Norwalk School Awarded HealthierUS School Challenge Bronze Level Distinction

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Brookside Elementary School at Norwalk Public Schools joins an elite group of over 1500 schools certified as HUSSC schools. These schools are committed to promoting healthy lifestyles choices and creating a wholesome school environment.

From Left to Right: Tim Downey, P.E. Teacher; Barbara Zahlman, Food Service Worker; Dr. Angela Vicenzi, Brookside School Nurse; Lisa Cantor, Food Service Director Whitsons School Nutrition; Donna Centinaro, Assistant Food Service Director; Dr. Susan Marks

Brookside Elementary School HUSSC Bronze Award Ceremony

“Our objective is for all the schools in the district to become HUSSC schools!”

The USDA established the HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) to recognize schools participating in the National School Lunch Program that create healthier school environments by providing nutrition education, nutritious food and beverage choices, physical education and opportunities for physical activity. This initiative is a main component in First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign, an effort to end the childhood obesity epidemic.

This recognition is the product of a joint effort between Brookside Elementary School and Whitsons School Nutrition, food service providers at Norwalk Public Schools. Lisa Cantor, Food Service Director and Dr. Angela Vicenzi, Brookside School Nurse, were the main drivers of this initiative along with a review team composed of a cross section of the Norwalk school community: members of the Parent Teacher Organization, Brookside teachers, principal and administrators.

In order to qualify for the Bronze award, Brookside Elementary had to demonstrate the school meets all the HUSSC nutritional requirements on an on-going basis, serving a variety of healthier food that appeal to the students, planning meals that emphasize fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products; and that include lean proteins and foods low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars. Furthermore, the school was required to prove its compliance with the physical activity criteria of the HUSSC according to age group.

In the award ceremony, John Magnarelli, Director of Special Nutrition Programs - USDA, presented a HealthierUS Bronze School banner, a commemorative plaque and a check for $500 to the school.

With this award, Norwalk Public Schools reiterates its commitment to promoting a healthy school environment for its students. Currently, eight schools in the district are working towards earning this Bronze Award recognition. According to Lisa Cantor, “Our objective is for all the schools in the district to become HUSSC schools!”

Whitsons School Nutrition provides a wide range of highly customized dining services to public and private schools, with a strong focus on nutritious, high quality menus made from fresh, wholesome ingredients. Our company has a long and proud history of excellence and growth since 1979 and currently ranks the 16th largest dining company in the United States (Food Management magazine, September 2011). In addition to school nutrition, Whitsons’ cope of expertise and services extends to: culinary development, residential and healthcare dining, delivered meals, corporate dining, emergency dining, gourmet catering and vending services.

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Sonia Garrido