Healthier foods coming to vending machines, students stores at Edmonds District schools

Edmonds School DistrictAs part of the federal Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act of 2010, major changes are coming to the food that is available for students to purchase during the day at schools in the Edmonds School District.

The issue of snacks sold in vending machines and at student stores was addressed at Tuesday’s School Board meeting.

During his monthly report, Business and Operations Executive Director Stewart Mhyre noted that the new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations will take effect on July 1. Any food sold in schools during the day must meet the “Smart Snacks in School” nutritional standards.

The standards dictate that food must:

  • Be a “whole grain-rich” grain product; or
  • Have as the first ingredient a fruit, a vegetable, a dairy product, or a protein food; or
  • Be a combination food that contains at least ¼ cup of fruit and/or vegetable; or
  • Contain 10 percent of the Daily Value (DV) of one of the nutrients of public health concern in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (calcium, potassium, vitamin D or dietary fiber).

In addition, foods must also meet calorie, sodium, fat and sugar requirements. There also are nutrition and size requirements for beverages.

Vending machines and student stores must meet the federal requirements as of July 1. Mhyre said that he’s talked to a vending company representative and the company indicated it is scrambling to find products that meet the federal nutrition requirements and that will properly fit into the vending machines.

School representatives have speculated that vending machine revenues could decline up to 50 percent after the changes.

A la carte food items sold in school cafeterias also must meet the Smart Snacks in School standards. Currently only three beverages and one snack item meet the federal requirements.

The USDA let each state come up with its own regulations regarding fundraising. Last week, Washington State declared that there would be no exceptions to the Smart Snacks in School requirements for fundraising.

Therefore any food items sold by PTAs, PTOs or other school organizations during the day at school must meet the federal nutritional standards.

The Smart Snacks in Schools standards do not apply during non-school hours (30 minutes after the final bell, on weekends and at off-campus fundraising events). So, for example, concession stands at athletic events are exempt. The standards provide a special exemption for infrequent fundraisers that do not meet the nutrition standards.

The impact of the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act of 2010 will be the topic at the Superintendent’s Roundtable on May 21 (noon- 1 p.m. at Educational Services Center, 20420 68th Ave. W., Lynnwood) or audio live streamed from www.edmonds.wednet.edu/esdlive. As required by the Act, the Edmonds School District has a Wellness Committee, which is actively working establishing policies in areas, such as physical activity/physical education.

In other actions:

The Board recognized Mountlake Terrace High School staff and students for being selected as one of the six schools in the nation to be recognized with the First Amendment Press Freedom Award. Journalism advisors of the Mountlake Terrace student press and student journalists will travel to San Diego later this spring to receive the award at the National Journalism Convention.

The Board also heard a Secondary Report from Assistant Superintendent Patrick Murphy. He noted that the district’s eLearning program continues to see significant growth. The eLearning program is an online school that offers students the option to take one or more classes in a self-paced online environment.

The district currently has 310 students who are taking 586 classes. Sixty students are full-time, while the rest are taking from one to four classes. The eLearning students are accruing almost 300 credits. The head count is more 400 with Scriber Lake High School having about 250.

Because of the growth of the program, the district is looking into new space at Edmonds Community College. If the space college works out, the district potentially could expand the hours of the program to 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“Students who come in and get support are more successful,” Murphy said.

The eLearning program currently is only offered at the high school level, though some middle school students have taken high school courses.

Murphy noted that Idaho requires its students to take an online course before graduating.

“I foresee this program will continue to grow,” Murphy said.

Murphy also told the Board that in light of the new law that changes a requirement that high school students do Senior Projects in order to graduate, the district will be sending out a survey to the public. Participants will be able to respond that the district can eliminate, keep or modify Senior Projects.

Two representatives of the Holly House program, Pam Martinez and Alicia Carter, made a presentation to the Board. Holly House is a non-profit organization based in Lynnwood that provides gifts and necessities to low income children in the Edmonds School District during the holiday season.

Holly House serves 2,000 children, ranging from babies up to 17-year-olds. The organization holds fundraisers and works throughout the year in preparation for its mid-December distribution of gifts and necessities.

Items students receive include socks, underwear, pajamas, hats, scarves, stuffed animals, books, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shaving lotions, razors and age appropriate gifts.

The program is in its eighth year. It started at the Mountlake Terrace Food Bank and has expanded every year. Holly House is in need of donations, storage space and volunteers. For more information see http://hollyhouseforkids.blogspot.com/.

By David Pan/Lynnwood Today editor

Mountlake Terrace students and staff were honored by the Edmonds School District Board during Tuesday's meeting. (Photo courtesy of the Edmonds School District)

Mountlake Terrace students and staff were honored by the Edmonds School District Board during Tuesday’s meeting for being selected as one of the six schools in the nation to be recognized with the First Amendment Press Freedom Award. Pictured are left to right, back row: Principal Greg Schwab, T.K. Johnson and Will Khadivi. front row: Teacher Vince DeMiero, teacher Angelo Comeaux, Joy Gardner and Nick Fiorillo. (Photo courtesy of the Edmonds School District).

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