New Britain Schools Awarded HealthierUS School Challenge Bronze Level Distinction

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All the New Britain Public Schools joined an elite group of over 5,500 schools certified as HUSSC schools, an award that shows their commitment to promoting healthy lifestyles choices and creating a wholesome school environment. This recognition is the product of a joint effort between New Britain Public Schools and Whitsons School Nutrition.

New Britain HUSSC Bronze Award

In an urban School District, there are many challenges to insuring healthy choices, and receiving this award shows that we are on the right track for students to learn and participate in daily exercise, eating and making healthy food choices, and learning.

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 April, all the New Britain schools were awarded the HUSSC Bronze Level distinction: Chamberlain Primary School, DiLoreto Magnet Elementary School, Gaffney Elementary School, HALS Academy, Holmes Elementary School, Jefferson Elementary School, Lincoln Elementary School, Louis P. Slade Middle School, New Britain High School, Northend Elementary School, Pulaski Middle School, Roosevelt Middle School, Smalley Academy, Smith Elementary School and Vance Village Elementary School.

This recognition is the product of a joint effort between New Britain Schools and Whitsons School Nutrition, food service providers at New Britain Public Schools. Michael Koch, Food Service Director and Kelsey Mazzocco, a nutrition intern from St. Joseph’s College assigned by the USDA and the Connecticut State Department of Education to assist school districts in meeting the HUSSC Standards, were the main drivers of this initiative along with the Wellness Committee and other members of the New Britain schools community.

In order to qualify for the Bronze award, the schools had to demonstrate they meet 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 schools were required to prove their compliance with the health education and physical activity criteria of the HUSSC according to age group.

The award ceremony took place on April 26th. A representative from the USDA presented a HealthierUS Bronze School banner, a commemorative plaque and a check for $500 to the schools.

With this award, New Britain Public Schools reiterates its commitment to promoting a healthy school environment for its students. According to Len Corto, District Coordinator of Physical Education, Health, Athletics and Safety, "It’s a great achievement that the partnership we have with Whitsons has allowed us to be recognized on a State and National level for providing the wellness needs of the students and Staff in New Britain. In an urban School District, there are many challenges to insuring healthy choices, and receiving this award shows that we are on the right track for students to learn and participate in daily exercise, eating and making healthy food choices, and learning about proper nutrition."

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Whitsons Culinary Group provides a wide range of highly customized dining services to public schools, corporations and institutions, with a strong focus on nutritious, high quality menus made from fresh, wholesome ingredients. Whitsons has a long and proud history of excellence and growth since 1979 and currently ranks the 18th largest dining company in the United States (Food Management magazine, September 2012). Whitsons’ scope of expertise and services extends to emergency dining, residential and healthcare dining, prepared meals, and school dining and services.

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Sonia Garrido
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