gardens

Last month, Cedar Lane Elementary and Sugarland Elementary were the recipients of grants to help support their school garden efforts.  These grants were made possible by the Northern Virginia Dietetic Association (NVAND).  Each school received $100 from the organization.

These schools were selected from 12 applicants in the Northern Virginia region.  Each school submitted a detailed application where they had to describe the educational purpose and goals of their gardens while also discussing the impact and outcomes their garden had on the students and community.  Each application was ranked and voted on by board members of NVAND.

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NVAND President, Teresa Lucas and Sugarland Garden Coordinator, Darielle Timothy

Sugarland uses their school garden to help students learn the role they play in both the community and as health ambassadors.  The garden coordinators help students understand that growing nutritious foods can be done regardless of ones income level.  They focus on inquiry-based learning and real world problem solving so that students can understand how gardens directly relate to their lives; such as the garden to cafeteria initiative.  They develop consistent schedules for the garden so that each grade has responsibilities relating to the project.

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NVAND President Teresa Lucas and the Cedar Lane staff

 

Cedar Lane currently uses their garden to help their Autism classes learn curricular skills as well as career and working behaviors through garden-based activities.  They able to grow a variety of produce items which helps students become exposed to new foods.  Students learn the importance of following directions and reading recipes, conversational skills and money counting.  The Cafeteria Manager at Cedar Lane assists students with garden-based recipes and taste tests.  Cedar Lane also uses the harvest from their garden to host annual farmer’s markets at the school.  This allows the students to understand the background of having a business.

For more information on the farm to school program or school garden information in Loudoun County, please contact Stefanie Dove, RDN at Stefanie.Dove@LCPS.org or visit www.lcpshealthycafe.org