On Friday, Thomas Jefferson Elementary School kicked off the awards assemblies for the four Newton Community School District elementary buildings. All four buildings received HealthierUS School Challenge Silver Awards.
The awards, which were started in 2004, celebrate schools who are a part of the National Lunch Program and have taken strides to voluntarily create healthier schools.
“This is a very exciting morning for us at Thomas Jefferson, because we have earned a very special award,” TJ Principal Lisa Sharp said during the assembly. “With the help of a lot of people, it was a team effort, Mrs. Crosson and the help of our own TJ cooks; they are serving us much healthier food.”
“And Mrs. (Heidi) Woollums is teaching us about how important it is to be healthy and stay healthy and do lots of physical activities,” she continued. “And all of your teachers, who are helping to do some extra activities throughout the week. This year we added the extra ten minutes of physical activities before school starts.”
Sharp also talked about how proud she was of her team for earning the award. The assembly was attended by NCSD Superintendent Bob Callaghan and Patti Delgar and Angela Mitchell from the Iowa Department of Education.
“It is quite an honor,” IDE Team Nutrition Director Delgar said to the crowd. “In the state of Iowa there are 1,400 school buildings. That is a lot of schools. Thomas Jefferson Elementary School is only one of 59 buildings that have received such an award.”
Delgar praised the schools efforts and presented TJ with a check for a $1,000, several banners, and plaque signed by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.
After TJ, the officials visited Aurora Heights and this upcoming Friday they will visit both Berg and Woodrow Wilson Elementary Schools.
NCSD Food Services Director Cristy Crosson said the district applied for the awards after the state contacted them and told them they would make excellent candidates for the awards. She said they were already implementing fresh fruits and vegetables in the meals and just increased that to qualify.
Crosson also talked about how thrilled she was for the district and her staff.
“It’s really significant for our schools to win this award,” Crosson said. “It lets parents know we are trying to feed their kids healthier meals and do lots of physical activities.
Staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 426, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.