Officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Idaho State Department of Education spent the day in Middleton on Tuesday to recognize all the schools in the district with prestigious national awards 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.
Every other school in the Middleton School District won a Silver Award from the HealthierUS School Challenge Program.
And if you spend any time in a school in Middleton, it doesn’t take long to see why…
We stopped by Middleton High School for lunch today. In the cafeteria, we were faced with four delicious choices: pepperoni stromboli and salad, chicken sandwiches with potatoes, fajitas, or sandwiches.
After much internal debate, I chose the pepperoni stromboli and salad. It’s all homemade in the school’s kitchen. The stromboli is made with whole grains, and the very innovative foodservice staff also add sweet potatoes to the recipe, which adds vitamin A and sweetness to the bread without adding more sugar. It was delicious!
|The kitchen staff at Middleton High School made a delicious yet nutritious pepperoni stromboli!|
|Middleton partners with Symms Fruit Ranch in Caldwell to provide fresh fruit and vegetables to students.|
I wasn’t the only one eager to get to school lunch. At Middleton High School, 71 percent of students choose to buy their lunch at school!
We had lunch with Allen Ng, Regional Administrator for the USDA, before the schoolwide assembly to celebrate the district’s success.
“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,” 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.”
So how has the district accomplished these healthy learning environments for students?
Bauscher said it was a collaborative effort of the district’s foodservice staff, principals, physical education teachers, and other staff within each school.
The foodservice staff, for example, has worked hard to meet new nutrition guidelines for school meals, adding more fruits, vegetables and whole grains to meals.
Each school also emphasizes 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.
It was a great day in Middleton, and congratulations to everyone in the schools and the communities for this great success!
~ Melissa M.