KCSOS receives grant funding to encourage healthy eating amongst students at two school sites in Kern County
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson has announced that the Kern County Superintendent of Schools office (KCSOS) was one of 50 recipients of grants for the 2016–17 school year to make changes in cafeterias designed to encourage students to select and enjoy nutritious foods. The grants come from the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement (SLM) of California Program. Smarter Lunchrooms use easy, no-cost and low-cost solutions to encourage students to select, eat, and enjoy healthier foods in school without eliminating their choice.
KCSOS will partner with the Buttonwillow Union Elementary School District (BUESD) to implement SLM strategies and nutrition education at two school sites. The first site is KCSOS’s CLC Tech/Blanton Academy, a community school, and the second site is Buttonwillow Elementary, a small rural K-8 school.
Nearly $7,000 will be dedicated to each site to build cafeteria staff’s capacity to implement SLM, create educational signage on the importance of healthy eating and provide students with healthy choices like more fruit and vegetable options. At CLC Tech/Blanton Academy, the grant will allow the school to open a salad bar, which will align with the campus’ new school garden.
“By implementing SLM strategies at these two sites, some of the most vulnerable, socioeconomically disadvantaged students in Kern County will have the opportunity to participate in the SLM movement,” said Shelley Northrop, KCSOS’s health services coordinator.
Kern County is considered the least healthy county in California; more than 60 percent are considered obese (CDC, 2015). Studies have attributed academic success and positive student performance to healthy eating habits. Well-nourished children are able to focus in class and are ready to learn.