Officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture spent the day in Middleton Tuesday to recognize the district with a prestigious national award for school health and nutrition.
Middleton Middle School is the first middle school in Idaho to earn the Gold Award of Distinction, the highest achievement in the USDA’s HealthierUS School Challenge program. It is only the second school in the state to win this award.
“Congratulations to the staff and students in Middleton for all their hard work in achieving the prestigious Gold of Distinction Award,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna said. “This recognition is not easy to achieve. The schools in Middleton now serve as a great example to other schools in Idaho and across the nation for how we can all work together to improve the health, nutrition, physical fitness, and ultimately the academic achievement of all Idaho students.”
The HealthierUS School Challenge recognizes schools that improve the quality of food served, provide students with nutrition education, and provide students with physical education and opportunities for physical activity. The Challenge has four levels of awards: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Gold of Distinction. In 2009, Gooding Elementary became the first school in the nation to receive the Gold Award of Distinction.
In addition, the Middleton district is the first district in the state to receive HealthierUS School Challenge awards for every school in its district. While its middle school received the Gold award, its other schools received Silver.
“Here at Middleton, I can tell from what I have seen today – and from what I have eaten today at the high school – that you are ahead of the curve,” said Allen Ng, Regional Administrator for the USDA. During a schoolwide assembly, he commended students on making nutritious choices while in school. “You helped achieve this award by choosing to try these healthy foods,” Ng said.
Dr. Richard Bauscher, Superintendent of the Middleton School District, said: “The Middleton School District is known for graduating well-rounded students, and these awards just confirm that along with meeting our students’ academic needs, we are also striving to meet our students’ nutritional and physical activity needs.”
Bauscher recognized that these great accomplishments were made possible through the collaborative efforts of the district’s foodservice staff, principals, physical education teachers, and other staff within each school. The district has worked hard to meet new nutrition guidelines for school meals.
In addition, each school in the district has focused on physical fitness for students and staff. At the elementary school, for example, each school offers physical activities for students either in the mornings or afternoons above and beyond the normal P.E. classes. Staff members in every building and at the district level also hold after-hours workout classes.
Payette High School in the Payette School District also was awarded with a Silver US Challenge Award this year for its work to create a healthier school environment for students.
Here is a complete list of HealthierUS School Challenge Award Winners this year:
Middleton School District:
· Middleton Middle School (Gold Award of Distinction)
· Middleton High School (Silver Award)
· Purple Sage Elementary School (Silver Award)
· Heights Elementary School (Silver Award)
· Mill Creek Elementary School (Silver Award)
Payette School District:
· Payette High School (Silver Award)
For a complete list of present and past winners in Idaho, visit http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/healthierus/Idaho.html.