PCSD Wellness committee to review policies
Thursday, April 20, 2017 1:00 AM
Today about one in three schoolchildren are overweight or obese. Overweight kids tend to become overweight adults - and are at risk for a lifetime of chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.
Bidiziil George competed in Lovelock Elementary School’s Track and Field Day last year. The annual event helps meet the school district’s goal for physical activity.
The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 responded to the nutritional problems that plague K-12 students across the nation. It gave the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) the authority to set nutritional standards for foods served in schools. It also authorized funding for federal school meal and child nutrition programs.
Pershing County School District (PCSD) participates in the National School Lunch program. According to niche.com, about half of Pershing’s students are eligible for free or reduced price lunches.
The school lunch program has been controversial – with some saying the nutritional requirements are too stringent. If the food doesn’t taste like what the kids are used to, they may vote with their feet and eat elsewhere. School districts will lose money.
The USDA requires participating schools to gradually reduce sodium, decrease saturated fat, and offer fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seafood, and low-fat dairy. Snacks must meet caloric and nutritional standards.
The Nevada Department of Education Statewide School Wellness Policy required school districts to set measurable objectives – and meet regularly to assess their progress. Pershing’s Wellness Committee serves to meet this mandate.
Wellness Committee reschedules meeting
The Pershing County School District (PCSD) Wellness Committee met on Wednesday to review their goals. They agreed to reschedule the meeting for the beginning of a new school year in the Fall of 2017.
Food Services Director Julie Myers chairs the committee, which meets at least twice a year. According to the PCSD’s website, the group consists of parents, teachers, support staff, students, the school nurse, business manager, and at least one school board member. The board’s newest member, Chief of Police Mike Mancebo, came to Wednesday’s meeting.
Last May the committee set its goals for the 2016 – 2017 school year. Their objectives addressed nutrition, physical activity, and other school-based-activities to promote health.
The public can read PCSD’s Wellness policy in its entirety on the district’s website. One of the district’s nutritional goals is to attach a quarterly newsletter to the monthly lunch menu. Another is to partner with Family Dollar and Safeway to set up approved snack displays before the beginning of the school year.
Physical activity goals
Physical activity goals vary according to the grade levels of the students. One of Lovelock Elementary School’s goals is to continue their annual Track and Field Day races. LES also holds Monthly Parent Walks.
The high school planned to increase physical activity during Homecoming, Winter Spirit Week, and Unity Day. A district-wide 5K challenge is another goal. Each school vowed to hold a school dance once every nine weeks.
When the committee meets in the Fall, they’ll review the district’s progress toward the goals.
Hunger-Free Kids Act on chopping block
In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s surprise victory in November, the future of free and reduced priced lunches is uncertain. The House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) included the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act in a list of more than 300 executive orders, rules, and regulations that Trump’s administration should consider cutting in its first 100 days.